The Boston Celtics are 13 - 25, in the process of trading away anyone and everyone that isn't in the long term plans, and setting out on a 6 game Western Conference road trip.
With that as a backdrop, you can understand why Brad Stevens doesn't really want to hear questions about who may or may not be playing and how it might hurt their feelings.
We’re employed to do everything we can, to have everything we have, and to manage the ups and downs throughout a season. Players and coaches. And it’s on us as individuals to be up and ready. And certainly you have to help some guys through that and help manage some of that but, you know, we can’t spend our time managing feelings right now; we have to spend our time getting better."
In other words, "do your job" as the Patriots might say.
As for that Western road trip, it could get ugly.
"It could go a bunch of different ways," forward Brandon Bass admitted Friday night, one day before departing for the first leg of the trip. Bass' club has lost 23 straight away games against teams from the Western Conference, including the first 18 such contests of head coach Brad Stevens' tenure. The streak has now spanned parts of three seasons. The last time the Celtics beat anyone out West, on Feb. 25, 2013, Paul Pierce led the way with 26 points, Fab Melo was on the active roster, and Doc Rivers called the victory against the Utah Jazz "the best win of the year for me." James Young was still in high school.
Need I remind you that the trade deadline is coming up as well? At the rate Danny is going, the roster will be turned over 2 more times before they get back East. Such is the life for a rebuilding team in the middle of a 2nd tear-down year. Personally I wouldn't be surprised to see Chris Babb back on the roster by the end of the year.
We can only hope that all the younger players take the lumps with the right attitude. You learn a lot about the character of guys when they have to go through tough times. The hope is that the younger players don't develop too many bad habits but instead use it as a learning experience.
Either way, I kind of like that Brad Stevens isn't going to baby them too much. Despite the fact that these guys aren't much older than some of Brad's Butler teams, they are professionals and men and they should be treated as such.
Maybe the organization isn't all that worried about getting wins right now, but they are watching every move that every player makes and evaluating for the long run. How each player adapts and performs from here on out is very important to the decisions that will be made in the coming months.