Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens just finished his media day interview with Amanda Pflugrad (wjsy says hi) and Marc D'Amico. He spoke about basketball philosophy, effort, depth, leadership, and the rookies on the team.
With so many players on the roster, Stevens was asked about the value of having his players buy into the idea of having strength in numbers.
If we're an I over team team, we're in trouble.
That's something you discern as you're putting the team together.
[Lee and Johnson] have shown by their play in the past that they're good teammates, that's part of just being on a team.
He went on to talk about Johnson and Lee's roles as rebounders. Specifically, he called them "high-motor rebounders", a high compliment, given that that is one of the necessary virtues of being successful on the glass. He was also asked about their ability to be leaders, given their experience in the league, and in the playoffs. It was suggested that Lee, in particular, would be able to act as a mentor to the young players, given his status as an NBA champion. When pressed on leadership, he opined,
Leadership, to me, in this day and age, starts with being able to lift others up, and who can do their job. We're all in this together.
When asked about the difficulty of playing small ball with so many bigs on the roster, Stevens said,
I don't look at it as small ball, we have a group of about 6 guys that are mostly just 4s and 5s. I consider those to be 'bigs'. Do we have a Yao Ming? No.
We're actually bigger than we've been in the past. That'll actually be a challenge, for when we want to play smaller.
He was asked repeatedly about the role of some of the rookies, and his response was very consistent for all players. He has a single, simple message about what roles are going to be.
Role and playing time are very different. Your role is what you can do to help your team. It varies only by what your strengths are. How much you're going to impact your team with playing time? That's indeterminate right now with our whole team.
He clarified specific roles for the high-profile rookies on the roster.
Terry is an energy giver. RJ is a shooter. Jordan's our best shot blocker, no probably about it.
He was asked how unique Jordan's shot blocking is, given that he hasn't played a single minute of regular-season ball.
I don't know how unique it is, he's just a quick, long guy, that has great timing. I don't think I'm going out on a limb saying that.
When Stevens was asked about the importance of training camp, he replied,
I think it's really important. It's the foundation of what you do, that's why it's hard to change teams mid-season.
He went on to add, "Every drill matters."
He also gave a reason for why the team was able to be so successful last season, despite the fact that there was so much roster turnover, with so many players that hadn't been through a training camp together. In particular, he singled out one player on the roster.
We were great fits for each other last year, specifically Isaiah.
Finally, Stevens dropped a nugget of gold about his basketball philosophy, and what it means to play as a member of the Boston Celtics.
If you don't play hard, you'll lose. I can scream, yell, talk about playing hard, but that's a waste of breath.
The expectation, when you walk into this gym, is that you play hard. If you have to beg for that, you're toast.
If that doesn't put a warm, fuzzy feeling in your stomach, I don't know what to tell you.
I doesn't get any better than this, folks. Brad Stevens remains the brightest star in Boston, and a worthy man to lead us back to the promised land, and Banner 18. Stay tuned for more Celtics updates!