clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Open practice impressions

New, comments

Season ticket holders got a promising first look of what the 2015-2016 Boston Celtics, but this is only the first step of many as Brad Stevens tries to narrow down his combinations and rotations.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Forgive the Twitter play-by-play.  The intersquad scrimmage was only open to season ticket holders, but there were plenty of beat writers and bloggers with the highlights.  Before the game, Brad Stevens talked about using the live action to see what combos work:

"We have to find the right combinations for our team. I think that's the No. 1 thing," he said. "We have a lot of guys that are very capable. But just like anything else, sometimes guys don't fit great. Sometimes guys do. The sooner that we can find it, the better. I've got thoughts in my mind on how certain guys will fit. We've got data on how certain guys will fit that have been here. But with a new team and a new season, it's good to see it all live early on. So that goes into, again, when you're making these pairings, just some of what you want to see."

Not many surprises here, outside of maybe Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko starting at the 2 and 3 for Team Green.  It does speak to their versatility however and those two could easily slide down and play big at the 4 and 5.  There has been some concern that Team White--presumably the starters--would have trouble scoring, but adding Turner (instead of Crowder) and Lee (instead of Sullinger) could help.  Both could help Smart with playmaking responsibilities and that could ease the burden off the second year pro.

As expected, Stevens surrounded Isaiah Thomas with shooters like Jerebko and Olynyk and the team's best PnR roll man, Amir Johnson.  Stevens said:

"We're going to play similar when he's in the game to when he's not, but not the same. And that's what we did last year," Stevens said. "Kind of our breakdown offense lends to playing through bigs if we need to, but also being spread and spaced enough that if we've got a guy like Isaiah on the floor he can take advantage of that. So I think simple's probably better with him on the floor. I think spacing and getting the ball up the floor and having shooters around him. I've said that a couple of times. As we look at our bigs and our combinations, that's going to be important."

By the end of the game, it sounds like Kelly Olynyk was the MVP of the three period scrimmage.  He finished with 17 points, scoring inside and out and more importantly, with confidence.  He's talked about how playing for Team Canada this summer has him ahead of the game heading into training camp and it showed.

Good to hear that the rookies plus James Young didn't back down, that PJIII could make it interesting come cut down, and that the vet David Lee showed flashes of his All Star self. I don't think this group will make it into the rotation much (although I'm warming to Lee taking minutes away from Sully and Zeller, especially if they don't sign extensions), but it's always encouraging to see what the team has cooking down the road.

I mentioned this on Media Day, but there's just something very exciting about what's happening with this team.  Whether it's the energy of the young guys or the leadership and enthusiasm coming from the veterans, it's just awesome to hear about how Ainge's plan of not necessarily finding the most talented players but targeting high character, high motor individuals to build a team and franchise is working out.

Let's go Celtics indeed.