Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“Opportunity,” the coach said after Sunday’s practice.
Then he expanded on the point, saying, “I think you see that everywhere. You see that at the end of the season, especially when teams have a bunch of guys out. You saw that last year here in the playoffs. When you know your time on the court is unlimited until you wear out, it’s an easier way to play. And that’s why I think it’s so important for us as coaches and everybody around to understand the guys that are playing less or playing more sporadically. That’s really hard to do to be as effective as you are when you are getting unlimited opportunity. It’s part of it, so you have to grow in that area just like you have to grow in any other area. But I think that’s without question my thought on it.”
“It’s so easy for somebody to write about or me to say, like, control what you can control, right?” Stevens said. “Because that’s all you really can do is focus on the task at hand in that moment, if you’re playing, if you’re sitting, whatever you can to prepare for that moment. [But] it’s a lot easier said than done when you’re playing sporadic shifts. I’ve said before, the guys that come off the bench all have it a little bit tougher than the guys that start. The guys that play once every three games and don’t know when they’re going in, they’ve got it by far the toughest. That’s why when you see a guy like Brad Wanamaker do what he did the other night, Semi (Ojeleye) always coming in consistently ready, Guerschon (Yabusele) impacting us in Memphis, those are really special performances, because that’s hard to do.”
If I may paraphrase Brad’s comments: guys are pressing when they come off the bench and there’s no magic pill to relieve that pressure.
Patience isn’t exactly a hot take on 98.5 or Twitter, but it’s the right take.
Sure, Brad can tinker with rotations and minutes, but this Celtics team is going to live or die with Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown as they get comfortable.
I’m putting Gordon Hayward in a different category. His confidence building is more about health than opportunity:
But there are other nights when his shot abandons him, and anyone watching is given a stark reminder that Hayward’s struggle is twofold — he’s trying to regain both his confidence in his own shot and in his health. On the nights when his shot isn’t falling, Hayward has to work to keep himself from fading into the shadows.
“It’s something I struggle with, no doubt,” Hayward told MassLive on Sunday. “I think it’s something I’ve struggled with since I came in the NBA. It still happens. It just frustrates you, and then you take yourself out of the game mentally. San Antonio was a good example of that.”
I’ve been somewhat critical of Gordon on social media, but as I stated in my FanCred 4th Quarter Live segment during the Dallas game, this team needs Hayward to score. The playmaking and rebounding are great, but we need points.
We’ve yet to see Hayward reach double-digit points in 3 consecutive games. Let’s hope he breaks through tonight vs Brooklyn.
On Page 2, Kyrie can see!
Irving practiced with the team on Sunday, then reflected on the injury and the incident.
“I watched it a few times, and I’m trying to figure out whether it was malicious or not,” he said. “But I don’t think it was, so I’ll let it go. I got hit pretty good, and it was good to get a few days of rest as well.”
When asked about the bizarreness of Belinelli scratching both eyes, Irving said: “I think he got both eyes pretty good, because when the offensive rebound came off the rim, my eyes, they kind of widened and then he caught me as I was about to go attack the basketball. So I see the ball go off the rim, I miss, my eyes are wide open and he comes and gets me. It’s OK.”
That’s classic Kyrie explaining how his eyes widening for the rebound exacerbated the situation.
Whatever, I’m just glad he’s back (and it appears Marcus Morris is, too).
And finally, don’t ask Rob Williams what day it is.
Life in the NBA can be a grind. There’s a constant demand for a player’s time between practices, workouts, games, and community appearances. It’s something veterans get used to, but for rookies like Robert Williams, it can be a bit of an adjustment.
“This might sound funny,” he said at practice today, “but I literally don’t know the days of the week. I promise, I couldn’t tell you what today is. I forget the days of the week.”
I completely understand Rob Williams’ perspective. Unlike us common folk who are counting down the days, minutes and hours to the weekend.