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.
“I can tell you, probably right now five guys that are going to play a lot,” Stevens said. “There’s a lot of minutes left.”
“The guy that doesn’t play consistent minutes and may have a 20-minute game, and may have a zero-minute game, those are the most challenging positions on the team, in my opinion,” Stevens said. “Sometimes it’s going to be your night, sometimes it’s not.”
One of those whose playing time is up in the air is rookie guard Carsen Edwards.
With playing time uncertain, Edwards just wants to focus on staying ready when his number is called.
“I’m just trying to focus on continuing to earn minutes and earn the trust of the coaches and players,” Edwards said. “I’m still just working, still just continuing to try and prove myself, continuing to try and stay ready.”
In addition to the five named players, it’s likely that a meaningful chunk of minutes will be distributed among Theis, Kanter, Williams and Poirier, possibly in that order. So there aren’t quite as many minutes available to the team’s rookies as might first appear to be the case.
At the same time, among the rookies, one of the more intriguing faces really is Carsen Edwards. If he has a stellar rookie campaign not only might he take Brad Wanamaker’s minutes, he could enter the regular rotation, allowing Stevens to run a back court of Smart and Edwards that would make life difficult for opposing benches at both ends of the court.
However, if he ends up being one of those guys that Stevens puts in the ‘twenty minutes one night, none on another’, I think his shooter’s mentality is the right one for that assignment. If he ends up being a specialist, well, everybody will know exactly why he’s getting put in the game, and he’ll hit the floor with a green light and a demonstrated ability to get white hot in a matter of seconds.
To be successful in such a role, Walker said, “Stay in the gym. Make sure you’re on top of your game at all times. Put in your work, not only in practice but when nobody is watching as well. That gives you the best opportunity to perform at a high level.”
It’s going to be interesting to see the difference this change in personnel makes in the team’s chemistry.
Kyrie Irving is—whether he’s aware of it or not—not cut out to be a team leader. And you know what? That’s fine. You’re not going to get anywhere in the NBA, or life in general, trying to be something you’re not.
But Al Horford is probably not cut out to be a team leader either. Last season was his opportunity to rein in some of the crazier things that Jackie Mac reported on, and he didn’t. And, as with Kyrie Irving, it’s okay if he doesn’t have the personality required to take charge of the team.
The problem is that it seems that regardless of their actual ability to lead a team, both players either assumed or were tacitly assigned leadership roles.
With both of them departed, the team’s leadership looks to have fallen on the shoulders of Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker, and at least the early returns suggest that they’re much more equal to the task than Horford and Irving were.
The problem the Celtics had last season was certainly not a lack of talent, it was a lack of coordination in just about everything.
With a change in personnel, you now have a max contract PG who has said that he’s a ‘huge fan‘ of a rookie on a two-way deal, and you’ve got a veteran player in Smart who’s found his voice and realized that it’s his team. You’ve also got a bench full of guys who have the right attitude.
Page 2: Where negotiations with Brown are still up in the air
“I’ve talked to him a lot about it,” Smart told MassLive on Thursday afternoon. “Jaylen understands where he’s at, he understands that things are going to get a little shaky and rough at a certain time, but he can’t allow that to affect how he plays, and things like that. My advice to him is just go out there and play. Everything will handle itself. You go out there and do what you’re supposed to do and worry about playing together, doing the right thing on the court, worry about winning. All the individual accolades and everything will come together.”
“We’re trying to build a championship team and there’s a lot that goes into that, and part of it is managing a payroll,” Ainge said. “And for a player — I’ve been on that side of it, too. It’s basically all about you. It’s your world and you’re comparing yourself to others and it’s a complicated process in some year. Some years you know you’re not going to get a deal or have a deal. And some years a player has more leverage and other years a team has more leverage. So that’s why they’re complicated.”
One of the reasons why the Celtics were in a position to rapidly pivot from Irving to Walker was judicious management of salaries. Had they signed Rozier to a hefty extension prior to the season, they would not have been in a position to sign Walker, and the team would’ve essentially been locked into Rozier as their starting PG, and Rozier is not a championship caliber starting PG.
Granted, it certainly seems as if Rozier sulked his way into a better situation than Marcus Smart earned by playing the way he’d always played.
Rozier signed a contract with an AAV of about $19.3M, while Smart’s AAV is only $13M. However, Rozier only inked a three year deal, and I have doubts that his ‘I’ll try when I wanna try’ attitude will net him another deal of similar value when this one ends. Smart, on the other hand, has demonstrated long-term value to the Celtics, and I expect that once the dust settles, he’ll end up with more career earnings than Rozier.
Ultimately, I think the Celtics are going to keep Brown. As with Smart, I don’t believe that other teams rate Brown as highly as the Celtics do, and I think that is going to impact his market. Yes, he’s an athletic wing, but he’s not a stat-stuffer, and overpaid RFAs tend to be stat-stuffers. I don’t see him as a Chandler Parsons/Harrison Barnes/Tobias Harris guy with an iffy overall game.
The rest of the links:
MassLive: Boston Celtics Carsen Edwards isn’t getting caught up in hype over big shooting game | Danny Ainge: Boston Celtics, Jaylen Brown’s contract negotiations are going well, Celtics have made ‘numerous’ offers