It’s a new season and following a very eventual offseason, the Boston Celtics have turned over the roster into basically a new team.
With all the new transactions that have been made by the Boston Celtics during the offseason, it’s easy to forget about something as fundamental as practice.
The new-look Celtics hosted their first practice at Waltham recently and allowed players and coaches to talk to the media. I was able to attend the event and was fortunate to gather the following quotes directly from some of the players and head coach Brad Stevens.
Big man Al Horford was the first player to address those in attendance. When asked about having someone like Aron Baynes out on the court with him, Horford said “It makes everything a lot easier for us, for me. It allows me to be all over the place.”
Signed to a one-year deal in the offseason, the Australian big man allows Horford to play more from the four position when both are on the court. He also adds muscle down low and gives the team a reliable rebounder who doesn’t mind doing the dirty work down around the basket.
Next up was fourth-year guard Marcus Smart. He had a lot going on during the offseason, which included losing 20 pounds. This new slimmed down version of Smart looked great and was excited to be back with the team and practicing.
“I felt amazing,” Smart said when asked about his weight loss over the summer. “It felt good to chase guys and be right there on their body as soon as they catch [the ball]. I think it surprised me how quick I am.”
Smart also indicated that he feels more confident in his shots now.
“I’m using more of my legs than my upper body…losing that weight allows me to do that more consistently throughout the game.”
He also said that his confident is “through the roof.”
Coach Brad Stevens
Last but not least, was head coach Brad Stevens.
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He went aside for a one on one with me where I was able to ask him a few questions.
When asked about the team chemistry Coach Stevens said:
“That stuff comes with time but so far so good with guys working together…the biggest part is trying to figure out what each other do well…the desire to do so is clearly there.”
He then went on to talk about the expectations surrounding this team and wether it will have an impact on how he coaches.
“I don’t even focus on anything other than getting better everyday,” He said. “I think ultimately we all live in the reality of we don’t get better or we don’t improve we get beat. We’re not where we need to be yet but our opportunity to improve is high…we know when we play in Boston you’re competing for championships but you can’t focus on that.”
With such a confident coach like Stevens at the helm, this Boston Celtics team definitely looks like they are on the right path. Fans should look forward to the first game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on October 17th.