Pregame Post-Ups: Stevens Comments on New-Look T'Wolves
Friday, Feb. 21 - Celtics at Timberwolves
Pregame – Stevens Explains Why New-Look T'Wolves are 'Scary'
MINNEAPOLIS – The Boston Celtics are on high alert when it comes to the impact of Minnesota’s roster overhaul at the trade deadline.
The Timberwolves acquired nine new players around the trade deadline, seven of whom were introduced as new members of the team Feb. 7 at a press conference. D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley are the team’s most important acquisitions, as they now make up 40 percent of Minnesota’s starting lineup.
The overhaul has allowed the Timberwolves to play a new brand of high-speed basketball while also allowing its new players to step into roles they have sought out for quite some time.
“They’re playing super free,” said Brad Stevens. “They’re playing super spaced.”
One of the players who is producing much of that space is sharpshooter Beasley, who was acquired from the Denver Nuggets. Beasley has stepped into a starting role with the Timberwolves that has led to an average of 32.7 minutes per game and 11.0 3-point attempts per game with Minnesota. By contract, he averaged only 18.2 minutes and 3.9 attempts from long distance in Denver.
With his new team, Beasley is viewed as a critical piece of the future, rather than just an end-of-rotation body. That’s a game-changing revelation for a young player like Beasley, who is only 23 years old.
As Stevens said before tonight’s tip-off, “Beasley has a new lease on life.”
Stevens went on to comment on the fear of playing against teams that have made major changes, and players who are able to step into new and upgraded roles.
“It’s always scary to play teams after the trade deadline,” he said, “because there’s a lot of guys that have new roles that they’re enthusiastic about, and rightfully so.”
Stevens said the best example that comes to mind of an opponent’s resurgence arrived two years ago, on an important mid-February night in Celtics history in 2018.
“I go back to the day we retired Paul Pierce’s jersey, and Cleveland had those big trades and they came in and drubbed us,” Stevens recalled. “They beat us by .
“I just think that you get the trade bump. It’s kind of a freshness, guys are excited to play, they get new roles and they get to do things that they wanted to do at their previous spot and they’re anxious to do that.”
Stevens said that the Celtics have at times been on the right side of that scenario, as they’ve acquired players around the deadline who have come in and sparked the team with strong play.
He also admitted that the team has been on the wrong side of that scenario, like during that matchup with Cleveland two years ago, when a rejuvenated opponent took it to the C’s with its upgraded roster.
Boston is on alert to avoid such a situation tonight. It is not interested in allowing this overhauled Timberwolves team to deal the Celtics a loss during their first game of a four-game road trip.
- Marc D'Amico