Pregame Post-Ups: Time for Nearly-Healthy C’s to Establish Continuity
Sunday, April 25 - Celtics at Hornets
Pregame – Time for Nearly-Healthy C’s to Establish Continuity
Maintaining rotation continuity has been one of the greatest challenges for the Boston Celtics this season, as they’ve dealt with an abnormal amount of health issues that have touched just about every player on the team. But with 12 games to go, the C’s are finally almost at full health *knock on wood* as Robert Williams (knee soreness) remains as the only player on the injury report.
Once the C’s are at full capacity, life should become easier for Brad Stevens and his coaching staff, as it will allow them to fully utilize the complete talent of their roster, which should help to establish a consistent rhythm.
“I hope we can maintain some semblance of that,” Stevens of his team gradually regaining health prior to Sunday’s matchup in Charlotte. “It's important from a continuity standpoint from an ability to establish rotations, those types of things, but then also just those guys playing together … We need to have that opportunity to rep it together.”
At this point, Stevens is fairly confident in how his rotations would shape up heading into the final stretch of the regular season and beyond. Although, he did note that there is still room for some his role players to earn meaningful minutes based on the matchup at hand, especially those who have stepped up of late.
“I would say that there’s a lot of clarity with what we would do if everyone’s available,” he said. “Then, obviously, you’re focused on the matchup and task at hand. We’ve talked about it all year: we’ve gotta play as well as we can, people have to step up. We’ve learned a lot about our role players, we know what they can do and what they’re not as good at. Now, as we get a little bit more healthy, hopefully we can put together some nights of good basketball, some days of good basketball and those people can add value to winning in the ways that they best do.”
One role player who Stevens singled out for adding great value over the last couple of games is Aaron Nesmith. The rookie wing shot the ball well during Boston’s win over the Phoenix Suns Thursday night and was also one of the few bright spots during its loss to Brooklyn the following night. With his hustle alone, he’s making a case to carve out more of a role with this team at the most important time of the year.
“As you get longer into the season, you have a shorter rotation but, in a lot of ways, on those first- and second-year players, what you’re looking for is consistency and playing to their strengths,” Stevens said. “I will say, the last two games, I thought Aaron did a really good job. I thought he did a really good job in the Phoenix game. He shot the ball when he was open, but his effort level was tremendous. I thought in both games, he did what he did best, and I thought that made our team better at different times. That’s good information to have as we move forward. We’re now at the point in the season where it’s a lot less about opportunity and a lot more about we’ve gotta find a way to add value to winning in whatever role we’re playing.”
- Taylor Snow