Teaching Has Just Begun as C's Continue Preseason

GREENSBORO, N.C. – One preseason game is already in the books for the Boston Celtics, but the teaching has only just begun for them on the court.

The team took to the practice court Wednesday afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum, the site of their next preseason tilt Thursday night, for a practice that was scheduled to end around 2 p.m. Instead, it lasted until nearly 3 p.m., as Brad Stevens and his staff continued to install their offense and defense.

“Until October is over, it will be the major installation phase,” Stevens said after Wednesday’s lengthy practice. “And then it will be tweaks and changes after that.”

Marcus Smart said that Wednesday’s practice, length aside, differed greatly from a teaching perspective from what the team will experience during the regular season.

“Right now we’re installing a lot and learning the offense and defense,” the third-year guard said. “You get into the regular season and there shouldn’t be much teaching, because you’ve been going for a while, you’ve been playing games against opponents and you kind of figure out where you’re supposed to be.”

For now, the Celtics are more concentrated on themselves than they are on the opponent. As they should, because Stevens will throw a whole lot more at them over the course of the next three weeks. As Celtics veteran Tyler Zeller warned Wednesday afternoon, they’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the entire system.

“I would say it’s a low percentage,” Zeller said of what the team has learned thus far in relation to the overall playbook. “Most of it ends up being reads and little wrinkles and stuff like that. The main sets, he has put in most of those, but as far as all of the reads and the counters and all of those things, we haven’t put those in.”

Learning the remainder of the playbook shouldn’t be difficult for the returning Celtics, as not a whole lot will change. However, for the newest Celtics such as Al Horford, Gerald Green and the rookies, they still have quite a bit to learn.

Green, who is playing on his ninth team in 10 seasons, anticipates that the learning will never end for him this season.

“I think every day I can always take a little bit of something new, and hopefully by the time the season comes I will have learned a lot,” Green said. “But still, even when the season begins, you’re still always learning something. You can never know too much.”

To this point, though, he likes what he has seen.

“It’s free,” Green said of the offensive system. “It kind of reminds me of Phoenix a little bit as far as being able to be free, being able to kind of just play.”

From a players’ perspective, that’s exactly how they want to feel, as Green explained.

“Anytime you feel free, you feel like you’re able to spread your wings and go,” he said. “Anytime you’re free and you’re able to spread your wings, the sky is the limit.”

The Celtics should be excited about the fact that one of their newest players feels so free. The trick, however, will be to keep Green and the rest of his teammates feeling that way throughout the season.

After all, the teaching has only just begun. Stevens has a whole lot more up his sleeve.

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