Pregame Post-Ups: Stevens' Thoughts on Center Rotation
Sunday, February 21 - Celtics at Pelicans
Pregame – Stevens Comments on C's Rotation at Center
Brad Stevens is not on the same wavelength as those who have questioned the play of Boston’s big men this season. In fact, he thinks the team’s trio of centers have been some of the team’s most impactful players thus far.
“One of the challenges of our team is, you get past our best perimeter players, and the next probably three best guys production-wise on our team are at first blush 5s,” Stevens said before Sunday’s tip-off against the Pelicans in New Orleans. “So Rob (Williams), (Daniel) Theis and Tristan (Thompson).”
The challenge Stevens alluded to is that a coach always wants to have his best players on the floor as much as possible. That isn’t exactly possible when three of them play the same position, especially when that particular position is the least versatile on the floor.
In other words, even if Williams, Theis and Thompson are all deserving of around 30 minutes of playing time each game, Stevens can’t give it to all of them.
The C’s have worked to find a way to give them all as much playing time as possible, however. The team is now much more capable of doing so than it was at the start of the season, thanks in large part to Theis’ adjustment to playing multiple positions.
Theis has been the player who has slid over to power forward while playing alongside either Williams or Thompson. As Stevens outlined, Theis’ skill set has gradually blended in over time with those of his positional teammates.
“Theis’ ability to stretch the floor. His ability to play in the seams. His ability to figure out ways to complement Tristan and Rob when he’s in there has given us a lot of flexibility,” Stevens said. “That didn’t start out smoothly, as was well documented, but it’s gotten better as time has gone on.”
And that improvement has provided Stevens with an opportunity to leave his best players on the floor for as many minutes as possible.
There is no questioning the fact that this team revolves around Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart when they are all healthy. They are the lifeblood of the Celtics. Beyond those perimeter players, it’s Williams, Theis and Thompson who have stood out to Stevens with their overall impact on the game.
- Marc D'Amico