As many as eight players on the Boston Celtics’ current roster could be let go at the end of the season, and in most cases, fans would hardly bat an eyelash. Whatever clears the books for the next era, whether it arrives right away or a season or two down the line, is fine with them.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens doesn’t think it’s so simple. Like most folks who have to be around the game on a daily basis, and don’t have the luxury of just popping in and out when it suits them, Stevens knows winning is about more than having the most talent.
“I think, when you look at some of the better teams in the league, certainly talent is a huge part of it,” Stevens said Friday on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “Everyone being on the same page is a huge part of it, too. You also look at the continuity that was built over time. Every moment guys have a chance to be together, it’s very important for guys to be productive.”
Stevens was speaking specifically about Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, who are getting their first extended opportunity to play as a duo in their four seasons together. Injuries have prevented the guards, who on paper seem to complement each other well, from teaming up often under Stevens or his predecessor, Doc Rivers.
With Bradley eligible for restricted free agency at the end of the season, it’s now or never for the Celtics to figure out if he is their long-term answer at two-guard. The Celtics (23-49) have the fifth-worst record in the NBA entering the weekend. The highest-rated guard in the draft is Dante Exum, a combo guard out of Australia, but even he isn’t a cinch to go in the top six picks.
It’s therefore uncertain the Celtics will be able to fill Bradley’s spot through the draft right away, creating the necessity for Stevens to get the most from his players now, hoping that some of them carry over something into the future, when a much different Celtics team shoots for banner 18.