Brad Stevens has no desire to harp on the past.
The Celtics coach is well aware Boston underachieved last season after entering the campaign with NBA Finals aspirations. He’s also well aware that such disappointment has no bearing whatsoever on this season, which the C’s will enter with a new-look roster after a very busy summer in which Boston lost Kyrie Irving and Al Horford but gained Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter and several intriguing rookies.
“I just think it’s, generally, each team is different,” Stevens said Monday at the team’s Shamrock Foundation golf tournament, per NBC Sports Boston. “We have so many new guys. It’s just a different scenario, it’s a different feel, it’s a different group all together. There’s always going to be noise. I think no matter what the expectations are, or whether you’re not projected to be any good, or whether you’re projected to be really good, the bottom line is there’s noise everywhere. And that just increases year to year, to be honest, especially with the amount of attention, the amount of media, the amount of social media, the amount of instant feedback.
“I think that’s one of the things that over time, everybody has to get used to. And I think being able to sift through what’s important and what’s not, and trying to be as good as we can be together is all we’re trying to focus on. I said this the other day: My care is that we play with great effort and togetherness. That is it. That’s what we’re looking for, that’s what we want to be. All the technical basketball plays and system, all that stuff, that stuff will figure itself out. I feel like we’re in a good foundation there, but we’ve got to play like a Boston team should.”
The Celtics, fresh off a 2017-18 season in which they lost to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals, frequently stumbled in 2018-19, ultimately winding up with the No. 4 seed and losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the NBA playoffs.
Irving shouldered much of the blame, as he never quite meshed with Boston’s young core. But he’s now a member of the Brooklyn Nets, who also added Kevin Durant in a massive offseason coup, and there’s reason to believe the Celtics’ chemistry will improve as a result, even if Boston’s roster doesn’t look quite as talented on paper to begin the 2019-20 season.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images