The Boston Celtics struggled to find any sort of rhythm and consistency during the 2018-19 season, but things are different one year later.
Yes, there’s less depth, but with that comes more defined roles, which seemingly has created a much clearer and better dynamic within the Boston locker room. It certainly has made fans happier, but former Celtics assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry, now an associate head coach at Purdue, told The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach it’s had a similar effect on Brad Stevens.
“I think he’s thrilled with how they’re playing, but how they’re going about handling their business is the biggest point,” Shrewsberry said. “He just looks and sounds happier. He always used to talk about the teams that make Boston proud, and I think that’s what this group is kind of doing. They bring it every single night, and even the nights they’re not at their best, they fight back into it. That’s the kind of fighter’s mentality that I think Brad wants his groups to play with, and it looks like that’s what they’re doing. That’s who they are this year.”
Much of Boston’s success is thanks to Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, both of whom have taken significant jumps in their respective games to really widen the Celtics’ impressive offensive attack. Shrewsberry noted both of their improvements, but seemed particularly impressed with Brown’s development.
“For Jaylen, each year how he handles the ball and how he handles situations has gotten so much better,” Shrewsberry said. “He’s becoming so skilled with the ball where you just trust him. Early on he’d do stuff and you’d be like, ‘Uh, I don’t know what’s going to happen here.’ But more often than not now, good plays are happening because now he’s seeing the floor, he’s handling it. He’s not trying to score all the time. He’s setting guys up as well. That part of his game is really flourishing.”
Stevens, Brown and the Celtics look for their 18th win Wednesday when they take on the Mavericks in Dallas. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.