Watch CBS News

Stevens Likes Where Celtics Are, But Team Must Keep Improving

BOSTON (CBS) -- We have the Celtics' starting five for opening night.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens joined Zolak & Bertrand Wednesday afternoon ahead of Boston's season opener against the Philadelphia 76ers, and announced that he will go with a starting lineup of Marcus Smart-Avery Bradley-Jae Crowder-David Lee-Tyler Zeller.

While it's a group he liked at the end of the preseason, Stevens cautioned that the starting five could change on any given night.

"It may be the starting lineup all season, or it may not be the starting lineup Friday (against Toronto)," Stevens joked. "I feel like we have a good vibe to that group, but I won't overreact either way."

The Celtics are hoping to use their deep roster to their benefit this season, and Stevens will have his hands full trying to figure out the best combinations on the floor.

"I feel like Isaiah [Thomas] is our most dynamic perimeter offensive player. You have a guy in Evan Turner who is proven and bigs off the bench who have started games for us. You can go 9-10 deep in starting," he said. "It's a lot more important how we play and how we complement each other, because we're going to have a number of guys play a lot of minutes."

There is a lot of optimism surrounding the Celtics, with high hopes that they'll be back in the playoff picture this summer. Stevens likes what he's seen and is hearing from his team, but now it's time to prove it on the court.

"With 82 games ahead of us everyone is optimistic and saying all the right things. That's across all 30 teams, but now it's go time and whether you do it or not. That's what we'll find out," he said. "Let's go and let's see what we're made of. Let's see where we stand and what tweaks we need to make to get better."

Stevens likes the environment the team has created, and thinks it will only make his players improve throughout the season. But they'll have to improve together, as a team.

"My deal is, 'Are we going to get better, are we going to keep improving?' If we stay the same as we are today, we aren't going to be good enough. I like, on October 28, where we stand, but that's with the idea that we're going to keep getting better," he said. "If guys come and bring the right mentality, they're going to get better and they're going to constantly improve. The good news is we have a bunch of young guys and that's been happening.

"There will be challenges thrown in now; guys are playing, guys aren't playing and human emotions get involved. But if we can keep that mentality of putting our nose down and trying to improve, I like where we can head," Stevens added.

Stevens also has high praise for Jared Sullinger and touches on some improvements he'd like to see from his team:

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.