NEWPORT, Rhode Island – Brad Stevens is getting to know 10 new players. Likewise, 10 new players are getting to know him.
Training camp in Newport has come to an end, and with that, the newest Celtics have a solid grasp on how their new coach attacks each day of work. Aron Baynes, one of those 10 newcomers, is a fan of what he has seen thus far.
“He’s great. He’s fun to be around,” Baynes said of Stevens following Thursday’s practice at Salve Regina University. “He makes it interesting and fun for us. It’s been good getting out there and playing under him. I think he does it the right way.”
The right way, from Baynes’ perspective, is emphasizing a specific mentality the team should bring to work every day.
“He really puts a focus on being out here (on the court), and when we’re out here, we’re working,” explained Baynes, “but when we’re not, he wants us to get off our feet.”
Stevens likes to keep his practices brief. During training camp, they have lasted about 90 minutes each, and that number will drop to about 45-60 minutes once the regular season begins.
The work sessions are not long, but they are certainly intense.
Installing an offensive and defensive system during such brief sessions is a challenge, but as Stevens explained, he and his assistants worked very hard on constructing an effective plan leading up to the tip-off of camp Tuesday morning.
“We’ve spent, as a staff, every waking minute for the last month trying to think about how [the new team] would best look and think about how we can put them in position,” he said.
One might think that Stevens would install his system incrementally over the course of the first month of the season, allowing his players to learn it all piece by piece, but he actually takes the opposite approach.
“I’m kind’ve a big believer of throwing the whole at them and then breaking it down later,” Stevens explained.
To their credit, it sounds as if the 10 new players are internalizing all of the information at a high rate. Baynes apparently didn’t even notice that Stevens threw the kitchen sink at the team, as the big man from Australia actually said today of Stevens, “He’s slowly introducing things.”
The fact that Boston’s newest players feel that way is a great sign. What’s also a great sign is that Stevens believes he and the team accomplished everything they wanted to accomplish during their short stay in one of New England’s most beautiful cities.
“I think you’re trying to do three things,” Stevens said of training camp. “No. 1 is, obviously, you’re trying to be healthy when you leave, right? And you want to be a little bit better with what you’ve added in from both sides of the court. I think we’re both of those things. And then you think the bonding stuff is good for down the road.”
Make no mistake about it: there are camps around the country that did not accomplish those three things during the last three days. Injuries happen, sometimes players don’t improve during a short time period, and sometimes teammates don’t necessarily get along.
None of those issues exist for the Boston Celtics at this time.
Brad Stevens has gotten to know 10 new players, and 10 players have gotten to know him. All is well in Celtics Nation, and the team is right on target as it heads back to Boston for the remainder of the preseason.