Brad Stevens knows five games in October don’t make or break a season, but he isn’t enthusiastic about the Celtics’s execution at this point.
“We don’t have so much talent that we can’t play well,” Stevens told Toucher and Rich on Friday. “We have to be way more dialed in.”
Stevens, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, has a different view now than he did while coaching the team from 2013 until he took over for Danny Ainge in the front office earlier this year. He helped construct a roster with many new pieces, and so far the 2-3 Celtics haven’t met his or others’ expectations.
He said it’s about more than effort, but that giving effort is the minimum requirement. The Celtics’ opponents are currently averaging 119 points per game, second-worst behind only the Lakers, and Boston has allowed the third-most rebounds per game (50.8).
“There are things that are concerning if we don’t start playing possession to possession,” Stevens acknowledged.
Stevens said it’s the very beginning of the season and that the Celtics could easily be 1-4 or 4-1. He said he gets “a kick” out of everyone analyzing the team’s lack of energy in a pregame shoot-around prior to their matchup with the Wizards on Wednesday.
His replacement, Ime Udoka, said he sensed the Celtics would get their “[expletive] kicked” if they played the way they warmed up – which they did for most of the game, in his eyes. Stevens said a team can have a good game despite a bad shoot-around, but he made it clear he doesn’t have a problem with Udoka calling out his team afterward.
“I don’t think it’s ever wrong to have an authentic approach, and Ime is authentic,” Stevens said.