NEW YORK — The Celtics are five days away from their in-season tournament opener against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden and like most involved in the NBA, they are still trying to figure out how to approach the innovative idea suggested by Commissioner Adam Silver.
Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, a member of the NBA Players Association Executive Board, said the players approved the idea after being sold about the potential financial benefits from an in-season tournament.
“It’s something that definitely came over from soccer,” he said. “The whole idea behind it was to try to create some more revenue, get more fans watching, get people more engaged. It’s a long season around this time of the year, viewership takes a big dip in terms of fans watching and people participating. This is a way to reengage the fans, reengage the players and hopefully make for better business down the line.”
The NBA has attempted to make these games unique by changing the color of the playing courts for every in-season game. The Celtics will play four in-season tournament games — as part of their regular season schedule — and the six teams with the best records in their groups and two wild cards advance to the quarterfinals. The semifinals and finals will be played in Las Vegas as the only NBA games on the schedule.
Brown said there was a diverse reaction from the players during the vote.
“Every player you ask might have their own mixed feelings about it,” he said. “We voted on it and all of the team representatives put their vote in and we had conversations about it and we agreed that more revenue couldn’t hurt. It’s more revenue in our pockets. It’s more (basketball related income). The players agreed to it. It’s hard to get a gauge of the enthusiasm but it was definitely mixed reviews.”
The Celtics entered Saturday with the No. 1 scoring offense in the NBA and second in field goal percentage. Brown said the offensive chemistry is building but hardly where it’s going to eventually land.
“It’s just a start, just a beginning, still a long season,” he said. “We’re going to see different things at different times. We can’t overreact. We got off to a good start, partially to who we’ve been playing, … but partially to some of the chemistry that we’ve built. We’ve got to keep continuing to go forward.”
All five Celtics starters are averaging in double figures and all five are shooting over 48.6 percent from the field.
“We have a lot of talent. We have to be patient,” Brown said. “Every game is a different story. As long as we are dominating and winning, that’s what matters the most. Teams are going to challenge us. We’ve got to be ready for that, too. Can’t overreact. But we got to be prepared and my job is to try to have us prepared.”
The Celtics were without Derrick White for personal reasons, likely the birth of his second child. It’s uncertain whether he will return for Monday’s game at Minnesota. White has been durable since joining the Celtics, being one of only 10 players to play in all 82 games last season. He played in Boston’s first four games this season.
Al Horford got his first start of the season in place of White, and his entrance into the lineup gives the Celtics a bigger look.
“We’ve shown in possessions playing double big throughout the year,” coach Joe Mazzulla said. “I like what we had in that as far as our offense execution and our rebounding on both ends. To me, it’s just an opportunity for us to work on that.”
The Nets are far from healthy, and the club gave Ben Simmons the night off to rest his surgically repaired back. Nic Claxton sat out Saturday with a left ankle sprain and Cameron Johnson was scratched with a left calf strain. Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn said there are no injury concerns with Simmons, just a day to rest his back. The Nets played Friday night in Chicago … Two-way contract center Neemias Queta continues to miss time with his foot injury. His return is uncertain.