Brad Stevens weighs in on Celtics’ early-season bench struggles

Brad Stevens weighs in on Celtics’ early-season bench struggles originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Boston Celtics’ president of basketball operations, Brad Stevens, joined NBC Sports Boston’s Brian Scalabrine and Mike Gorman in the broadcast booth during Friday night’s In-Season Tournament game vs. the Brooklyn Nets, where they discussed the team’s performance so far this season.

The Celtics, at 5-2 going into their In-Season Tournament debut game, have seemed like a formidable team across the league, spearheaded by Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and newcomer Kristaps Porzingis.

One notable issue for the Celtics has been their bench scoring. The trio of Al Horford, Payton Pritchard, and Sam Hauser leading the bench unit has been inconsistent at best.

During the Friday night broadcast, Stevens addressed the lack of bench scoring, stating, “I think bench scoring is one thing, but I think also, just generally, we played two really good teams, and how we’re attacking, I look at it more for the whole team. I think everybody can play better.”

The bench efficiency has been a challenge, with Hauser, leading in scoring with 8.1 points per game, followed by Horford at 5.0 and Pritchard at 3.1. Outside of these three, Oshae Brissett is the only other bench player averaging over 10 minutes per game, scoring 2.8 points per game.

The starting five of Tatum, Brown, Porzingis, Derrick White, and Jrue Holiday have been strong, all scoring well over double digits each game. Whereas the bench players have been struggling to find consistency and chemistry with the team.

“Obviously we need points off the bench,” Stevens added. “It’s good to see Payton [Pritchard] get a couple, Sam [Hauser], that helps, but we just need everyone to continue to get better together, learn how to play together, and make sure we are taking the right strides, and certainly the bench is a part of that.”

Stevens sees the Celtics as a whole unit, acknowledging that the team is still learning to play with each other due to seven of the team’s 13 players being new to the roster this season, creating some chemistry challenges to overcome.

Scalabrine then asked Stevens about experimenting with bench minutes and the versatility of the bench players, to which Stevens responded, “I’d go well into the season, especially because you’re talking about the six or seven guys on each team that are going to play the majority of the minutes, and then you’re really just looking for the best fits next to those guys.”

Despite the initial challenges, Stevens is optimistic, stating that he believes in all the players to be able to excel, emphasizing the need to find the right combination and balance within the team.

Outside of the nightly rotation, the Celtics have also utilized Luke Kornet, Dalano Banton, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Lamar Stevens situationally.

Stevens highlighted the depth of the bench, expressing confidence in their potential to contribute and help the Celtics succeed throughout the season.


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