As the Boston Celtics have played a conference-leading 59 games to this point, I’m sure players and coaches both were looking forward to time off this past weekend with the All-Star break. Some players we’re in attendance for the events while others took to their favorite vacation spots including even coach Brad Stevens making an appearance down at Fort Myers, FL, at the Boston Red Sox spring-training ballpark. With over a week off in between last Wednesday’s game and this Friday’s upcoming tilt vs. the new-look Detroit Pistons though, I’m sure as most fans are already, everyone in the organization will be excited to get back to action.

Amidst losing four games in it’s past five, the Green will hope to get a fresh start coming off the break but some changes may be called for in order to accomplish that. Don’t worry, all the familiar faces will still be around (and yes, the team will still be wearing green), however the lineups fans might see Stevens wheel out there could be a little different.

First thing that is clear here is that Brad definitely didn’t stumble upon this belief while being blown out by the Los Angeles Clippers last Wednesday. This is something that’s been building for some time and there seems to be a shared concern for change amongst a lot of fans due to the recent struggles.

Furthering the point that fans and, more importantly, members of the team themselves should expect changes to come, the Celtics fifth-year head coach noted that players should come ready to compete when they return to practice. And why wouldn’t he? Even Jaylen Brown said himself last week that he felt complacency was a pretty big issue amongst the squad and guys didn’t have as much drive. Typically, playing in Boston is usually enough drive as our fans will be the first to notice guys not putting in the effort but if that isn’t, having a coach like Stevens to test their willingness to compete should bare results.

For fans guessing where some of changes to the rotation may be, it’s probably a good bet to start with the second unit. Having struggled to produce on the offensive side of the ball all year, the bench has also seen a significant dip in production on defense. Even with the addition of Greg Monroe inside, the absence of Marcus Smart has left them praying for stops.

While we should expect to see #36 back in his familiar role next to Terry Rozier as Stevens’ free-wheeling pitbull off the bench, I wouldn’t be surprised if Smart was incorporated into an earlier rotation with the starters again. Similar to how the team would pull Amir Johnson after about three minutes a game and then go to a small lineup last year, Brad may want to use Smart to alleviate Kyrie Irving on the defensive side. While Uncle Drew has put up MVP caliber numbers as an offensive wizard and even has become a much better defender this year, opponents have taken advantage of the tiring schedule the C’s, and he, have had to endure, going on the attack.

Stevens will have a lot on his plate these next few months as he tries to figure out these rotation changes all while trying to position his troop, and get them ready, for another playoff run. Although it should be a tall task, being able to adapt on the fly is one of the many parts of being a successful NBA team and usually having an annual Coach of the Year candidate at the helm makes that easier. Regardless, it should be interesting to see the lineups the team will experiment with over these next few weeks.

The Green will try to take a step back in the right direction and open the last stretch of the year this Friday at 7 PM against Blake Griffin and the Pistons.

Follow Brendan on Twitter for more Celtics/NBA info at @brendan_ronan_

Photo via NBC Sports Boston
Photo via Michael Dwyer, Associated Press

Unknown 2/20/2018 05:30:00 PM Edit
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