Stevens claims he is learning the most in preseason

It has been a wild preseason for the Boston Celtics, now with a 1-5 record. Three of those losses have been comebacks that have fallen short, ending in two point losses. Although much of the blame is on the players making improvements, coach Brad Stevens feels as though he is benefiting the most from these warmup games.

Stevens is attempting to make the jump from the NCAA to the NBA, something that has yielded a wide range of success... or no so much success. Celtics fans know all too well, see Rick Pitino. But Stevens seems to have the patience and attitude that this is going to be a growing experience for himself as much as anyone. Here are words from Stevens courtesy of Jay King's piece on MassLive:
“Some of our guys that are going to be in (at the end of games) aren’t in, so that’s a little unique. But they’re fine. As far as timeouts and advancing the ball and all of that stuff, it’s been helpful,” Stevens told reporters after Boston’s 99-97 loss in Toronto Wednesday night. “I feel 10 times better than I did the first time we played Toronto (opening night of the preseason), as far as just the way the game flows. I feel like the person who’s probably benefited the most from the preseason will be me.”
If Stevens had a timeout left, it would have been interesting to see if he used it – some coaches swear their players have a better chance against a defense retreating in transition, but Stevens could have saved time by advancing the ball to halfcourt. Alas, because the Celtics were all out of time-stoppers, he never had a choice. Boston hurried the ball upcourt, Crawford missed a stepback 3-pointer and Sullinger – in perfect position for a putback, right next to the rim – short-armed a last-second attempt that would have tied the game. All that chaos (and I use that as a term of endearment for the nonsensical, thoroughly enjoyable fourth quarter) was helpful for Stevens, I’m sure. But coaches always seem to juggle several pressing issues. “I just said in the locker room, we’ve got to become more of a 48-minute team instead of a 38-minute team,” he told reporters. “You use everything that you did in the preseason – whether it is in practice, whether it is in film, or whether it is in these games – as a learning experience, and you move forward. You can’t get too high or too low, but we have to get better for a 48-minute time frame.”
Late game execution has been shaky for the Celtics as you can tell from the quote. Like Stevens said, many of the guys who will be in there in the regular season for those situations are not. That is obviously something to consider, but it would be nice not to be 0-3 in two point games. On the bright side, the execution can only go up from here, and it appears so can Stevens.

Source: MassLive

Photo: AP Photo/ Charles Krupa

Follow Julian @BleedGreenBlogs