Brad Stevens keeping his troops grounded - focused on Raptors in the East

Celtics Coach Brad Stevens is very conservative in his hair style and manner of dress. He also is that when he speaks of his current team's potential.

In the regular season, the Toronto Raptors finished first in the Eastern Conference. They traded away DeMar DeRozan and picked up two-way star Kawhi Leonard. Brad had this to say about Toronto (per's Tariq Saleh):

Toronto was the best team in the East and they added one of the best players in the NBA (Leonard). So I’m sure they’re excited about their team.

Stevens is taking neither extreme route here. He is not saying that the Celtics will destroy every team in the East. And neither is he stating that the Raptors are going to be a powerhouse of a threat to Boston's chances of a Title. He is simply stating that Toronto was the best in the East last season, at least in terms of their regular-season record, and they may have improved with the Kawhi-for-DeMar trade.

Toronto has some solid veteran talent in Serge Ibaka, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas and Leonard. Youngsters OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam should all be significant contributors this coming season.

The Celtics counter with veterans Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Marcus Smart (yes, he's a vet now) and Marcus Morris. The young guys include Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier, Daniel Theis (not-so-young 2nd-year man) and Semi Ojeleye.

Even with Kawhi now with the Raptors, I give the nod, at least on paper, to the Celtics. But Brad is right. NBA Titles are not won on paper. They are won on wood - hardwood. Stevens grounded his troops with his "Toronto-best-team-in-East" quote. Never a bad idea.

Follow Tom at TomLaneHC. and Facebook

Photo via Maddie Meyer/Getty Images