Maybe we SHOULD be worried about this 1-3 preseason

Before I say anything else, let me start by saying I'm not worried about the Boston Celtics based on what I've seen over their 1-3 preseason record.

But I am concerned, and the lack of team identity, open barn door on defense, and the offense a Brad Stevens-led team displayed in the 2011 NCAA title game vs. UConn (for those who don't follow college ball, that means very, very bad) are the main reason why.

All the guys who know better are settling for jump shots, playing ISO ball, letting the passing drop and the ball stick. Missing rotations, losing their man, jogging to the perimeter when an opponent is wide open. Worst of all is each of them is on an island when they've been on the floor - five guys is for fries, Celts; what you need to be is a team.

The second string has been solid, showing grit and passion (last night, too much passion), and the third string has been downright impressive, showing the kind of effort we'd expect for a team projected by many as a near-lock for the NBA Finals. Of course, many are on camp or two-way deals, so they already know what they're playing for.

Do the starters?

I'm starting to think they may have bought into the hype a little bit much, and while coach Stevens has kept the positive note I had for most of last week, the foundation of that opinion has taken a few hits - there's nothing else to say that what I've been seeing is...concerning.

I have faith a week in the lab with mad scientist Brad ought to set things straight, but it's going to take the starters buying in and converting that into team play on both ends of the court. I don't expect it to be a well-oiled machine early on, but I do expect to see effort and hustle, and I don't just mean from the bench.

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Image: Tony Dejak/AP
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