5 Questions Left Unanswered After Boston Celtics Training Camp
Maybe this should have been expected. New head coach Brad Stevens is feeling out both his roster and the NBA game as a whole. I'm sure the speed and rotations are somewhat different from his time at Butler University.
It is also incredibly difficult to gauge a player's true ability based on preseason performance. Sometimes, it will provide useful hints, but other times, it is completely useless and embellished due to game intensity and competition level.
It is up to Stevens and his staff to wade through that to find the little nuggets that will help him in the regular season.
It is up to us to continue probing questions that we want to see answered about the Boston Celtics.
What Does the Starting Five Look Like?
In eight preseason games, the Boston Celtics have used six different starting lineups.
One of them was used by head coach Brad Stevens three times, consisting of Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass.
While that lineup is heavily undersized, it may actually be Boston's best unit right now. Crawford was the only one who separated himself from the group of shooting guards. Courtney Lee started three games with bland results.
Gerald Wallace saw three preseason starts and might deserve a spot, but until he proves he can play alongside Green, that is not happening. Kris Humphries started the first two preseason games but didn't stand out.
Rookie Kelly Olynyk started a pair of games, but Stevens may feel more comfortable with the experience of Bass right now.
Overall, this isn't a huge vote of confidence for the starting five, but it would be a good thing to settle upon early in the regular season. It will help define roles, which makes Boston a more competitive team moving forward.
Is Phil Pressey More Than a Garbage Man?
When the Boston Celtics brought in Phil Pressey this offseason, he was little more than a body to help fill out training camp.
However, over the last month or so, Pressey has shown some legitimate NBA skills. That is why his $490,000 contract is fully guaranteed, while guys like Chris Babb and Damen Bell-Holter have been cut.
Pressey saw time in six preseason games, with a minor injury mixed in. He received north of 20 minutes of playing time in three of those games. In four separate contests, he doled out four-plus assists but shot just 34.7 percent overall. There was one 0-of-7 night included, though. Pressey posted a plus-10 mark in 21 minutes during Boston's win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Overall, it is pretty clear that Pressey is the team's lone true point guard. However, we don't know how much stock Brad Stevens is putting in that. Will Pressey be simply used during garbage time or sent to the Maine Red Claws?
At some point in the near future, it would be helpful to know if we'll be suffering through an Avery Bradley-led offense until Rajon Rondo gets back.
Giving Pressey some time on the first or second unit may bring relief.
What Is Rajon Rondo's Timetable?
For how incredibly visible Rajon Rondo has been this preseason, we still have no clue as to when he'll be returning to action.
Rondo has been great and insightful. He gave plenty of interviews on media day and was generally available and transparent after a recent preseason game. However, all we've gotten is mixed signals on a return timetable.
Perhaps, it is whenever he can start dunking again? That doesn't seem like a totally, medically sound way to go. Also, knowing how often Rondo actually dunks in games, it might seem unnecessary.
Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge have also been pretty quiet on the subject. This could be a way of calming expectations if they choose to hold him out. That would align with the tanking chatter that has already started. An early Rondo return means a reasonably competitive team and too many wins to earn a top lottery spot.
It would certainly be nice to know when fans will be able to watch one of the league's most entertaining players again.
Is Jeff Green Ready to Rise to This Challenge?
Jeff Green hasn't burned up the preseason slate with his play.
While that isn't a cause for alarm just yet, keep your finger in the vicinity of a panic button. For the Boston Celtics to have any hope this season, Green must start the year strong. In fact, for him to have any success in Boston long-term, he'll have to get hot early.
Celtics fans have had enough of inconsistent and shy Jeff Green. It is time for him to earn that contract in more than two or three games in a losing, first-round playoff series.
Unfortunately, the preseason hasn't given us much in terms of flashes that could lead to something bigger.
Green has played more than 20 minutes in all eight preseason contests and hasn't had any signature performances. Overall, Boston's small forward is shooting a miserable 32.5 percent, with a 23.5 percent clip from beyond the arc.
He hasn't been rebounding or distributing the ball any better than usual either. It has been a disappointing preseason for Green, so, hopefully, Brad Stevens can wade through some of that to get him going very soon.
How Much Does Brad Stevens Trust Kelly Olynyk?
There are, perhaps, many more unanswered questions stemming from the Boston Celtics' preseason but doubtfully any as important as Brad Stevens' trust level in Kelly Olynyk.
Boston's lottery pick this past summer earned just two starts in the preseason. One of which came with Jared Sullinger sick and out for the game. That was when he earned, by far, his most minutes as well, 34, but Jeff Green left the game with an injury.
That night was also one of Boston's two wins, coming against the Brooklyn Nets. Olynyk posted nine points and six rebounds.
In the only other Boston victory, he registered 15 points, six boards and three assists. Overall, Olynyk is shooting 52.5 percent from the field and hasn't shown an ounce of fear offensively. That type of offensive confidence is something Boston will need this year.
However, with minutes bouncing around between starter, legitimate big off the bench and minor role player, Olynyk can't be too sure where he stands or what is being asked of him when he steps on the court.
For rookies, that is an important thing to know and develop early on. Brad Stevens has to define Olynyk's role, and do it soon, so he can maximize the early potential of his young big.
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