Brad Stevens Says Celtics Have 3, Not 5, Positions Now

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2017

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens at the team's practice facility in Waltham, Mass., Friday, June 23, 2017. With Tatum, a 6-foot-8 small forward, the Celtics get a player who was a polished scoring threat during his lone season at Duke. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

The new era of the NBA requires versatility to win, and the Boston Celtics are adjusting.

"I don’t have the five positions anymore," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said, per Kareem Copeland of the Associated Press. "It may be as simple as three positions now, where you’re either a ball-handler, a wing or a big.

"It's really important. We've become more versatile as the years have gone on."

The idea of positionless basketball has come to the forefront with the Golden State Warriors, who have dominated teams with their ability to play small ball. While Stephen Curry is considered the point guard, he can also easily play off the ball with his scoring ability just like Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green do.

Boston is now trying to replicate this, especially after several notable additions to the lineup. Gordon Hayward announced he will sign with the team via the Players' Tribune, while the squad also selected forward Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft.

The challenge will now be finding spots in the lineup for all the talent on the deep roster.

There were already a plethora of quality ball-handlers between Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, but there are now multiple wing options between Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown, Tatum and Hayward. 

These players will have to fit into three or four spots in the lineup, but Stevens at least is confident in the rookie finding a role thanks to his versatility.

"Tatum will play wherever," the coach said. "He can handle the ball. He can move it. ... He's at least a wing because he can really handle the ball, too. And he can shoot it and do all those things. He's a very versatile player."

While the organization can still make changes prior to the start of the season, Stevens has a lot of options when creating a rotation for next season.

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