Celtics’ Stevens: ‘We’ve got eight, nine, maybe 10 guys that are starters’

Coach Brad Stevens is hoping to see more from the Celtics, yes, even in the preseason.

Now that LeBron James is no longer in the Eastern Conference, many consider the Boston Celtics as the best team in the East and a lock to get to the NBA Finals.

Celtics small forward Jaylen Brown agrees with that narrative, as he recently said, “We’re getting to the Finals, no question about it.”

Boston has one of the most deepest and talented rosters in the NBA. Their starting lineup, while not set in stone yet, will most likely feature Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Brown, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford. With both Irving and Hayward expected to be healthy, the Celtics are primed to contend for a championship. Without Irving and Hayward during the 2018 postseason, Boston took James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, so one would surmise the Celtics will be even more lethal with their two stars back.

The Celtics’ bench is strong as well. Terry Rozier, who started in the playoffs with Irving sidelined, is arguably the best backup point guard in the league. Marcus Smart is a lockdown defender, Marcus Morris is a guy who can score in bunches and Aron Baynes has championship pedigree and is a smart defender.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens will be tasked with the challenge to distribute his minutes throughout the season efficiently, but says he’s fortunate to have such an adept roster.

“I think all of our guys realize that we have a really good thing going,” Stevens said on the Yahoo Sports NBA podcast with Chris Mannix. “Part of being on a team is all being understanding that there’s nothing like experiencing winning together. For me, it’s more about, we have a unique thing, and I think we all have to recognize that. The starting thing, the finishing and everything else – we’re going to have different lineups out there, and everybody’s going to get an opportunity and lots of opportunities to make an impact.

“We’ll just do it like we’ve always done it. Marcus Smart has come off the bench for two years, and I’ve never considered Marcus Smart to be a non-starter. We’re fortunate enough on our team that we’ve got eight, nine, maybe 10 guys that are starters. So, we’ll figure that out as the time comes.”