As the Celtics wrap up the final days of their 2013-2014 season, Abby Chin goes one-on-one with coach Brad Stevens.
Have you seen any change in the team since being officially eliminated from the playoffs?
"I can’t say that I have," says Stevens. "I think even at our walkthroughs and at [Saturday's] shoot-around I didn’t feel like there was much change. [We're] obviously disappointed in the overall body of work. You always want to have an opportunity to play in the playoffs."
On the importance of finishing the season on a strong note:
"It’s really important for, not only the guys that are contracted that are going to be back for sure, but the other guys that we’re evaluating and we’re determining if they’re going to be part of our future as well," says Stevens. "More so than the talk, it’s got to be in the walk right now. It’s got to be in the everyday preparation. it’s got to be in how you play, it’s got to be in what you’re like in the huddle."
Which player has made the greatest strides this season?
"I don’t know that there’s an easy answer to that," says Stevens. "I think because of the experience, they’ve all gained.
"A guy like Kelly [Olynyk] really risen as the season’s gone on. We could talk about [Jared Sullinger]’s great stretches that he’s played. We could talk about Jeff Green’s stretches. We could talk about everybody’s stretches that they’ve played, but I think you’re going to know that next year. I think you’re going to see who took this experience, who continued to play through it, and then who really embraced getting better over the summer."
Which player has been the biggest surprise?
"The guy that probably stands out the most because of the unique circumstances that he came into is Chris Johnson," says Stevens. "It’s hard to say he’s not a plus. When he’s on the court he’s a plus. When he’s in the locker room he’s a plus. His work ethic [has been] great. His individual work is some of the best on the team. Good for him, taking advantage of an opportunity."