The Celtics entered the offseason looking to add talent, which the team did by signing Al Horford to a four-year, $113MM deal. But coach Brad Stevens notes that he wanted Horford for how well he fits within the team’s system in addition to his skills, Michael Pina of Vice Sports relays. “We played [Atlanta] ten times [last season], so we had a pretty good idea of what they were doing and they had an idea of what we were doing,” Stevens told Pina. “One of the reasons we went after Al really hard on day one was because we thought that he fit in really well with how we play.”
“The part that’s great about Al is he gives you a lot of flexibility to play in different actions,” the Celtics coach continued. “Whether it be pick-and-roll, off-the-ball screens. Whether they are two-man game or more motion type concepts. He’s a good player in all of those situations. There are different ways to play, obviously, but the more skill, the more ability to dribble, pass, and shoot you have on the floor … people are going to play smaller at times against us, [so] the ability to move laterally at the five and guard smaller guys while at the same time being able to pass it from the top of the key out of a pick-and-roll, or out of the post versus a switch, is important.”
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- The Pacers‘ starting lineup appears set entering the preseason with the exception of shooting guard, which may see last year’s starter Monta Ellis shift to a role off the bench, Greg Rappaport of NBA.com writes. The move may be necessary due to the addition of Jeff Teague, who, like Ellis, is not known for his ability to consistently hit shots from deep, Rappaport notes.
- The Raptors locking up the front office trio of Masai Ujiri, Jeff Weltman and Bobby Webster for the foreseeable future is good news for the franchise because it allows for continuity and the continuation of the team’s current plan, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star.
- Stevens is also excited by the Celtics‘ offseason addition of swingman Gerald Green, whose offensive skills will add a needed dimension to the roster, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com relays (ESPN Now link). “I’ve been a big Gerald Green fan because I’ve been scared of him,” Stevens said. “And I think that that’s a great way to figure out how good a player is. When you go into a game, he’s on your scouting report, maybe in a highlighted way because he could go off for a lot of points in a short amount of time. He can change the course of a game. Does he do it every night, historically? No. But he’s had moments and times where he has done that. So I think he brings a spurtability to us that we clearly needed from a scoring standpoint.”