Friday, June 13, 2014
Notes: Stevens says Spurs are a 'machine'
By Chris Forsberg
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens had an early morning speaking engagement on Friday, so he chose shuteye over the second half of Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday evening.
Of course, with the San Antonio Spurs out front by 19 at the intermission, and owning all the momentum in the series while dominating play in Miami, Stevens wasn't too surprised to wake up and see the Spurs had taken a commanding 3-1 series lead with another lopsided win over the Heat.
"The Spurs are playing great. The Spurs have played better than everybody else in the league for the last four months of the season," said Stevens. "That said, I don’t think it’s over. The problem with being in a series against the Heat is that you have to beat them in a 48-minute game still and that is not easy to do. So, we’ll see how it goes. But the Spurs have played great the last four months this season. They’ve been at a different level than everybody else."
Stevens marveled at how the Spurs are performing on the league's biggest stage.
"I saw somebody say that playing the Spurs is like playing chess against a computer," said Stevens. "They’re such a machine right now. But you’ve seen the Heat turn it up a notch to where they’re untouchable and both those teams are absolutely playing at a high level. You can have a feel for them, but that doesn’t mean you can do anything about it. Doesn’t mean you can stop them."
A few more notes from Friday's workout session that included a solo session for Kentucky's Julius Randle and a loaded six-man group featuring Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, Michigan's Nik Stauskas, Michigan State's Gary Harris, UCLA's Zach LaVine, Louisiana-Lafayette's Elfrid Payton, and Missouri's Jordan Clarkson.
• LIFE ON THE PRE-DRAFT CIRCUIT: LaVine, trying to cement his lottery status, has been criss-crossing the country working out for teams. Boston was the sixth stop on his voyage and he's got another five scheduled, including a stop in Denver on Saturday. Talk about a tough back-to-back. LaVine was asked if he ever forgets what city he's in. "I never forget what city I’m in, but I forget what day it is," he said. "It’s Friday? I was about to say Thursday. I’ve been forgetting the days, but other than that, I’m pretty good on it."
• GOLDEN STATE EYEING ADAMS?: Multiple reports indicate that Celtics assistant Ron Adams will interview next week with the Golden State Warriors, who recently hired Steve Kerr as their new head coach. Adams, 66, was brought in as the experienced veteran to helm Stevens' staff. At last month's draft combine, Stevens said he expected his entire staff back, but wouldn't stand in the way of any of them taking a better opportunity. It's unclear if Golden State represents an advancement for Adams, who was on the practice floor with the Celtics on Friday after draft workouts. Adams is one of the most respected assistants in the league and was revered by Celtics players last season, particularly for his shooting sessions.
• SOLO VS. GROUP: Stevens, who has helmed Boston's pre-draft workouts, was asked if he has a preference between working out potential draftees solo or in a group. "As a guy in the workout that’s doing the workout that doesn’t get to see quite as many [college] games, I’m just trying to see as many guys as possible, period, whether they’re on the court by themselves or 3-on-3," said Stevens. "Bottom line is, we have all kinds of game film on all of them and most of our front office staff caught a ton of games live. At the end of the day, these workouts are just part of the puzzle, not the biggest part."
• DRAFT BOARD PREP: Stevens said the Celtics don't necessarily realign their draft board after each workout. "I have not sat down with our front office all in one room and talked about a draft board," he said. "What I usually do is I keep my own list of what I saw from the workouts and kind of go from there and communicate from that. We’ll sit down now, after probably next week’s workouts, and talk more as we continue to get closer to the draft. But clearly with two picks in the top 20, we’ve got a lot of evaluating to do. That’s been the best part of the last couple weeks -- a little bit of the icing on the cake to have them here for workouts."
• MIZZOU MOMENT: Clarkson, a projected late first-round pick, had a supporter in attendance as fellow Mizzou product Phil Pressey observed the morning session (and got some shots up after it). Said Stevens: "Jordan Clarkson was good as well. I thought he did a good job. He had a little Missouri connection with Phil Pressey sitting in our locker room."