BOSTON – Rest will be the dish of the night for the Boston Celtics’ Big Three – Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford – who along with Marcus Morris, will not play in tonight’s preseason matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers.
This means there will be opportunities for Boston’s lesser-known players to get on the floor, something that’s a bit trickier to do this season than past years.
With the NBA focusing on lessening the wear and tear on players in the preseason, most teams play no more than five or six preseason games compared to previous years when most teams play an eight-game preseason slate.
The Celtics (2-0) play tonight and close out the preseason portion of their schedule on Wednesday at Charlotte.
The shorter schedule has meant fewer opportunities for players near the end of the bench or those who are training camp invitees, to show what they can do in games.
Andrew White III, who played at Syracuse University last season, is among the training camp invites hoping to make the most of his opportunity to play potentially as early as tonight.
But even if that doesn’t happen, he feels good about the way the Celtics have approached working with and developing all their players.
“Brad is very detailed in what he wants to do,” White III told NBC Sports Boston. “So you have to be ready at all times. Outside of the designated practice hours, just working, watching tape, going through the offense, just so we’re up to speed with everything.”
Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown explained his approach to dealing with a shorter number of games and its impact on getting a good look at camp invites and some players near the end of the roster.
“It is challenging, but not as challenging as everybody might think,” Brown said.
He added that the players have been together for most of the month of September which has afforded them plenty of time to get a feel for one another, ranging from stars such as Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons, to players who are training camp invites.
“We will end of having sort of five real preseason games to make assessments,” Brown said. “The rhythm to my subbing has always been, you play who you really think is going to play during the regular season the first three periods. Then you give the last period to those guys you want to evaluate. That strategy changes a lot as the preseason games become fewer. You want to give your guys real minutes.”
For White III, it remains to be seen how much if at all, he’ll play tonight or in the Celtics’ preseason finale at Charlotte on Wednesday.
But White III is likely to continue developing his game in New England with the team’s Gatorade League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.
“I’ll probably be there,” White III told NBC Sports Boston. “To my knowledge, I’m taking it for what it is and try to learn as much as possible.”
Whether he’s in Boston or Maine, the goal remains the same for White III and all players in training camps this year.
“Wherever I am, it still comes down to producing,” White III said. “And I am confident that I will produce if given the opportunity.”