Celtics

Brad Stevens pinpoints Celtics' biggest roster needs this offseason

Celtics
Brad Stevens

The Boston Celtics' players are getting some much-deserved time off after a grueling season that ended two wins shy of an NBA championship.

But with the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday and free agency beginning next week, the Celtics' front office has some work to do.

Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens met with reporters Tuesday and was asked how he'll look to upgrade Boston's roster via the draft, free agency or trades this offseason.

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"If you ask me right now what we need, I'd like to have a little bit more scoring -- consistent scoring off the bench," Stevens said in a video press conference. "I think that we have some short-term needs there."

Boston's lack of bench scoring was glaring in the 2022 NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors' core reserves outscored the Celtics' backups 52-9 in Games 5 and 6 combined, and Boston's starters looked fatigued while shouldering the scoring load. Grant Williams averaged just 4.2 points per game in the Finals, while Derrick White shot just 32.7 percent from the floor

Stevens did mention that bench scoring could come from within if young players like Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith can carve out more consistent roles.

"I believe in a couple of the guys that didn’t get to play as much, that they will continue to improve and be knocking on that door soon," Stevens added. "So we have some development opportunities within our own organization."

 

Outside of finding a quality scorer off the bench, Stevens and Co. also will be looking for players who can move the ball effectively.

"I think we need more playmaking. I think that that's real," Stevens said. "I think we need more playmaking, but I don't think we can expect to be stagnant. We have to make sure that we continue with pace.

"When we're at our best, we play with pace and when we create one advantage, the ball whips around the court. I just thought that we played pretty slow in that last series (against Golden State)."

Boston's offense stagnated against the Warriors as a result of that slower pace, with the C's failing to top 100 points in all of their last three losses. Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown all made strides as facilitators this season, but the Celtics could benefit from another ball-mover who can prevent their offense from bogging down in crucial moments.

NBA free agency kicks off next Thursday, June 30, while Stevens also could explore the trade market to address his team's roster needs. We shouldn't expect any major shakeups for a team that reached the NBA Finals for the first time in 12 years, but we also shouldn't expect the Celtics to be quiet as they aim to get right back to the Finals next season.