Brad Stevens on Kyrie Irving: 'He looks pretty good'

Brad Stevens on Kyrie Irving: 'He looks pretty good'

PLYMOUTH, Mass. –  The last time we saw Kyrie Irving, he was in street clothes as the Celtics navigated their way through the playoffs without him and advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Fast forward to this month, one in which Stevens has seen Irving working out with his teammates in pickup games doing what can be best described as Irving-like things.

When asked if Irving had the cutting moves we’ve seen him display in splicing up defenders on a nightly basis, Stevens, with a mischievous smile, said, “he’s got ‘em. He looks pretty good."

And that bodes well for a Boston team that’s expected by many to advance to the NBA Finals this season.

“He’s worked really hard,” Stevens said of Irving. “I think he’s excited … it’s good to see that.”

Irving has established himself as one of the top guards in the NBA and has shown himself capable of stepping up in the playoffs when needed.

A career 22.0 points per game scorer, Irving has averaged 23.9 points in the postseason, putting up at least 25.2 points per game in his last two playoff appearances (2016 and 2017).

But injuries and an infection in his left knee have led to him missing all or most of the postseason in two of the last four seasons.

“The one last year with us was such a shock,” Stevens said. “Just because of the unfortunate event with the infection.”

He won’t be the only Celtic who will be watched closely in training camp.

Gordon Hayward, who missed most of last season with a left ankle injury suffered in the season opener, has also looked good in workouts according to Stevens.

“He’s been really diligent all the way through his rehab and progressing to each step,” Stevens said of Hayward. “I watched him go all the way through the steps of working out to 1-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-3 and now he can play some of the open gyms some of the guys are having.”

Irving and Hayward, like most of the Celtics, won’t play major minutes in the preseason.

“I don’t think anyone will play a ton in the first week,” Stevens said. “That’s too quick. Usually you have five or six days before your first game. But to have three days and we play the second one right after that. We’re basically breaking our camp down from a staffing standpoint into two separate camps. The first one is, getting back together, making sure we’re fluid in what we’re trying to accomplish for the most part on offense and defense playing as a team through those first ten days when we have four games. And after that, we have a full eight-day period. We’ll basically treat it like another camp, as we get ready for the regular season. I don’t anticipate anybody hitting the 25-minute mark in any of those early games.”

Stevens knows not to put too much stock in what he sees early on from his players. This is especially true for Irving and Hayward.

 “I think like anything there’s going to be a period of adjustment,” Stevens said.

But that reality has to be balanced with an earlier-than-usual preseason schedule which will present its own unique sets of challenges.

The days of easing into the preseason, at least this year, are gone.

“If we’re not ready for the competitive side, that’ll smack us in the face pretty quick,” Stevens said. “But that’s part of getting ready for a season.”


That time Enes Kanter almost made Celtics coach Brad Stevens go viral

That time Enes Kanter almost made Celtics coach Brad Stevens go viral

Enes Kanter loves social media and is a big fan of Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

But Kanter recently discovered something his new boss: Stevens and social media don't mix.

Kanter recently joined the "Celtics Talk Podcast" for an exclusive chat and regaled co-hosts Kyle Draper and Chris Forsberg with a great story about Stevens' love for basketball -- and for staying out of the spotlight.

"I've never worked with a guy like Brad. He's amazing, man," Kanter said. "One time, we finished practiced, right? And he's playing 1-on-1 with the ball boys. And I'm like, 'Man, this is crazy. This is the only head coach I've seen trying to play 1-on-1 with the ball boys.'

Kanter, who's extremely active on social media and posts videos of his daily workouts on Twitter and Instagram, naturally wanted to document this important moment. But Stevens wasn't having it.

"He was actually pretty good," Kanter said. "He was blocking shots, making 3-pointers. I've still got the film. I was actually filming him, and he saw me and was like, 'No, no, no.' He didn't want it to go viral. But he was actually really good."

Imagine if Kanter had posted a video of Stevens (who played college basketball at Division III DePauw University, by the way) swatting a Celtics ball boy's shot into the cheap seats? Yeah, that might have gone viral...

The 27-year-old big man honored his coach's wishes and kept the footage under wraps, but maybe Stevens will allow Kanter to show us one day.

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Exclusive sit down with Enes Kanter

Celtics Talk Podcast: Exclusive sit down with Enes Kanter

New Celtics big man Enes Kanter sits down with Kyle Draper and Chris Forsberg. A. Sherrod Blakely joins Kyle and Chris to discuss Team USA's impact on the Celtics, Jaylen Brown's impressive FIBA performance and whether Kemba Walker will step up and be the leader the C's need.

1:03 - Enes Kanter interview

21:56 - Team USA's seventh-place finish

28:34 - Did the Celtics get all they could out of playing for Team USA?

32:30 - Are the Celtics more likely to give Jaylen Brown an extension after his FIBA performance?

37:15 - Will Kemba Walker be the alpha the Celtics need?



Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.