4 potential tweaks to watch as Celtics return from All-Star break

(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

WALTHAM -- Changes are coming to the Celtics’ rotation when the team returns to action Friday night in Detroit. The return of Marcus Smart to the court combined with nine losses over Boston’s last 15 games has guaranteed that much.

“Definitely (will) rotate a little bit differently,” Brad Stevens said of his plans. “I don’t know if that means changes in the starting lineup. We’ll definitely have some rotations that will. Certainly, it’ll be night to night, with tweaks from when guys enter the game, etc.”

While the Celtics will be closer to full strength (Shane Larkin is questionable with a knee injury) for the first time in a long time on Friday, the fact remains this group is a challenging puzzle to piece together for Stevens. The absence of Gordon Hayward, the inexperience of the many wings at the bottom of the roster and a crowded frontcourt with the addition of Greg Monroe creates a balancing act for the head coach. Can he keep veterans happy with their playing time and still put out the right mix of lineups? What youngsters can he trust amid a tumultuous last few weeks of results?

"Roles are pretty simple, I think,” Stevens explained Thursday after practice, “From the standpoint of everybody has something that they do best that they bring to the table. I think sometimes we talk about roles in terms of minutes played and when they’re coming in and those type of things. But when they get in, everybody is expected to do our system to their best of their ability and accentuate with their strengths. Then, from a minutes and rotation standpoint, that is obviously somewhat dependent on who is available. And inevitably that’s just part of it as you go through the NBA year. That definitely changes groups that are playing together and those types of things.”

We’ve already covered some ideas on changes that could be on the horizon, but here are some other things to watch for as the Celtics return to action following an eight-day respite.