Dissecting the Celtics’ defensive issues

(Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Brad Stevens raised the collective eyebrows of Celtics nation on Tuesday night by sounding the alarm on the play of the Eastern Conference favorites just three games into the very young preseason. The criticism was delivered with purpose in the wake of a strong message the coach sent to his team in the locker room with a string of dagger answers designed to put some pressure on the Eastern Conference favorites.

“We’re not as good as advertised right now, so at least we know that.”

“I thought we looked like a sieve defensively.”

“I couldn’t be more unimpressed after our first three exhibition games.”

Stevens also referenced the possibility of shaking up the small-ball starting five that was hyped throughout the offseason, especially when facing a starting lineup that has two traditional big men (which is the case for the Cavs in Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson).

“The difference with (Aron) Baynes and Robert Williams in the game was noticeable, and (Daniel) Theis at the rim,” Stevens explained. “We have to take that into consideration going forward.

So what exactly is going on here? Is Stevens making a mountain out of a molehill to get the attention of his guys after a putrid performance on Tuesday night? Or is this group showing enough holes (specifically with the small-ball starting five unit) to open the door for a shift on that front, something we’ve considered all offseason-long here at BSJ.

There’s really only way to find out just eight days into the season and that’s by diving into three full games of preseason game film. Here’s a closer look at what Stevens got some worked up about on Tuesday night and whether changes could and/or should be in play moving forward.