Celtics

Brad Stevens is eager to rebuild the Celtics’ identity

(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

PLYMOUTH — Ahead of the 12th annual Shamrock Foundation Golf Tournament fundraiser on Monday, Wyc Grousbeck met with his head coach about the upcoming season and couldn’t help but come away with sense of optimism after his conversation from Brad Stevens.

“We just were standing there watching some of our guys work out and some of our guys play and I just think there’s a lot to be excited about,” Stevens said of the meeting.

Amid a whirlwind of change this offseason, the Celtics enter the 2019-20 regular season with questions everywhere from the starting lineup to the frontcourt rotation. However, one thing that the team did not lose in the offseason that saw Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and several others depart is a sense of excitement from their head coach.

As Danny Ainge pointed out in a recent conversation with WBUR, Stevens was clearly not a happy person at times last season as he tried to fit the pieces of a complicated puzzle together. Those efforts led to uncharacteristic losses and lackluster efforts over the course of the rollercoaster campaign, culminating in an embarrassing final defeat to the Bucks in the second round of the postseason.

“I mean, I think we all know what kind of weight as far as just the way that we ended as a team,” Stevens admitted. “And we didn’t play as well as we had hoped. And I’ve said this many times: That starts with me. So it was my job to do a better job of getting ready, and I think we’ll be better as far as the important stuff. And then we’ll find out how good we can be as time moves on.”

While the expectations are understandably lower after so much talent departed, a number of obstacles from last year have been largely removed. Catering to Irving on and off the floor no longer has to be worried about. Guys in contract years (Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris) have moved on. An underdog group with a strong work ethic is seemingly back together and those are the type of teams that Stevens has done his best work with at the college and pro level over the past 15 years.

Team sources told BostonSportsJournal.com that there have been more players around the practice facility all