- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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TORONTO -- You know the drill by know: Even in the final hours leading up to his NBA coaching debut, icy cool Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens isn't battling any butterflies.
"The task is big enough, I’m just focused on that," Stevens said outside the Celtics' locker room at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday morning before his team's morning shootaround in advance of the season-opener against the Raptors. "I’m sure I’ll feel a little bit [of nerves] at the beginning of the game, but, no, it’s a typical shootaround before a game. Obviously, any time you play the first game of a season, there’s some anxiousness to get the season going, and I’m sure our guys feel that way -- and certainly coaches. Anybody involved in that would feel that way."
But the most important thing to Stevens at the moment is the 45 minutes he'll spend with his team on the floor trying to ensure they are ready for Toronto.
"We need 45 minutes this morning," said Stevens. "We’ll get [to the game] when we get there. And I think we’re all excited to get there. Every day when you play there’s a lot that leads up to it, a lot of studying that leads up to it. We still have a little bit of work to do before game time."
Stevens was asked what he wants to see from his team in shootaround.
"Focus. It’s not going to be a physical, taxing thing," said Stevens. "It’s going to be just focus, just readiness, you can see it in a team’s eyes when they are ready to play in a shootaround. I will say this: Some of the best teams I’ve coached had to go through an hour shootaround and some of them didn’t have to do anything -- you just find that out through the course of the year, you won’t know any of those answers until later on. You have to be flexible in your approach in this league, because you don’t get a lot of time, sometimes you don’t get a shootaround, you don’t get a walk-through. At the end of the day, it’s just about being ready yourself and making sure you’re as engaged in the opponent as possible."
One thing Stevens wouldn't tip his hand on: the starting 5.
"We’ll go through this, then we’ll figure it out," he said. "I’ll let you know before the game."
7dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann