DEDHAM, Mass. — Fielding the first of what will be an endless stream of rotation and lineup questions leading up to the start of the 2014-15 regular season, Boston Celtics second-year coach Brad Stevens attempted a preemptive strike.

“The funny part is that I’m sure most [reporters] will be put in a position where you have to name our starting lineup and our rotation. Put it down in pencil,” Stevens cautioned Tuesday when asked how the team’s center depth chart is shaping up. “If you go through it, like really go through it and put yourself in my shoes, there’s about 150 different variations of [five-man lineups] that you could go with — more so than last year and I thought last year we were pretty hard to figure out. It’s been a fun puzzle to think about and it’s going figure itself out when we start practice.”

With a handful of new faces, including two rookie first-round picks and some NBA-tested offseason acquisitions, and competition at multiple spots, Stevens kindly hinted that the team will use training camp and the preseason to explore all potential lineup possibilities.

Rookie Marcus Smart, the sixth pick in June’s draft, ought to compete immediately for guard minutes while backing up a projecting starting combo of Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. The team will have incentive to showcase offseason additions like Marcus Thornton and Evan Turner, while second-year ball-handler Phil Pressey will be looking to maintain his spot in the rotation.

Turner should also vie for minutes as the swingman spot, where Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace (assuming full health after knee and ankle surgery cut short his 2013-14 season) top the depth chart (Chris Johnson is also there if the team keeps him around despite his nonguaranteed contract). Things might be even more crowded at power forward …read more