Monday, June 7, 2021

A Look at Brad Stevens Impact

 All season people where saying Fire Brad! I have aways been hard on players and I have backed Stevens on multiple occasions. I think its importnat to look over Brad's eight years as the Celtics head coach to see how much impact he had. Let's start from the beginning.

An Impossible Start

In July of 2013 after Doc Rivers left for the Clippers, who saw the rebuild on the horizon, Danny Ainge hired a 37-year old college coach and handed him a what seemed like an ever evolving roster of 19 different players, including five rookies: Vander Blue (10 Career games), Vitar Faverani (37 Career Games), Chris Babb (14 Career Games), Phil Pressey (148 Career Games) and Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk was the only one to assemble any type of NBA career and if we are being honest is a really good role player. These guys were accompanied by 1st year players Chris Johnson (147 Career Games with five teams) and Jared Sullinger who never lived up to his potential and last played in China. 

Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Jared Sulinger, Kelly Olynyk and Phil Pressey were the only guys to play 70-games or more. There was no consistency in the lineup and no leaders on this team. Brad got the monkier early as a ATO (After Time Out) Wizard, where it seemed that every ATO play was a guaranteed bucket. This was also the only time Stevens would not make the playoffs in his eight year career with the Celtics.

Helping Players Succeed

And while that season was one to forget, it showed that he knew how to help players succeed, specifcially guards. It started with Jordan Crawford, who found a new zeal for the game.

This later could be said for Evan Turner, who had resurrected his career under Brad Stevens. And the crown jewel of exemplfying players stregths was Isaiah Thomas, who becames a 2-time All-star while in Boston, averaging 25.5 points and 6 assists after being acquired from Phoneix. 

Did anyone see the ascension of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown the last three years?

Playoff Bound

People said, "Players are tuning Brad out." Well, if that's true, do you think he would make it to three Eastern Conference Championship series? If you want to see a team who tuned out their coach, how about the Philadelphia 76ers under Brett Brown.

Brad went to the Eastern Conference finals with Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Al Horford, Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson as your starting five. Think about that for a minute.

The Future

Brad has a great basketball mind. He is smart, he has done with less than many coaches in this league. He has constantly put players in a position to succeed. And finding his replacement could possibly show how you shouldn't take what he has done for granted but rather appreciate it and hope whomever he brings in can do half the job he did while here. 

We will find out truly how he felt of the roster constructed this past year becasue as President of Basketball Operations, we will see who he truly believes can bring banner 18. This coming year will be a lot of pressure on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown assuming they are both here. Let's hope they emerge as more than great offensive players but  as true leaders. 

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