Celtics have their man
By A. SHERROD BLAKELY
BOSTON – When the coaching carousel begins spinning, there’s no telling where things will stand when all is said and done.
While this offseason has seen its share of unexpected firings, there has been a fairly common thread among most of the new hires – they came from the coaching class of 2013.
That year there were nine newly hired coaches, including the Celtics' Brad Stevens. Of those nine, five have since been fired . . . which seems way too soon to kick a coach to the curb.
There were a number of other NBA teams that agreed with me.
That’s why of the five coaches fired from that class, four (Mike Malone, now with the Denver Nuggets; Jason Kidd, now with the Milwaukee Bucks; Dave Joerger, now with the Sacramento Kings, and most recently Jeff Hornacek, now with the New York Knicks) have been hired since then to coach another NBA team.
Opposing players and coaches have been fairly consistent in their praise of Stevens and the job he has done with the Celtics. It’s not unusual to hear fellow coaches give props to one of their own, but it is definitely not business as usual to hear opposing players dole out the compliments the way they do for Stevens.
There has been more than one occasion when Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas has been in a huddle, saw a play drawn up by Brad Stevens and thought, ‘There’s no way this will work!’, only to see it come together and succeed a few moments later. Stevens has proven to be one of the league’s best at managing games and is seemingly at his best when it comes to drawing up plays out of time outs. Having a coach who counts as a strength an ability to make the right call in late-game situations, is something every team wants.
Regardless of how big a play or moment in a game might appear to be, you’ll rarely get a rise out of Brad Stevens. His level-headed, even-keeled demeanor has gradually seeped into the DNA of his players who admittedly are trying to be like Brad as much as possible. But staying cool in all kinds of basketball climates is something players admit is easier said than done which only makes Stevens’ steely demeanor all the more impressive.
Player trust, development
As much as winning games is about having talent that comes together at the right time, trust is just as important a component when it comes to success. Despite having been in the NBA for a short period of time while having a relatively new cast of players each season, Stevens has managed to get his guys to believe in him at times when there were so many forces outside telling them otherwise. It has created a bond among his players and in doing so, has been a vital cog in their individual as well as collective growth. It’s the kind of thing that becomes part of your foundation, the kind of foundation that has to be part of the journey towards becoming one of the game’s elite teams.