Like many members of the Celtics organization last season, Brad Stevens had a tough time living up to lofty expectations.
After leading the Celtics to the brink of the NBA Finals without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, Stevens was lauded as one of the best coaches in the league. Some even debated how many NBA stars they'd start a franchise with over Stevens, and the list was surprisingly short. As great as Stevens is at building a healthy locker room culture and maximizing players' strengths, the Celtics were plagued by chemistry issues both on and off the court.
Kyrie Irving may have had a lot to do with the off-court issues, while Gordon Hayward's slower-than-expected recovery from his ankle injury caused many on-court inconsistencies. But usually, when teams don't play up to their potential, the blame falls squarely on the coach.
While Stevens put the blame on himself after the season ended, Danny Ainge said his head coach was, "the least to blame by far" for the Celtics' shortcomings in 2018-19. What about the players? Has Stevens' reputation taken a hit after seemingly failing to integrate the personalities of a loaded roster?
Jared Dudley, a 12-year NBA veteran said he's, "heard nothing but good things" about Stevens in response to a question on Twitter.
One of the best X and O’s in the game.. players coach but not afraid to try all types of lineups... Rewards playing time by playing smart but Hard.. heard only good things https://t.co/2PgCNqm1FC— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) June 22, 2019
The full story of what happened to the Celtics last season has not been told yet, but it doesn't seem like Stevens was Boston's main concern.
Dudley has expressed interest in joining the Celtics once free agency begins on June 30 and now that Aron Baynes has been traded and Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are likely gone, Boston could use Dudley's veteran presence to help mentor the young stars tasked with leading the team now. And don't forget, Dudley has a well-known feud with Philadelphia's Ben Simmons.
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