Celtics

Perkins wonders if Brad Stevens has 'lost' Celtics' locker room

Celtics

As the losses pile up in Boston, so do the questions about what's plaguing the Celtics this season.

The C's dropped a heartbreaker to Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night to fall to 15-16 on the season and 3-7 in their last 10 games. They're just 0.5 games ahead of the No. 8 seed Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference and haven't had this bad of a record at this point in the season since 2015.

So, who deserves blame for the team's massive underachievement to date? Former Celtic Kendrick Perkins has head coach Brad Stevens on his list.

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"When it comes down to it, when guys are not competing and putting together 48 minutes, it has to circle back to Brad," Perkins said Tuesday night on Celtics Postgame Live.

"I'm watching other coaches go ballistic on the sideline when things aren't working out, when guys are missing defensive coverages or guys are not moving the ball. Brad is just so calm, and maybe that's his demeanor, but right now is not time to be calm."

Danny Ainge insisted last week that Stevens isn't part of Boston's problem, and that his players need to hold themselves accountable. But Perkins believes that accountability starts with the head coach. And after watching Tuesday's loss, the former big man wondered if Stevens was getting through to his players as much as he could be.

 

“I'm watching role players do things that role players on other teams don't do," Perkins said " ... (There's) just too much freedom for role players. They should not have that much freedom and be allowed to do certain things because they're probably not getting held accountable or Brad probably won't scream at them. Or, he probably has just lost the locker room.

"I'm not saying guys don't respect him. What I'm saying is that guys are not afraid of him. And at some point as a coach you've got to have that fear and that respect to know that guys won't try you in certain situations."

Celtics Talk Podcast: How to fix the Celtics with Sean Grande, plus Aaron Nesmith on earning Brad Stevens’ trust | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Stevens has found plenty of success with his coaching style in Boston. He's led the Celtics to three conference finals in the last four seasons and has more wins than all but three coaches in franchise history (Red Auerbach, Tommy Heinsohn and Doc Rivers).

Something clearly isn't clicking with Stevens and his team this season, however. The absence of team leader Marcus Smart and the poor play of Kemba Walker have contributed to the Celtics' struggles, but there's a big enough sample size to wonder if Stevens needs to make some coaching adjustments to try to get more out of his team.

The C's haven't reached the halfway point of their season yet, and they can quiet much of the noise by stringing a few wins together. If they continue to play like this, though, they'll continue to take criticism -- and Stevens won't be immune.