At just 41, Brad Stevens already has an impressive track record as a head coach. In his five years as head coach of the Boston Celtics, he has won Eastern Conference Coach of the Month three times. He coached the Eastern Conference All-Stars in the 2017 All-Star Game. This season will stand out. Brad Stevens Coach of the Year is a phrase we should expect to hear real soon.
The meteoric rise of the Boston Celtics under Stevens has been remarkable. He’s gotten production out of players that average fans have never heard of. He’s dealt with massive roster turnover multiple times in his five years in charge. Stevens has brought the Celtics to points that most fans weren’t expecting for years to come.
He had great success during his six years as head coach of the Butler Bulldogs. Stevens won three Horizon League championships and took Butler to the Final Four in 2010 and 2011, as a five and eight seed respectively.
Often times college coaches struggle to make the transition to the pros, but Stevens has done so brilliantly.
The Celtics went 41-40 the season before Stevens took over and were on the verge of trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the middle of a squad rebuild. The Celtics won only 25 games in Stevens’ first season.
Stevens’ win total would increase from 40 in 2014-15, to 48 in 2015-16, and in 2016-17 he won 53 games, good enough for first place in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics would lose in the EC Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers that season.
At the beginning of the 2017-2018 season, the Celtics were expected to compete for an NBA Championship. They acquired Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward and drafted Jayson Tatum number three overall in the midst of replacing 11 players from the 16-17 roster.
Hayward played five minutes in the season opener before breaking his leg. Sixth man Marcus Smart played only 54 games and is questionable to return this postseason. Irving played 60 games, had two knee surgeries and is done for the season.
Abdel Nader and Shane Larkin have played 43 and 50 games respectively averaging over 10 minutes/game each. Daniel Theis (before his injury) and Semi Ojeleye have averaged about 15 minutes/game in 63 and 68 games each.
Tatum has started 77 games in his rookie season and is the team’s third highest scorer with just under 14 PPG. Aron Baynes started 62 of the 76 games he has played in.
Amid all the adversity faced this season, Brad Stevens has led this team further than most had hoped after Hayward’s injury in game one.
-The Boston Celtics have won 54 games this season. They were in contention for the top spot in the Eastern Conference until the final days of the regular season.
-The Celtics went on a 16-game winning streak after starting the season 0-2.
-They won 13 games when trailing by 11 or more points in a game this season.
-The Celtics finished better than the Cavaliers and will finish with the fourth best record in the NBA.
He’s arguably more valuable than any one player given what he’s been able to accomplish. With playoff expectations practically gone, Stevens’ case for Coach of the Year has nothing to lose during the 17-18 postseason.
Don’t think Brad Stevens is worthy of NBA Coach of the Year this season? Then who? Let me know @PerSources_JP on twitter or comment below.