Was Brad Stevens out-coached by the Bucks?

Jared Wickerham

Hey, let's play Jump To Conclusions! (or maybe let's not)

We are two games into the season (which nobody has any expectations for) but Brad Stevens is already being questioned for his choices.  Gary Washburn of the Globe had some not-so-flattering words for Stevens in his article today.

Celtics came up short in home opener - Sports - The Boston Globe

The Bucks found a liability. They picked on rookie Vitor Faverani, using experienced Zaza Pachulia to score at will, and Stevens made no adjustments to force the Bucks to shoot from the perimeter. The game lasted too long for Stevens on this evening. He expected his guys to finish off the game as they started and they couldn’t. Brandon Bass and Jeff Green were a combined 0-for-9 shooting in the fourth quarter.

...

It's confounding what the Celtics are doing through the first two games. MarShon Brooks has not played but is capable of boosting the bench scoring. Kris Humphries was stellar in his short stint in Toronto and would have given Pachulia some resistance, but did not play Friday.

Without a true point guard, Stevens opted for Wallace to play point forward and initiate the offense, which failed miserably.

Obviously the Bucks made some adjustments and the Celtics did not react all that well to them.  Sullinger even admits that when the Bucks switched to a hybrid-zone defense, the weren't sure what to do with it.

Sullinger: Zone defense 'caught us off guard' | Comcast SportsNet - CSNNE.com

"It caught us off guard more than anything," said Boston's Jared Sullinger. "We kind of just caught the ball and held it, trying to figure out what they were in. After the first pass, it seemed like they were in man-to-man. And as soon as you got to the top of the key, it goes back into a zone so it kind of threw us off. We'll know next time."

With that said, I'm not sure you can lay all this on the coach's feet.  His team is limited, especially without Rondo.  I'm not sure if Doc Rivers or Red Auerbach himself could have kept that team from collapsing last night.   And I'm not sure we can question the rotations of a guy that has stated very clearly that he's going to experiment with the rotations and see what works and what doesn't.  You can't tell me with a straight face that MarShon Brooks and Kris Humprhies are the answer to all the Celtics woes.

Once again, the overarching goals for this team are different.  Yes, they are trying to win every game, but they are also trying to figure out how to win games later.  That means working through things and seeing what works and what doesn't.

Is it possible that Stevens could have done better?  Of course.  He's learning on the job.  But is it fair to point the finger at him for this team's struggles?  I don't think so.  Let's give him a better roster and a little more time before we judge him too harshly.  Doc Rivers was a "horrible coach" before he got KG and Ray and became a "great coach."

Time will tell what legacy Stevens has, and he's got a 6 year deal to establish his legacy.  I think I'm willing to give him a pass after his second game.

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