Brad Stevens is a rookie head coach with a subpar 14-27 record, but he has still been praised for the job he has done developing the young talent on the Boston Celtics. On the other hand, some may look at his record so far and think that he hasn't lived up to the hype.
To report on the State of the Celtics, I asked our team of writers six questions about the season so far. In the third part of our series, I asked:
How would you grade Brad Stevens' performance as head coach so far?
Master Po: C
His job is to rebuild this team over a period of years. It's hard to judge a builder of a new house when the house hasn't been framed yet, and no concrete foundation has even been poured for the house to be built upon. The only thing we have right now is a big hole in the ground with more losses than wins. I am not going to judge builder (Brad) when the only thing I can see is the hole in the ground where the house is supposed to be built. Danny is the architect and as you know, I am not very fond of his architectural drawings in many cases. With that said, I would give Brad a C....as in " We will C how he does once the foundation is set and the walls are framed on a new Celtic house.
B for Brad, I suppose. Stevens has impressed me in his rookie year as the Boston Celtics head coach, as he has begun to establish a winning identity within the team, despite losing. This has come as no surprise to me, considering I expected him to be the NBA's next great head coach when he was hired. When I watch the Celtics, I see a team that hustles and doesn't give up when they're down. This comes from a coach that preaches the right things and respects his players. The only thing preventing this from being a higher grade, is that I think Coach Stevens has to stick up for his players a little bit more when a bad call is made. I'd like to see Stevens pick up a technical at some point this season, to, at the least, "prove" to his players that he'll stand up for them in the heat of the battle. This is minor though.
I'd grade Brad's performance thus far a B+. The only reason I don't want to give him an A, is that I reckon we could've won a couple more close games, and that's always at least partly on the coach. However, playing Jordan Crawford as much as he did got us some nice potential first-rounders which is paramount for rebuilding, and he's been able to make the most of our team's wealth of developing youngsters.
Alex Skillin: A-
I'd give Brad Stevens an A- for his coaching performance so far. It isn't fair to judge him by the team's won-loss record (Danny Ainge isn't, after all), and the team's effort has been solid throughout the season. There have been some bumps in the road, but Stevens has held this young group together very well despite some distractions off the court (Gerald Wallace being the main culprit here). In my opinion, the fact he has been able to coax a top-10 defense out of this roster speaks volumes to his ability. All in all, I'm guessing Stevens has learned a lot in his first few months as coach, and in my book, he has shown he is one of the better young coaches in the league.
Jay Asser: A-
I'll give Brad Stevens an A- because he's done everything he could possibly do in this situation. He didn't have his top player and went into games without the one or two best players on the court, yet Boston still has been competitive and players continue to improve. He was the Jordan Crawford whisperer and turned a wildcard into a solid point guard. Most importantly, he has the respect and attention of his assistant coaches and players, especially Rondo, and that can't be understated for a new coach that came straight from college. So far, so good.
Jeff Clark: A
I'll give him a solid A. The team has been up, down, and all around so far this season, but his calming presence keeps the emotions of everyone on an even keel. There have been moments when I could imagine another team under another coach getting out of hand, but so far that hasn't happened here. Plus he has them competing hard every game, which says a lot about how they've bought into his style. So far, so good.
Tim MacLean: A+
F ... Just kidding. Brad Stevens gets an A+ in my mind due to the way he carries himself both on and off the court. This is a guy who has yet to say the wrong thing to the media, hasn't gotten too high or too low on his guys, and just refuses to lay down and quit no matter how far up or down his team is on the scoreboard. What makes him such a special coach is his humility. He won an NCAA record 166 games in his first six years at Butler, an amazing accomplishment, yet he probably doesn't even think about that. In his mind, he's 14-27. He's done nothing and he knows it. But he continues to learn, work, and better himself as a coach. He's perfect for this franchise and I look forward to seeing what he can do with it for the next six years and, perhaps, beyond.