I truly believe in Brad Stevans but in carving up the team for his master plan Danny seems to have cut a vital nerve; seemingly, the heart and soul of the Celtics with his trades - let's face it something happen in that locker room with Courtney Lee trade and the excusing of Keith Bogans. This vital nerve was the IDENTITY of not just the Celtics but the IDENTITY of Brad Stevans. I buy to scrappy little Hoosier mentality - Let's win one for all the schools like us - but Gene Hackman did not have Danny Ainge over his shoulder playing Whosville as in, who is going to be here, in his grand master plan. The live-in-the-moment incremental progress of little things to for an eventual tsunami of big results do not jive with Whosville. The NBA has changed there is no longer any patience with the typical five year programs - with magic being produced in year five, courtesy of friends in high places (sorry Kevin McHale).
The Celtics were sitting 12 - 14 - with the coaches and the teams Identity starting to jell - and then the almost trade of Lee and Bradon Bass for Omer Asik started "some-bad-odor" that not even the prophets of old discern. During that time there were reports that Lee challenged Brad about his playing time in a particular game, and while we know of Gerald Wallace's comments, the excusing of "good-locker-room-guy" Keith Bogans seems to have rattled the organization to protect their young "soon-to-be-elite"coach. Lastly seeing Brad praise Marshon Brooks, who still might be a legit player, no longer on our transitional team, might be ok, if in fact we were definitely keeping the people ahead of him.
In my opinion, getting tossed from the game, in Sacramento, was the best thing he could have done to salvage his "street creds" with NBA players; and I for one, have not joined my Celtics fanatics in criticizing Gerald Wallace's various comments, as I thought he has been spot on with each one, including the last - Brad getting tossed ... "happy for him ... welcome to the NBA" ... interpreted .... "Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore". Brad also witnessed the fickle nature of the situation - fans and management - as they lavished praise on Doc Rivers on his return - as they screamed "fire Doc" in the last year before the ship was righted. Brad the inmates are growing restless; this isn't your father's NBA - the honeymoon's are short-lived.
Although this is a superstar league - and we recognize our superstar Rajon Rondo has obvious reasons to be on his best behavior - this is also a grizzled veteran league; guys who have paid dues, and fit in key roles that actually help make championship teams. This is not a league of a bunch of mid-major - Hoosierville - college types not making it to the next level that simply can muster nerve and sinew to win one for the Gipper. The unwritten code is that the NBA stands for No Boys Allowed and even college coaches have to understand that. There is real money - contracts - involved and men who know their careers are short, and real paydays, shorter. Rick Pitino couldn't even get his Kentucky guys on the Celtics to press full court for forty eight minutes; why would Brad think that the "process" he talked about would not include the different psyche of the NBA player - yes guards rebounding is good, but Avery is in a contract year and at some point after something happen with Lee - his pal - he started to become and "chucker" and now we see Jeff Green chucking to at least show his critics that he is being aggressive.
Although Doc, in my view is now an elite coach, even Danny Ainge stated that having Gary Payton in the locker room was difficult for Doc. In my opinion, somewhere in the Courtney Lee and Keith Bogans ordeal, something happen and Brad Stevans starting losing the team in whatever he was serving up. I hadn't thought of it before, but I did some checking and it seems to me that Danny went on the offensive in his commentary, to perhaps protect his young coach; he came out with all sorts of comments picking and choosing which players he wanted to see development from; he openly shared his view about Jeff Green; the contract details about Bradley came out; showing support for Humphries; Sully getting benched and then re-inserted; even Rondo now seems to be auditioning his three-point skills. This on top of Bradon Bass pledging his loyalty to the team and Lee sharing how Brad has broken down game film to show how he can be effective. SOMETHING HAPPEN !!!! Point is, something was percolating and all of sudden we not only lose eight straight, but many of those games we simply gave up on - something was missing. We stopped being the scrappy-little-team-that-could; stopped defending the three; stop playing defense, looking lost. Courtney Lee never challenged Doc like and somehow players felt emboldened to speak their minds. Rajon on his chior-boy sabbatical and the natives circling the wagons like Flies around their new Lord.
Danny might have a master-plan, and might get rid of all the current players, there are limits, not if, but when, the current players start whispering - and while I do not a sense of it yet, this team is not playing hard for their current coach. Philadelphia is on their THIRD Rebuild of the Rebuilding; the have simply replaced lottery players with other lottery players with Thaddeus Young being called a vet when he was a key piece two years ago; it is sad with such a player is sitting at the deadline feeling hurt that he was not traded with his pals - Hawes, Turner, and before then Holiday - they were once the core. I look at Orlando, Utah, and Phoenix, and they play hard every night; they have vets on their teams that are virtually saying the same thing out vets are saying - Richard Jefferson saying he wants to play for a team with eyes on a championship, while the coach says that is what we are trying to do. They are playing hard for their coach and buying what he is selling. Losing to the Lakers, Kings, and Suns showed me that the players and the coach are disconnected and my hope that it comes to an end last night with Brad Stevans being ejected. Is Green, Bass, Hump, Bayless playing for Brad or their next situation. This point might be moot, as they could all be gone, but I think it matter how Brad proceeds in the next month or so as this is now his test - what is saying to these guys, what are his post-game interviews like etc. etc. - Veterans are Watching. Street Creds matter; regardless of the father-son tough love Doc gave Big Baby, it looks like he wooing and will sign his former young brat who is now a grizzled veteran; and although KG made Baby cry when he was not being accountable, he tried to get him in Brooklyn for the stretch run. Brad, a student of history, sees the tribute the "players-coach" Doc got in the face of possibly betrayal, he must hear the cold-war still brewing with Allen and his former team, Tony Allen, and know Courtney Lee, Crawford and Brooks.
Being ejected against the lowly Kings when the game was no longer in question hardly seem like what some coaches intentionally get ejected for; no this was not Jim Boehiem, losing his head in the final second with an egregious call against CJ Fair in the Duke game. This who saw his team in two games against lowly teams - Lakers and Kings - lose a lead - no, let go of the rope. Who has the power changes fast in this league and not to prosecute an old war, but Sheldon Mack and Gordon Hayward, at some point are not credible character witnesses to NBA Veterans - as Gordon is doing his best Jeff Green - tanking FG% and all - trying to simply get his max deal.
Brad cannot simply talk about the progress being made, for we really do not see it and shortly, in my opinion, the calls about being another talented college coach would be starting to come out; but most importantly, Brad just went through a trading season, and now are seeing veterans who now make a difference, speak their minds about where they want to and not want to go - See Danny Granger and Thaddeus Young saying - are you kidding me; Not that this should matter to Brad now, but players talk and whatever Brad is talking about is being heard by the Bradley's, the Bass', the Green's, etc. etc. that might be out there soon and will play character witness for Danny and Brad, when Danny no longer has chips and the needed vets or free agents have their say. Pretty soon, Brad will have a tangible NBA record, with a player perspective on him, and the little hoosierville stories will glaze over; and he will have to start having to re-answer the questions about college coaches ability to transition to the next level.
My thinking is that Brad is a smart coach and it is time for him to be properly introduced to the NBA and understand what fires up "vets" to take the hill. It could be Jeff Van Gundy holding onto Alonzo Mourning leg in a melee; or the classic Doc and Pop speeches in time-outs; or it could be the quotable Stan Van Gundy, but he needs his mojo. We thought it could be the ICEMAN, but you have to actually deliver results to show that you have ICE in your veins.
If indeed his "act" is the ICEMAN he needs to show it in the last twenty five or so games, so that the grizzled vets here and those ones traded, are brought in; exhibit A, look at what has happen in Detroit once Joe Dumars broke up the band; they had a new coach every season. I am not saying that will happen here, but Danny is not going to have six years or even two years to talk about the two Final Four appearances. Times have changed, coaches and GMs are being let go, with plus 55 win teams - who would ever think a GM gets fired and the team does better (without changing players). Instead of dangling every player out there - see Ma, I can trade Jordan Crawford and Marshon Brook, get assets, and still re-sign them in the summer; or Rondo now talking about the annoyance of trade talks and being intrigued by free agency - what comes around, goes around.
No Brad is smart and he now sees that that he has to do the secret handshake of what NBA veterans value - my coach going to bat for me - and distance himself a tad, as I think Doc came to realize, from the gamesmanship of the Danny who's job is protect the ugly and impersonal side of "it is a business". Doc practically cried over each trade; letting his players know I am here for you, I love you, you are like a son to me. The gosh-darn-are-their-any-more-of-you-for-my daughter, has to be shed for some street creds. For not ever being thrown out of game, what wonders exactly what he said - maybe a side deal - but, he I think he is thankful for his little black eye. Gerald Wallace and the other vets are going to be on the lookout for his demeanor from here on out that might be the difference on whether he make it.
I think Brad has all the goods to be Elite, but as I have stated before, he is one of our Lotteries, and I fear that he needs to look after his own development as it is different than what Danny is doing and what his players are starting to do on the court. The ICEMAN does need to be in Siberia to learn this lesson.