I've been impressed with Brad Stevens this season but of course I'm a little bit biased. He's had heaps of praise put on him from coaches all around the league, but it was always possible that folks were just being nice because he's a nice guy and coaches like to look out for their own.
So it is especially nice to have those feelings validated by a group of objective 3rd parties. ESPN's rankings extended to head coaches and Stevens ranked 11th. That means that with just under a year of experience at the NBA level, he's already better than 18 other coaches (by this ranking). Not too shabby, especially considering their lowly place in the standings.
Stevens is the first coach on the list of a non-playoff team and you won't find the next until Minnesota's Rick Adelman at No. 17. Stevens scored higher than some playoff-bound coaches like Toronto's Dwane Casey (12) and Houston's Kevin McHale (13). Stevens ability to land high on the list reflects not only what he accomplished at the college level, but what he's been able to do in a loss-filled season. Boston has only won 23 games, but has been competitive in most of its games this season.
Again, ESPN's arbitrary rankings are just food for discussion. They don't really mean anything. However, I'm going to take it as a validation of what I've already perceived.
Also, when it comes to rebuilding and perhaps even attracting free agents, we've got high marks in coaching, front office, and ownership. Not to mention a big market city and tradition and history to spare. It's good to be a Celtic fan, even in hard seasons like this one.