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Practicing what the Brad Stevens preaches; focusing on the progress

The Celtics aren’t as bad as they looked against the Magic. They might not be as good as they looked against the Pistons, least not yet.

Boston Celtics Media Day Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The sky is falling, the sky is falling, the Celtics lost to the Magic!

We’re back baby, everything is back on track and we’re headed to the NBA Finals!

You know the drill by now. Media and fan reactions to the local sports teams can leave you feeling the effects of mental whiplash.

On one hand, I tend to err more on the optimistic side. I was preaching patience after the Magic loss and (only half jokingly) predicted the comeback against the Thunder. So the 2nd statement above is a more natural fit to my normal mentality. However, I have to check my own euphoria sometimes.

You see, I’m trying to abide by the Brad Stevens code of conduct. Don’t get too high over a win or too low after a loss. Take it day by day and focus on the progress rather than the short term results. Stevens has always been this way.

via SBNation

“When I first got the job at Butler somebody told me, ‘Just be yourself.’ Don’t try to be the guys before you because they were successful, just try to be who you are and be comfortable with that,” he says. “What I’ve felt like if being myself isn’t good enough, cool. I’m going to do it as well as I can and that’s that. It allows you to sleep at night. It doesn’t get you flying over the clouds when you win. It doesn’t freak you out when you lose, it keeps you in that spot. I want to win. I want to win when I’m playing Scrabble. There’s nothing I want to see more than the 18th banner. But I know how far away that is because it’s a day to day process.”

That quote was from back in 2015. The team is a lot closer to their overall goal, but the way to get there is to maintain that same approach.

I’m not telling anyone how to be a fan. Far be it for me to impose any moral guidelines for something as personal and subjective as the way you go about rooting for your favorite team. But my unsolicited advice is to keep everything in perspective (including things like small-sample-sizes and the length of time between now and June).

Our next object lesson could come on Tuesday as the Pistons come to town. Yes, the Celtics just throttled them on their own court on Saturday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the result will be the same tomorrow.

The Pistons (who were previously undefeated) are going to want to get immediate revenge. Andre Drummond is still going to be a matchup problem and you would imagine that they’ll find ways to get Blake Griffin more involved. If the Celtics fall back into their long-2’s or miss a lot of 3’s, they could be right back to where they were last week. On the flipside, the Celtics did pretty well with Kyrie Irving contributing just 3 points and one has to imagine that he’ll snap out of that at some point. We’ll see though.

It can’t be a huge surprise that this team has taken some time to get on the same page offensively. Putting a lot of talent on the floor at the same time has always created some level of sorting out. But the talent on this team is so adaptable and flexible that it was always just a matter of time before it worked out.

The last 6 quarters would seem to be an indication that they are moving in the right direction. But that’s just a small sample size as well. They have to continue that progress into the next game and the next and so on.

One day at a time, one game at a time, always with the end goal in sight. At least that’s how I’m trying to approach things. Feel free to freak out as you see fit.

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