Brad Stevens has taken a more aggressive approach in his coaching style as the year has progressed.
Brad Stevens is finally getting the credit he deserves, though it hasn’t been easy leading up to this point.
Just 3 months ago, a flailing Celtics team lost many leads with fourth quarter meltdowns. The Celtics hit a season low 11-21 in January, a few weeks after trading their best player in Rajon Rondo.
Fast forward 3 months, and the surging Celtics stand at 30-36, winning 5 in a row, and 9 of their last 12. They are tied with Miami and Indiana for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
Many thought this would be another 2013-14 tank year. Not the case. You can’t help but respect this team for overcoming expectations, and a lot of credit goes to Stevens.
As the season has gone on, Stevens made adjustments, including becoming more aggressive. He is being more aggressive in how he handles his team when they do not play well. He is also much more assertive with referee staff and how games are called, letting refs hear about bad calls from the sidelines.
Stevens worked his magic since the all-star break. He has got the most out of his new roster, an inexperienced squad with a lack of elite talent, through terrific playing calling and mixing and matching lineups. He is a coach that disregards politics, by giving guys the playing time necessary to prove themselves in game situations. Players like Datome and Jerebko have a fair chance of contributing to this team, when on their previous teams, they could not find much playing time to contribute. Celtics players have also noted that Stevens is straight-forward with his players.
He’s focused on the task at hand- Playoffs. He always has been, since the start of the season. He was quick to put his team on blast early in the season if they weren’t playing up to expectations. He was also quick to admit he needed to coach his team better. The passion was always there early in the season, but the execution was not. Now that this team has turned it around, Stevens is saying all the right things, downplaying any talk of playoffs, only focusing on how his team plays.
It’s not certain the Celtics will get into the playoffs this year, but that doesn’t mean the season was a total loss. Playoffs or not, Stevens is proving himself as an elite NBA coach, and Celtics organization and its fan base should feel fortunate to have him as a coach for the next 4+ years. There will be a lot to look forward to.