I’ve been a fan of Brad Stevens since he was the Coach at Butler. I love a true underdog story and in the game ruled by big names, Brad Stevens was a glimmer of hope for many of today’s college coaches looking to compete with the Kryzewski’s and Boeheim’s. When he was hired to coach the Celtics, I was a little skeptical. One difference between college and The NBA is that it’s a star league. At Butler, Stevens recruited his type of players and built a system around their strengths. In the NBA, he does not have that kind of control over who he has on his team and there is always the buy-in issue. Would these high profile athletes buy into Brad Stevens and his way of running a team? In his five years coaching in the NBA, Brad Stevens has not only overcome the struggles most college coaches face when making the jump to the NBA, he has also ascended to one of the best Coaches in the entire league. I’m going to give five reasons why he should be this year’s Coach of the Year.
- He does the most with very little
Even with the number of injuries that have kept key players out, Brad Stevens has kept the Celtics afloat by focusing on the playing smart and fundamental basketball. He’s adjusted well to not having a full roster and has focused on playing disciplined defense and maximizing opportunities on offense.
2. His attention to detail is unmatched
He knows the strengths and weaknesses of all of his players and is able to develop a game-plan to utilize those strengths. His ability to make in-game adjusts are also one of the things that makes him one of the best coaches in the NBA. He has a real feel for the game and his instincts are second to none.
3. Player development
Much like Greg Popovich, player development is one of Brad Stevens strongest attributes. He does a really good job of finding players who are versatile and then preparing for the situations if they are needed to step up. This article details how big player development is and why it should no surprise why players like Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown have risen to the moment this postseason.
4. The system is not dependent on players
The Celtics are one game away from consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearances after inheriting a completely new roster. After the trades the Celtics made that saw the departure of Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, and Avery Bradley, many thought the Celtics would take a huge step back, especially defensively. The core that just made it to the conference finals the year prior no longer was there. Two of their best defenders gone…how would they adapt? This season, the Celtics defense actually looked better. That’s a testament to the fundamentals Brad Stevens teaches on both ends. He hasn’t re-invented the wheel, just reminded people how it works.
5. Best play caller in the game
I can’t think of a better play caller than Coach Stevens. This ties in with his attention to detail, understanding teams schemes and strategies on defense and drawing up plays to exploit weaknesses and they’re able to get easy scores. The two plays versus the 76ers are prime examples of what I’m referring to and are big reasons why they won that game to go up 3-0 in the series.
Both of these well-designed plays took advantage of the Sixers tendency to switch on the screens and also drew Joel Embiid away from the rim. Brad Stevens give the Celtics a chance to win by putting them in great situations to score, despite who is playing.
*Update* It was announced that Dwane Casey was voted Coach of the Year by the NBCA. Brad Stevens did not receive a single first-place vote.