Celtics: Brad Stevens is his team’s coach of year

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Celtics: Brad Stevens is his team’s coach of year

Post by bobheckler on Sun May 28, 2017 2:59 pm

http://www.telegram.com/sports/20170527/celtics-brad-stevens-is-his-teams-coach-of-year



Celtics: Brad Stevens is his team’s coach of year



Posted May 27, 2017 at 5:58 PM
Updated May 27, 2017 at 6:25 PM




By Bill Doyle
Telegram & Gazette Staff

WALTHAM — Isaiah Thomas can’t believe that Brad Stevens isn’t one of the three finalists for NBA Coach of the Year.

A panel of sportswriters selected three-time winner Gregg Popovich of San Antonio, 2005 Coach of the Year Mike D’Antoni of Houston and Erik Spoelstra of Miami as the finalists and overlooked Stevens.


“It’s BS,” Thomas said Friday during his exit interview at the Celtics’ practice facility. “I was thinking about it the other day. Like we’re the No. 1 seed in the East, and everybody in the world thinks we were half as talented as anybody in the NBA. It’s weird he’s not in the conversation. I don’t know. That’s crazy.”

D’Antoni coached the Rockets to a 55-27 record, an improvement of 14 victories over the previous season when Kevin McHale and J.B. Bickerstaff coached the team. Popovich is the best coach in the league and received recognition for guiding the Spurs to a 61-21 record the year after Tim Duncan retired. Spoelstra coached the Heat to a 30-11 record in the second half of the season after an 11-30 start, but Miami still finished only 41-41 and missed the playoffs.

The winner will be announced on TNT on June 26.

Stevens coached the Celtics to a 53-29 record and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

“He should definitely be in the running,” Thomas said, “and if you ask anybody in this league, he should definitely probably be the Coach of the Year.”

Maybe not everyone in the NBA would agree with Thomas, but just about everyone on the Celtics would.

Avery Bradley has played for all four of Stevens’ seasons as coach of the Celtics while the team has improved from 25-57 to 40-42 to 48-34 to 53-29.


“He’s definitely grown over these years,” Bradley said, “and it’s impressive to see someone come from college and not be cocky and feel like he knows everything. From day one, he’s been one to learn and open to anything to help him become better and our team get to where we want it to be. So I appreciate him for that. And like I said, I’m lucky to have a chance to play for Brad Stevens.”

Bradley didn’t want to name any of them, but he appreciates that Stevens has invited guest speakers to address the team.

“As NBA players,” Bradley said, “you can always be dealing with stuff outside of basketball, but because of the platform that we’re put on and the pedestal, in a way you almost forget that we’re human, too. So sometimes it’s good to have someone to talk to. And for Brad to give us that opportunity, at least bring somebody that can help us, it meant a lot to me because it shows us he really cares about us outside of basketball.”

Bradley smiled when asked to name the biggest difference in Stevens from his first year coaching the Celtics to now.

“I know this sounds weird,” he replied, “but I think his anger. I think it helps us because he was so nice his first year, it was like, ‘Come on, Coach. Yell at somebody.’ But yeah, it’s just a good feeling. We respect him so much, and we know that he wants the best for us. And he’s always going to make sure he holds us accountable because of that.”

Stevens still rarely shows his emotions, but at times, he lets the officials and his players know that he’s upset.

“It’s good,” Kelly Olynyk said. “Because he doesn’t show it or demonstrate anger all the time, when he does it’s a powerful tool. He’s been able to use it, and it’s helped us know what’s going on — take things in a little more. He’s been great. His positivity is always there. His outlook and character is unbelievable, and it really shines through to the team.”


Gerald Green didn’t play much during the regular season, but Stevens didn’t give up on him and started him seven times in the postseason. The Celtics won five of those seven games. Green rated this Celtics team as slightly better than his 2013 Indiana team that lost to LeBron James and the Heat in seven games in the conference finals.

“Coaching-wise, it’s definitely better,” Green said.

Frank Vogel coached that Indiana team.

Stevens will spend the offseason trying to figure out a way to beat James and the Cavs in the postseason next season. So what do the Celtics need to do in order to beat Cleveland?

“They play a unique style,” Bradley said, “but the best answer for that is we’ll find out against Golden State what it takes.”




bob
MY NOTE:  Yes, there is some cognitive dissonance, pointed out here by Thomas.  All year people have been running us down.  They said we were the worst #1 seed ever.  They thought Chicago winning the first two in Boston was evidence of that.  They picked Washington to beat us.  Well, either we are a team of good but not great players who overachieved and made it to the Conference Finals only because of the coaching staff, and therefore Brad should be a finalist for COY, or we're an uber-talented team who made it to the Conference Finals despite our coach and lost only because our uber-talented was injured.  Pick one.


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