Why Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics are Set Up to Succeed


Oct 15, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens in the first quarter of pre-season game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics are obviously not going to the NBA Finals this season. There’s absolutely no hope for them to face the rival Miami Heat. Hell, should the Heat even be considered their rivals at this point? I would say no.

That ship has gone off to sea–or Brooklyn and Los Angeles. They lost three hall of fame team members over the summer. The knowledge of Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce is something that you just can’t reciprocate. They’re all major contributors to Boston Celtics history and should be recognized for that.

The Support of Brad Stevens

The Celtics have positioned themselves in a great way to move toward the future. Yes, they have multiple draft picks over the next two seasons. They can either draft and develop or trade those picks for productive players. In either case, they’ll put them to good use.

Outside of those picks, the Celtics have the coaching staff to get things done. This coaching staff could develop into one of the best in the NBA.

They’ve got tons of great minds and IQ on the staff–some with experience and some with none. Each coach comes into their position with a different experience and a different background. I think that’s exactly what head coach Brad Stevens wanted.

Stevens carefully chose his staff wisely throughout the offseason. There was no rush in his approach as he wanted to make sure that they were diverse and would all bring different perspectives to the table.

Stevens, an advanced stats monster, is going to do his best to bring a new, innovative perspective to the NBA. The transition from coaching NCAA basketball to coaching in the professional ranks has been a disastrous one for many coaches before. But Stevens has gotten the blessing off many of his peers. They think that he’s the perfect guy for the job.

"“I think the very terrific thing about Brad of what I know of him, Brad’s a guy who can relate to all different kinds of folks and he’s also very smart in terms of management,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. “I think at that level, it has a lot to do with how you manage your organization and your team, and I think Brad is wired for that in a very, very successful way.“I’m a college guy, but I’ve heard so many NBA people share thoughts and stories about how different it is. Different stories. Different dynamics. It’s quite different, but a sharp, smart guy, a terrific coach like Brad, I think is going to be able to pick it up and figure it out very quickly.”"

He’s also got the blessing of a hall of fame coach and a former Celtics coach in Rick Pitino. Stevens seems to be held in high regard all over the hoopsosphere. Everyone is going to be watching to see what he does in his new role as the head of the Celtics’ rebuild.

Brad Stevens’ Coaching Staff

Stevens is definitely going to have some help. He’s put together a great coaching staff, headlined by former Chicago Bulls assistant coach Ron Adams. Adams has brought Tom Thibodeau’s defensive system back into the Garden. Thibs used to be an assistant with the C’s before he went on to have the success that he has had with the Bulls.

But some of the concepts that Thibs implements into his defenses were still in the Boston Celtics scheme. Under Brad Stevens and Ron Adams, there should be an increase in what we see. The amount of traps and icing on ball handlers along the sideline will increase. The Celtics perimeter players will be able to show aggression on the defensive end while being able to recover because of the concepts in the scheme Adams is bringing to the table.

We’ve already seen glimpses of this in the preseason and the Celtics have been able to defend pretty well. There have certainly been some lapses throughout, but opponents haven’t been able to score consistently on Boston.

That speaks to Adams addition, but also to the coaching staff’s teaching. They’ve got the Celtics players picking up the defensive concepts quickly and soundly for the most part. This is a great sign for things to come when talking in terms of teaching.

I don’t want to overstate things, because it’s obviously still the preseason. The Celtics aren’t showing their full hand of cards just yet. But our excitement should still be palpable–just tempered.

This coaching staff is fueled by guys with experience in different positions. Jay Larranaga was a head coaching candidate this past summer. He’s got plenty of experience on the bench and comes from a coach’s family. Walter McCarty was a very smart player. He had a minimal role on the Celtics, but he’s got the player’s perspective and has played under some pretty good coaches–including Doc Rivers and Jeff Van Gundy.

Jamie Young has been an advanced scout in the NBA and has been with the Boston Celtics in the last decade or so. He’ll be able to help Stevens with player evaluation and development.

So, even though Stevens is a rookie head coach, he’s got a staff of guys with invaluable NBA experience. He’s coming in as a rookie, but all of their insight will help Stevens along his way. As he begins to add wrinkles and different concepts they’ll be able to work with these players in whatever way needed to develop them.

Stevens isn’t going to just be some filler coach until the next great guy comes along. He’s setting himself up to be that next great guy.