No points per games here. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and head coach Brad Stephens had much to deal with in their first year working together in Boston.
The Boston Celtics made some interesting roster moves during the offseason, perhaps none more important than the hiring of Stephens. Coming from the college game, many are usually skeptical of a coach’s ability to adapt to the professional game. No one was worried about Stephens and how he would handle an NBA locker room, and the immediate approval he received from Rajon Rondo made it clear he belonged with the big boys.
As the season wore on, Stephens showed a firm grasp of play-calling in the NBA, as well as the ability to use timeouts and when to successfully rotate players. He had moments where he overused some aging and ineffective vets and let guys like Kelly Olynyk sit on the bench a bit too long, but that is to be expected for any first-year coach. Stephens also dealt with the media exceptionally well, offering complimentary interviews even after some of the roughest losses, and especially during the team’s struggles towards the end of the season. I liked almost everything I saw from Stephens and am looking forward to seeing what he can do with next year’s squad.
Ainge also had himself a standout season in his first year of a rebuilding project. His draft pick Olynyk seems to have been more of a hit than a miss, and his willingness to hold onto guys like Rondo and Jared Sullinger with big names on the trade market will endear him to fans all over the Boston area. This is the first true offseason where Ainge will have to acquire or gather talent for future teams or for a potential trade. His grade for this season is combined with Stephens, and these guys may have been the brightest spot for the Celtics in the 2013-2014 season.