The search is on for the next Boston Celtics head coach and there is quite a list of interesting and qualified candidates for Brad Stevens to select from as his successor on the bench.
It is actually a unique situation for Stevens, who was promoted to Celtics president of basketball operations Wednesday in place of Danny Ainge. After building his resume as head coach for eight seasons, he now has an opportunity to show what he can do in the front office and that starts by finding the right coach with former players like Sam Cassell, Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups heading the list.
Sam Cassell a “clear-cut” favorite as next Boston Celtics head coach
While candidates on that list like Lloyd Pierce, Becky Hammon and Cara Lawson would provide interesting and in the case of Hammon and Lawson, historic choices, the team should look no further than Cassell, who is an NBA champion and played in Boston as a player.
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Is he a clear-cut favorite as the odds may suggest? Former teammate Kendrick Perkins certainly believes so.
“…Brad Stevens, if you want to make your next move your best move, you need to go hire Sam Cassell,” Perkins said, via Twitter. “He won a championship in Boston as a player. He’s a two-time champion as a Rocket. He’s a long-time assistant. He’s coached superstars, he’s played with superstars. You have two young superstars over there in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, all right? Ego are going to start getting in the way. You need someone in that locker room that these players are going to respect, that they’re going to look up to, that they’re going to soak in knowledge and a guy that will hold them accountable. To me, it’s a clear-cut favorite that Sam Cassell should be the coach, all right? That’s just my humble opinion.”
Despite the injuries, the Boston Celtics underachieved immensely throughout the 2020-21 NBA season. Watching them eventually falter to the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the players, it was clear there was heart missing from a team lead by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
In all fairness to Brown, who was injured and Tatum, who balled out averaging over 30 ppg during the five-game series, the lack of depth was certainly part of the problem. But what was said over and over again during the season was the team needed a coach who could change the energy, a coach who would hold players accountable, while at the same time instilling a championship attitude.
Folks, Sam Cassell is exactly that person.
Championships alone, it is important that he has played in Boston as a player that should greatly help the influence he will have. Think Alex Cora with the Boston Red Sox. He was a former player who came in and won the World Series as a manager because he quickly connected with young players like Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez and Rafael Devers. But he also had the respect from the veteran players on the team as well.
Cassell would have a similar influence. He would know how to connect with Tatum and Brown as well as any veteran players the team bring in. Not to take anything away from Brad Stevens, but it appeared the team gassed out under him.
So, along with the injection of new energy and a new approach, Cassell brings that championship heart that players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown seem to already have as both players have led the team to the Eastern Conference Finals.
They just need that coach to elevate that hunger to the next level. They need that coach that can show them what it takes to lead and make players around them better. They need a coach who knows what it takes to be an assassin on the court when the game is on the line.
They need a coach like Sam Cassell.