Boston Celtics: Props to Brad Stevens for team’s rise up the East

President of Basketball Operations of Boston Celtics Brad Stevens(Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
President of Basketball Operations of Boston Celtics Brad Stevens(Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) /

With the Boston Celtics having completely turned their season around, praise has been flying around Beantown since the calander flipped to 2022.

After a frustrating start to the season, the C’s own the Eastern Conference’s best record in the new year, and have jumped not only out of the play-in tournament, but into a position to be the home team in their first round playoff series. Talk about a quick turnaround.

Because of this, the national and local media have jumped on the bandwagon, with the likes of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and even head coach Ime Udoka receiving seemingly daily shoutouts for righting the ship. But there’s one more name, lurking in the background, who deserves just as much credit: Brad Stevens.

The Boston Celtics made the best of a bad situation

After yet another year of underachievement, it was clear by the end of last season that change was needed. Danny Ainge had run his course as GM, and Brad Stevens had lost the locker room. It was time for a shake-up, and a shake-up is certainly what we got.

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It’s a shake up that has not only turned around the immediate direction of the franchise, but also the future aspirations of anyone who bleeds green. Because finally, the C’s appear poised to capitalize on the limitless potential of Tatum and Brown. For the first time since the pair took their superstar leaps, things feel right with this team.

For the Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens is better as a GM

Make no mistake about it, the Brad Stevens coaching era with the Green was a success. No doubt. But most of the success came with a roster that had no real chance of winning it all in the immediate years after The Brooklyn Nets trade involving Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

We all know the story by now. Under Stevens’ wing, a group of plucky underdogs led by Isaiah Thomas beat the odds to advance further than anyone thought they would, turning critics into fans along the way. It’s a great story, don’t get me wrong, but not the type of story that ends with a parade through the city.

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But once higher caliber players joined the team, the results went sideways. It was almost as if Stevens didn’t know how to handle real NBA stars. He couldn’t keep them in line in the locker room, and couldn’t make them jell on the court.

Getting Stevens off the bench and into a front office role was the perfect solution. It gave him a chance to return to the roots of what really made him successful at Butler: player recruitment and management. Sure, he’s a great coach, but there’s only so much that a coach can do once the roster is set.

By giving roster management powers to a former college coach, whose success is predicated on finding the right mix of players and convincing them to choose their program over countless other suitors, the Celtics struck gold. These post-deadline Celtics are finally looking like the team they should have been for years.

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Stevens built an imperfect version of this team in the summer. When it became clear that it wasn’t working, he adjusted on the fly at the deadline, and the results have been sparkling. Only time will tell if it is enough for the C’s to truly compete for Banner 18, but it’s clear that Brad Stevens deserves just as much credit for the Celtics turnaround as anyone on the court.