Former Butler Bulldogs Head Coach, Brad Stevens shows once again that he doesn’t care who is starting and who is injured, the man is a relentless coach. Stevens took the small school of Butler and made them relevent. Making two straight national championships losing to Coach K’s Duke team and then Kemba Walker’s UCONN team. Consistently able to get the most out of his players. Toronto was the number 1 seed in the East, and just fired their coach because Lebron has ripped out the city’s heart one too many times. That will not happen against Stevens. Dwayne Casey, is just the latest head coach to be fired at the hands of Lebron James. For right now, the only thing standing in the way of Lebron reaching his 8th straight NBA finals, is Coach Stevens.
I think they are one of the most well-coached teams in our league… Obviously, you know what I’ve said about Brad Stevens before and his ability to get the most out of his guys, how great they are out of a timeout, late-clock situations, as well. No matter who is on the floor or no matter who has played for them, he can put guys in position to succeed and get the most out of whoever has been in their lineup over the past few years; it’s not just this year.- Lebron James
No GM positioned their team better than Danny Ainge did this past off-season. The Celtics had to make moves to keep pace with Lebron and the Cavs in the Eastern Conference. Ainge liked Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum out of college, but given Josh Jackson’s offensive inadequicies, Ainge made the right call getting Tatum. Grabbing all-stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving this past offseason appeared to be outstanding at the time. Losing Hayward to injury before the season started and Kyrie to injury prior to the post season, the Celtics looked like a 1 and done in the playoffs. Brad Stevens and Terry Rosier had other plans for that assessment by NBA “experts”. He is so good at getting the best out of ‘mediocre’ players. Marcus Morris had 20 pts, 10 rebounds game 1, that is a very average player that is finally being coachable. The Morris twins have always had issues being coached and having a good attitute. That speaks volumes to Steven’s coaching ability.
The Celtics and Cavs are both playoff battle tested in 2018. Both played in first round series going all 7 games. It is pure addrenaline getting Lebron and the Celtics through right now. Both teams are physically and mentally exhausted. Stevens has put on a coaching clinic so far this playoffs shutting down Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greek Freak) and then Ben Simmons and Embiid in the second round in 5 games. Those are 3 of the league’s best. Now he faces THE leagues best, Lebron James. History shows Stevens isn’t ever intimidated by playing the “Goliath’s” of the NBA or College, he’s going to bring it every single night. If Steven’s can suit up he would, he bleeds competitiveness.
There is no one better at developing young men than Brad Stevens. Leaving Butler was a very hard decision for him because of his love to coach and teach young men. Also what he has done with his rookie from Duke is sensational. Jayson Tatum has elevated his game even further in the post season. A time that rookie’s usually fall off or get fatigued he has gone the other way, averaging 18 points per game and 35 minutes per game, including 7 straight games of 20+ points. Tatum only averaged 13 points per game 30 minutes per game in the regular season. Tatum is in range having the most playoff points by the age of 21 or younger trailing only Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker, and Magic Johnson. That is an unreal list to be on.
- Kobe Bryant- 328 – (28 games played)
- Tony Parker- 325- (22 games played)
- Magic Johnson- 293- (16 games played)
- Jayson Tatum- 226- (12 games played)
If game 1 is any indication of how this series will play-out, I have the Celtics in 5. Stevens took Lebron out of the game limiting him to 15 points and 7 turnovers. Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Morris all had big games that led to a big win in Boston game 1. That type of team effort is something Brad Stevens has always put on the court. Going back to his days at Butler when he knocked out a bunch of top programs while storming through march madness. Stevens is currently doing something nobody thought possible after Irving went down, shutting teams down with defense.