Although college coaches do not usually make good NBA coaches, Rick Pitino, John Calipari, PJ Carlesimo, and Jerry Tarkanian, Brad Stevens is a different coach and has taken a different path toward stardom. Stevens, the former coach of the Butler Bulldogs, has achieved success that very few mid major coaches have achieved. Brad had a record of 166-49 during his stint with the Butler Bulldogs, including five trips to the NCAA tournament in six seasons and 2 consecutive trips to the NCAAB National Championship Game. Stevens came within an inch or two of winning the first championship, while returning the next year even though he lost his best player to the draft, Gordon Heyward. Stevens has been able to win at the highest level with players, who were not the most talented or most physically imposing. Stevens will be able to succeed with the Celtics because of the experience he gained during his historic years with Butler.
Brad Stevens’ teams have been able to compete with the most talented college teams because of Steven’s genius and motivational tactics. During his college career, Brad coached against some of the best coaches, who had better talent, and still came away with victory after victory. Stevens will have to continue his magic if he is going to succeed with the Boston Celtics. Similar to Butler, the Celtics will have less talent than most of the teams they will be facing during the season. Stevens must garner the respect from his players and out coach his opposition in order for the Celtics to win. Brad differs from other college coaches who made the leap to the NBA because he did not have the players that these other coaches had at their disposal. Coaches, like Pitino from Kentucky, Tarkanian from UNLV, and PJ Carlesimo from Seton Hall, always had more talent than their opponent, which made their job a lot easier. These coaches, unlike Stevens, did not have to out think their opposition because they could just let their players run their opponents out of the gym. Once these coaches went to the NBA and had to deal with inferior talent, they did not experience the same success as they did in college. Stevens is also a young coach, who will be able to bond and relate with the young Celtic roster. Since the Celtics have a lot of young player and will have an influx of first round picks, Stevens has probably scouted these players. Also, Stevens will know how to guide this young an unexperienced roster to success and a possible playoff appearance.
However, there are many pitfalls, which could cause Stevens to fail and the Celtics to lose. First, I will point out that if the Celtics lose a lot this season, it will not be a disastrous result. The Celtics will get a top pick, which could lead to a future superstar because of the amount of talent in next year’s draft. Stevens may fail because the Celtics will be a bad team without much talent. Before this hire, the Celtics were expected to finish fourth in the weak Atlantic Division. Stevens will have to deal with Rondo. Although Rondo is a great player and can occasionally be the best player on the floor, he is extremely difficult to coach because of his inconsistency and stubbornness. Stevens has never dealt with the daily media pressure cooker of Boston. Although basketball is huge in Indiana, Butler is not the Celtics. Although the experts believe the Celtics will fail, the fans will not want to see their team fail and not make the playoffs.
Although there are possible pitfalls, I believe that Stevens will have success in the NBA with the Celtics. Even though it is unlikely that the Celtics will make the playoffs this season, I expect a lot of future playoff appearance and possibly championship titles in the NBA.
Stats and pics from espn.com