The Celtics had the hottest start to the NBA season after, of course, the first game of the season where after only a few minutes of being in a Celtics jersey, Gordon Hayward went down with a gruesome injury. People thought that the Celtics season was over, that they were going to sink down to a middle seed playoff team and lose in the first round, but Brad Stevens and star player Kyrie Irving had a different idea of how they wanted their season to go.
Heading into the All-Star break, the Celtics ride on top of the East, thanks to the spectacular play of Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and several other players on the team. The emergence of Jayson Tatum as a crafty scorer and Jaylen Brown slowly fitting into his role as an offensive and defensive presence have created an atmosphere around this team that even though these aren’t the most seasoned players, they aren’t scared of big names.
Brad Stevens has the Celtics playing spectacular defense, having the highest defensive rating at a 99.9 (according to NBA.com). Even after losing more than half of their roster from last year, they have still managed to keep a team chemistry and have the ability to finish games. This all falls on head coach Brad Stevens, he has managed to band his team together and make the best out of a hard situation, and it’s working out very well.
He has Kyrie Irving, a point guard who is known for his handles and his shooting, playing decent enough defense to no longer be a liability. Al Horford is playing like an under the radar DPOY, Jaylen Brown is a contender for Most Improved, and Jayson Tatum is a contender for ROTY. And he didn’t even have 2 of these players on his roster last year, which is even more impressive considering the situations in places like New Orleans, OKC, and Cleveland where they have had some struggles fitting superstars into the chemistry.
Kyrie was brought to Boston in a trade for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and a pick, which at the time seemed like Cleveland had just gotten even better. From what we have seen this year though, Cleveland has made a HUGE mistake. Isaiah Thomas has been injured most of the season and with his first few games back, caused huge drama and upset fans due to his lackluster performances. Jae Crowder, who was a huge part of the Celtics team last season, has completely gone cold, making people wonder what happened to his defensive aggressiveness that made him known throughout the league. Avery Bradley, who was one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, has had major struggles this season. This also falls on Brad Stevens. With the former Celtics struggling on their new teams, it shows just how well Brad Stevens can coach. He made a 5’9 point guard able to play defense through several rotations, while Cleveland just tells him to man up and play tough.
Brad Stevens has shown he is one of the next great coaches with how he’s coaching this team, and how the players have done when moved to different coaching. He makes players that would never be known into potential All-Stars and he makes All-Stars into superstars that seem like they could never be stopped from scoring. Brad Stevens deserves Coach of the Year more than any other coach in the league, and he has definitely proved it’s his time.