Gregg Popovich is praised as the gold standard for coaching, and rightly so. However, Brad Stevens is doing amazing things with the Boston Celtics, that cannot be ignored.
In his first six years in the league, Kyrie Irving has been much maligned as a defensive liability. Put him in Stevens’ system? Irving is leading the league in steals with 24. For fans of advanced metrics, Irving is also second in the NBA in defensive win shares.
It is no coincidence that teammates Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown all rank 1st, 6th, and 8th respectively as well. It is not just one player, it’s the team. Brad Stevens has always and will always achieve more with less.
From his days at Butler getting to the National Championship, to bringing a sub-par Celtics team to the playoffs in his second year, to taking a projected four seed to a 53 win team, Stevens has ALWAYS overachieved. It is time he gets the respect he deserves.
The Celtics are 8-2 right now, and that is with 3 returning players from last years team and their second best player’s leg exploding in the first game. With the Cavaliers struggling, Boston is in a great place to be the one seed for the second year in a row in this early season. Again, without Gordon Hayward, Brad is overachieving. But once more the respect is lacking.
Stevens last year was not even a top three finalist for coach of the year, despite being the number one team in the Eastern Conference in just his fourth season in the NBA. If he can do it again this year, he deserves coach of the year consideration.
So far through ten games, Stevens is the coach of the year. It is time he receives the recognition as the elite coach he is. At 41 years of age, he figures to be the new Popovich-type figure in the NBA for the next few decades at least.