Celtics fans wouldn’t trade Brad Stevens for anyone. But according to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz, the view in NBA coaching circles is less fawning.
Appearing on Zach Lowe’s podcast, Arnovitz relayed a conversation he had with a member of a coaching staff wondering what all the fuss is about.
Arnovitz didn’t identify the coach, and he made clear that the coach thinks Stevens is talented. But in the same breath, he noted that praise of the Celtics head man feels over the top compared to his actual accomplishments.
“I do have to ask you a question,” this coach asked Arnovitz, who’s a regular on ESPN’s The Jump podcast with Rachel Nichols. “There are a lot of guys in our league doing a lot with limitations. How did Brad end up on the Mt. Rushmore of NBA coaches? We all appreciate him, but when you listen to analysts or you guys on The Jump, and a lot of suits in the league — and yes, the Celtics command a great deal of respect and they’re always going to be in the center of the conversation — we all respect Brad, but this is about the Coach of the Year. I mean look, he’s done nicely, but last year you could argue he got outcoached by Fred Hoiberg, coached by Scott Brooks to a draw, and then the LeBron freight train or whatever. Yes, he started, they had to rebuild that process and he built a culture, and yes, it’s been nice. But OK, each year they add — Oh, hey, here’s the best playmaking two-way big man in the league in Al Horford. Oh, here’s a steady stream of top-three picks. Guess what we have for you this year? Hayward went down? It’s OK, because you have the best shot-making point guard in the league.”
Arnovitz explained that “this is not my argument,” but added that the coach wondered why Stevens is held at such an exalted standard.
“The hagiography, deification of the holy Brad Stevens, can we just wait for a second?” Arnovitz said, paraphrasing the anonymous coach. “‘Can he just win more than one conference finals game? He’s got a lot of talent. He’s done well. We all respect him. We all steal from him, and everybody steals from everybody. Can you guys just cool it? If you listen to the intelligentsia and cognoscenti in the league, you have to understand the rest of us are just like, OK.’ There’s a certain bias and he wanted to understand what the nature of it was. And I went to comportment. I think it’s presence, the impressiveness of knowing how emotional this game is and looking on the sidelines and it’s Game 7 against Washington and that guy has no expression, that that in and of itself is a virtue, that culture matters, and this is the culture generation in the league. That’s what I explained and I have all the respect in the world. But he didn’t get it. He was like, ‘Look, we all love the guy, but you guys are like (building) a mountain on top of the Washington Monument. Like, OK, enough.'”
Apparently, taking the Celtics from 25 to 42 to 48 to 53 to 55 wins isn’t as impressive as it sounds, nor is winning without star free agent Gordon Hayward or teaching a pair of youngsters in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to play NBA-caliber defense as teenagers.
In any event, Stevens should be right there when the NBA Coach of the Year Award is announced. Toronto’s Dwane Casey is considered the favorite.
Full article @ Rival NBA coach: ‘How did Brad (Stevens) end up on the Mt. Rushmore of NBA coaches?’
Source: GreenStreet Blog