Everyone knows we’re big Pistons fans here at 2313 Inc. (Farmington Hills, MI), but it’s also no secret that we admire coaches who are the real deal. The Boston Celtics are currently leading the Cleveland Cavaliers 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals and with a victory in Cleveland tonight, the Celtics could advance to the NBA finals to face off against the winner of the Rockets-Warriors series.
At the beginning of the year, the Celtics were projected to be a powerhouse. Rookies Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were supposed to be effective supplements to newly acquired superstars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving; however, with less than 7 minutes left in the first quarter of opening night, Hayward suffered a gruesome ankle injury. After Kyrie Irving ended up having to have a second knee surgery—placing him on the bench for 4 to 5 months and missing the postseason—the Celtic’s season looked toast.
A coach — a truly great coach — doesn’t need a bench packed with superstars to take their team to the finals, though. Not Brad Stevens, anyway. With his juggernauts on the bench, he had to figure out how to utilize a young and inexperienced team, play to their strengths and weaknesses, and put each player in a position that best suited them for success.
Why is Brad Stevens such a special coach? 2313 Inc. has 3 reasons why!
1. Failing as a Player Helped Him Succeed as a Coach
During his time playing basketball at Depauw University, Brad Stevens made the all-conference team multiple times and was a 3 time Academic All-America nominee, but it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. In an article with SB Nation, Stevens said:
“The term I’ve heard is shot amnesia, the last one doesn’t go in, you’ve got to be able to move on to the next one. I was never a guy that could do that. I got better as my career went on, but if anyone said anything to me about it, or I thought about it more, especially in the middle of a game, I wasn’t tough enough mentally to handle that. The greatest thing for helping me learn to coach was failing as a player.”
2. He’s a Coach That his Players Want to Play For
Marcus Smart, who was drafted 6th overall by the Celtics in the 2014, explains how a coach like Stevens can be so intelligent, unique, and motivating.
“Some of the plays he draws up, we kind of look at them like, ‘I don’t really know if this is going to work or not and when you do it, you’re like, ‘You know what, sorry I ever doubted you.’ When you have a coach like that, it’s fun to play for, and you want to go out there and give it everything you have.”
3. He Motivate His Team to be Fearless
With such a young squad taking on the king of kings in Lebron James, fear isn’t an option. Stevens believes in his teams, has truly made them believe in themselves, and has helped them realize their unlimited potential. Jaylen Brown, the 21 year old 2nd year rookie averaging 17.8 points per game in the postseason, explained it perfectly.
“Why should we limit ourselves? That’s my question. We’re young, we’re hungry, we’re good. No reason for any limits.”
A lot of us at 2313 Inc. will be tuning in tonight to see if this young Celtics team can finish the series in 6 tonight, and with a coach like Stevens, we wouldn’t be surprised at all!