Why did the Boston Celtics coach get fired?

Introduction

It was a shocking move when the Boston Celtics, one of the most successful franchises in NBA history, fired their head coach Brad Stevens. On August 14, 2020, Danny Ainge, the president of basketball operations, announced the decision to relieve Stevens of his duties. The move came as a surprise to many, as Stevens was widely considered a coaching success, leading the Celtics to the playoffs in all seven seasons as head coach.

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Stevens’ Legacy

During his tenure as head coach, Stevens led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals three times, including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2018. He also won consecutive Coach of the Year awards in 2016-17 and 2017-18, becoming the first coach in the NBA to win the award in consecutive seasons.

With Stevens at the helm, the Celtics had a record of 416-246 (.628) in the regular season and 54-38 (.587) in the playoffs. Steven’s teams were known for their defensive prowess and he was able to get the most out of his players, developing them into All-Stars and helping the Celtics to become one of the best teams in the East.

The Celtics Struggles

Despite these successes, the Celtics have struggled to find consistency over the past two seasons. They have failed to make it out of the second round of the playoffs since 2018, and even then they were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had LeBron James. They have also seen the emergence of teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat, who have been able to surpass them in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Celtics were unable to make a deep run in the playoffs and the team seemed to be stagnating under Stevens. They were unable to make any significant moves in free agency and the team’s roster had become top-heavy, with stars like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker carrying the load.

Why Did the Celtics Fire Stevens?

The decision to fire Stevens was not an easy one, but ultimately the Celtics felt it was the right move. The team had reached a plateau under Stevens and they felt it was time to make a change.

For starters, the Celtics felt that Stevens had become too predictable. His teams were known for their defensive prowess, but they had become stagnant offensively. The Celtics lacked an identity and it seemed that no matter how many tweaks Stevens made, the team was unable to find a groove.

Issues with the Roster

The Celtics roster is top-heavy and lacks depth, which was a major issue for Stevens. He was unable to find a way to get the most out of the team’s role players and the team’s lack of depth was exposed in the playoffs.

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The Celtics also lacked a true star player. Tatum and Brown are both All-Stars, but neither has been able to reach the level of a true franchise player. Walker has battled injuries throughout his career and his production has been inconsistent.

Stevens’ Struggles in the Playoffs

The Celtics’ struggles in the playoffs have been well documented. In seven years under Stevens, the team was unable to make it to the NBA Finals. The team was eliminated in the first round three times, the second round twice, and the Eastern Conference Finals twice.

The team was unable to make the necessary adjustments to make a deep run in the playoffs. This was especially evident in the team’s playoff series against the Miami Heat in 2020. The Celtics were unable to contain Jimmy Butler and the Heat were able to win the series in six games.

Ainge’s Decision

Ainge ultimately decided it was time for a change and he decided to part ways with Stevens. Ainge has been with the Celtics for 18 years and he has a long track record of making bold decisions. He has traded away stars like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and he has shown a willingness to make unpopular moves if he believes it will benefit the team in the long run.

The decision to fire Stevens was not an easy one, but it was ultimately the right move for the team. Ainge believed the team needed a fresh voice and he felt that a new coach would be able to get the most out of the team’s roster.

The Search for a New Coach

The Celtics are now in the process of searching for a new head coach. They have reportedly reached out to former NBA head coaches like Mike D’Antoni, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson. They have also had conversations with Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, who would be the first female head coach in NBA history.

The team is also reportedly interested in Lakers assistant Jason Kidd. Kidd is considered one of the best point guards of all-time and is well-respected for his coaching acumen. He has the support of some of the top players in the league, including LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Conclusion

The decision to fire Brad Stevens was a difficult one for the Celtics, but ultimately it was the right move for the team. Stevens had become too predictable and the team needed a new voice to lead them back to the top of the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are now in the process of searching for a new head coach and they hope to find the right person to lead the team back to championship contention.

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