I'm sure it's nearly unanimous that we all believe Brad Stevens is an elite coach. The divide in opinion really boils down to people's perceived value of NBA coaches in general. The classic argument is that talent wins out over coaching by a significant margin. This leaves me with two questions for everyone.
1. Assuming Brad was given the 2017 off-season and training camp to prepare, where do the remaining playoff teams in both Conferences finish during the regular season with him as their coach? For example, does a team like OKC play to their potential and finish as a top 3 team in the West? Let's leave Golden State, Houston, and Cleveland out of the argument.
2. Does Brad have the same impact on team chemistry in an organization without Danny as a GM? Brad has always had the luxury of coaching a combination of underdogs, castoffs, or top draft picks with excellent character and work ethic. Danny and Brad have stayed clear of Superstars who cause drama on and off the court. Would Brad be able to manage stubborn Superstar personalities on other teams?
TP to you for the challenge.
Recently, Jaylen Brown spoke of Stevens as "their leader". These are broad concepts, but, may apply to "Stevens as coach of the Celtics". (In turn, over his first years here, this dynamic has changed, he has earned his reputation as a rising star and everybody wants to associate with a rising star).
Auerbach is a good example here....we skip to later in Red's career. He had Russell. Bill Russell was the "leader" of the team in almost every way. The physical leader, the commitment and effort leader, but, most importantly Bill Russell was the emotional leader. Red had no issue with this and made Russell player coach. Red wanted to win and knew this was best. Red put Russell into the position where all of his talents would be exploited for the benefit of the team even intangibles.
Stevens has always known the importance of how to get the most from each player within the team dynamic...that is a coaches' job. In Stevens time here, he has had "lesser" talent, it has been a process. You think our favorite Mormon is shocked at the development of the team, it's level of talent and it's young coach? Ainge has all of this charted....twice.
Rivers had three hall of famers, Rondo, and a "bunch of guys" who rotated in and out through the years. Would Ainge have looked at a "young Stevens type" to take over the team with the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen? Perhaps not. Does Ainge have any problem bringing a superstar to Boston now? The Boston Celtics are "Brad Steven's team"...in a manner of speaking, a player is going to get "fired" before Stevens does. Any player considering the Celtics knows this and must acknowledge it. Years ago..."Hey Shaq? You want to come and play with KG?" It was not about Doc Rivers, was it?
Star power is star power and Stevens, as of today has far more than he did day one in Boston upon arrival from Zionsville, Indiana. If Steven's had taken over a different "playoff team" this year?
Who cares what I think, let's ask the betting public...
I suggest the number drops on all of the above teams for a basic reason...Stevens already has the reputation. Gamblers would have to factor the subtraction of the existing coach and the addition of Stevens into his investment. All this being said? Anthony Davis is going to move these numbers far more than a coach.
"I'd love to play for Brad Stevens" coming from an NBA player translates quite simply to...
"I want to win."