As the Celtics keep defying expectations — from getting the No. 2 seed in the East despite Gordon Hayward going down, through rolling through the first two rounds of the playoffs without Kyrie Irving, then thumping the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals — the legend of Brad Stevens is growing into mythical proportions. His game plans, his out-of-timeout plays, all of it has worked this postseason.
Is Stevens getting too much credit?
“I think he’s getting a little too much praise, but I like what he’s doing. They’re giving him all the love like he’s won three or four championships. Win something first with all the love he’s getting. Now granted, don’t get me wrong, he’s a solid coach. With the love that he’s getting from the media, you’d think the Celtics won two or three championships.”
“I’m not saying that Brad Stevens should not be getting praise for the job that he’s done because I feel that he’s done an outstanding praise. I’m just saying that the amount of praise he’s getting, you’d think that he’s won a championship or two. They don’t give Steve Kerr that much love.”
Parish isn’t wrong here.
Stevens has done an amazing job, he got the top spot on my ballot for Coach of the Year, but in praising him we tend to only look at the talent he has lost (Hayward and Irving) and not at what he has. Al Horford is a five-time All-Star for a reason. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are both No. 3 overall draft picks. Beyond those guys, Danny Ainge has assembled a deep and athletic team that doesn’t have a lot of holes — this is a good roster, even without those stars.
Credit Stevens for both bringing them together and not letting them fall apart this season in the face of adversity. Stevens has done a great job, he has built a winning culture there that may well bring more banners to The Garden. There’s a lot to like about Stevens (and other players like him as well, guys want to play for him).
But let’s give the players some credit, too.