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?
Celtics’ legend Robert Parish was on SiriusXM NBA Radio and said just that.
“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.
When Stephen Curry lost a golf bet to his father, Dell, at the American Century Championships over the weekend in Lake Tahoe, Curry jumped in the lake. Literally.
So did his caddy.
That caddy is no run-of-the-mill duffer, that is Bryant Barr — Curry’s roommate and teammate from Davidson. The two (and their wives) are still close friends.
And Curry still owes Barr a dinner from a game of H-O-R-S-E game back in college.
Barr explained it all to the NBC Golf team that covered the event over the weekend. Check out the great video above.
By the way, Ray Allen came in tied for third at the championship.
After the Warriors won the championship, David West said they dealt with internal issues so shocking, people would trip if they learned the details.
Golden State head coach Steve Kerr and assistant coach Ron Adams didn’t go along with that narrative. Now, another Warriors assistant is explaining more clearly just what the heck West was talking about.
Mike Brown on The Full 48 podcast, as transcribed by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area:
“There’s no deep, dark secret,” the Warriors assistant coach said. “We had our ups and downs throughout the course of the year, just like any other team. We were able to get through them.
“Steve (Kerr) asked David or talked to David about it, and David was like, ‘I was joking (laughter). I just wanted to stir the pot a little bit.’ And he sure enough did. There’s nothing to it.”
That settles it.
Unless that’s what they want us to believe…
The Spurs were running low on small forwards. Kawhi Leonard remains in limbo, and San Antonio let Kyle Anderson leave for the Grizzlies.
Enter Dante Cunningham.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is probably a minimum contract. The Spurs still have whatever of the mid-level exception they didn’t give Marco Belinelli or the bi-annual exception. But that’s not way more than the minimum ($2,176,260) for Cunningham, who has nine years experience – and probably couldn’t command more, anyway.
Unlike Rudy Gay, Belinelli, Davis Bertans and Bryn Forbes, Cunningham is San Antonio’s first free-agent signing this summer who didn’t previously play for the team. He’s a combo forward who will likely be needed more at small forward. He can handle larger small forwards, and Belinelli can play the three against smaller opposing small forwards in a platoon.
Cunningham is a solid defender in the right matchup, and he holds his own as a 3-point shooter. The Spurs should use him well.
Of course, the Spurs must first determine what to do about Leonard before fitting in more pliable pieces like Cunningham.
The Lakers reportedly believe someone in Lonzo Ball‘s camp leaked his knee injury to depress his trade value and keep him in Los Angeles.
So, of course, speculation turned to his media-savvy father who has a major financial interest in maintaining footing in the Los Angeles market.
LaVar Ball, via TMZ:
“I don’t leak nothing. I always say what’s on my mind, so you don’t never see me saying, ‘I think I should say this now and let it leak.’ I don’t do that.”
It would be more in-character for LaVar just to announce Lonzo’s knee injury or – especially now that the Lakers are publicly acknowledging Lonzo’s need for surgery – brag now about his maneuvering. So, maybe he wasn’t behind this.
But it still could have been someone else in Lonzo’s camp, with or without LaVar’s knowledge.
The Balls don’t need to apologize if they disclosed Lonzo’s injury. It’s his knee. He can say what he wants about it, however it affects the Lakers.
But these accusations and subsequent denials certainly don’t signal a strong relationship between the team and player.