Celtics president Danny Ainge said coach Brad Stevens deserved the least blame “by far” for Boston’s problems this season.
But after the Celtics’ season disappointingly ended in the second round, Stevens held himself accountable.
Stevens, via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston:
“I’ll be the first to say that, as far as any other year that I’ve been a head coach, it’s certainly been the most trying. I think I did a bad job,” said Stevens. “Like, at the end of the day, as a coach, if your team doesn’t find its best fit together that’s on you. So I’ll do a lot of deep dives into how I can be better.”
“Bad job” might be too strong. But Stevens didn’t do a good-enough job.
Stevens has proven adept at positioning lesser players to succeed. Given the most-talented roster he’s ever had, he didn’t push the right buttons.
To be fair, this was a difficult situation. Kyrie Irving can be petulant, and his impending free agency only added drama. The Celtics need Gordon Hayward heavily contributing to reach their potential, but he often struggled through his first season back from injury. Young players like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier are hungry for bigger roles.
But these are the types of issues coaches must manage on good team.
Stevens raising Boston’s floor. He must improve his ability to raise the ceiling.