If you think Brad Stevens is the major reason that the Celtics are struggling or are crazy enough to think he should get fired then you need to get your head checked. I don't know the inner workings of basketball like I do with football or even baseball so forgive me for being almost all opinion based on this blog, but this topic has been driving bananas. I honestly don't even think Brad Stevens 2-10 playoff record matters (yet).
Of course Brad Stevens deserves some blame. His #1 seed Celtics have been embarrassed by the Chicago Bulls. A team that looked like they would miss the playoffs entirely. But now that the Celtics are down 2-0 to the 8 seeded 41-41 Chicago Bulls after getting blown out last night 111-97 everybody is talking about how coach Brad Stevens is now 2-10 in the playoffs. Thinking that he's the issue. That now he's all of a sudden not a good coach.
Look I'm pissed at the C's too, believe me. While I didn't have extremely high hopes going into the playoffs, I thought they'd fucking win a series. This will be a horrible look for the franchise should they not comeback. They are looking like the frauds many thought they were. But I think numbers 100% can lie and be manipulated.
This situation is a prime example of that.
Yes, Brad Stevens is 2-10 in the playoffs. That is a fact, there's no denying that. As Bill Parcels used to say "You are what your record says you are" and Brad Stevens IS 2-10 in the playoffs. But I believe it is incredibly unfair to just say that and think it tells the whole story. Getting mad Brad Stevens for being 2-10 in the playoffs with these Celtics teams is like getting mad at like some nerd who won a contest on twitter to go on a "date" with a super model because he didn't sleep with her. No shit he didn't. It wasn't even a real date. He never had a chance going in.
You need to look at expectations vs the outcome. If the Celtics were perennially winning 55+ games every season with multiple all stars and were losing in the first round then, yeah I'd say blame the coach. I'm a huge blame the coach guy when it's the right move. That's why I despise John Farrell, despite the fact he technically won a World Series. If you have talent and are winning close to 60 games a year and can't get out of the first round, then yeah be heated at the coach and think it's his fault. But that's not the case, these were not great teams or in some cases even good teams.
In the 2014-15 season, Steven's 2nd with the Celtics. He led a team that was at one point 16-30 to a 40-42 finish. They went 6-0 run to end the year to even make the playoffs. I know a lot of people were mad they didn't tank, but I think it helped lead to the development of a lot of players who are still on the team today. They entered the playoffs BELOW .500 as the 7 seed in the East and got the pleasure of going against Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers who would go on to lose in the NBA Finals in 6 games.
That team had no business being in the playoffs talent wise, but because of Brad Stevens and how they performed after the Rondo trade, they were able to make the playoffs in the first place. That team had zero chance against Cleveland. I'd rather bet my money on a snowball surviving in hell. Idk what the series odds were but I'd guess Celtics to win would be over +1000. Absolute best case scenario would've been Cavs in 5. So they got swept by a superior talented team? Boo who. Getting swept in that series should not be held against him, that's ridiculous to me. The accomplishment of leading that team their outweighs the playoff result to me in that situation.
As much as I hate Lebron (I REALLY hate Lebron), even I can admit using his losing record in the Finals to bash him is sometimes unfair. In 2007 he pretty much single-handled brought a horrible team (by eventual conference champions standards) to the Finals where they were swept by a far superior Spurs team in the middle of their dynasty. Like hold the 2011 Heat loss against him 100 out of 100 times. They should've won that series. You can blame Lebron and his 8 points in four there. But same cannot be said for the 2007 Cavs. But each Finals loss counts the same in the record books. I'm just saying losing in situations that you weren't even expected to make it to should not be seen as a negative. Like do people talk shit about the 2007 Colorado Rockies for getting swept in the World Series?
Then in the 2015-16 season the Celtics finished with 48 wins and were the 5 seed. They were bounced in 6 by the Hawks. If you want to say they should've beaten them, whatever I can see either side. It was definitely a winnable series, but after losing a heartbreaker in game one and a blow out in game two they were able to bounce back and tie the series before dropping the final two games. But that team did not have championship aspirations. Yeah it would've been nice to win a round, but again, I think a lot of people believe that team overachieved.
Then this year the Celtics were the 1 seed in the East. 53 wins, which for a 1 seed is relatively low to begin with. But they are not your normal 1 seed. Many analytical people claimed they were one of the worst 1 seeds of all time. I agreed even before this series started. They rely way too much on a 5 foot 9 point guard, have no legit second option and may be the worst rebounding team of all time. I can't think of too many other times in the history of any sport, not just the NBA where going into the playoffs most people thought the 1 seed had little to no chance to make it to it's league's championship round. It'd be the most shocking 1 seed to make the Finals maybe ever.
Then the draw the Celtics got couldn't have been worse, The Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have been kind of a mess all season long, but talent wise, at least with starters, you could argue the Bulls are better. They definitely have the best player on the court in Jimmy Butler. They also are not your normal 8 seed. I think going into the season many people thought the Bulls would be closer to a 50 win team and somewhere in the middle of the East pack. Between the Celtics overachieving and Bulls underachieving I'd argue this 1-8 match up is realistically more like a 3-6. Now again, I'm angry at the Celtics too, and believe they should be able to at least win a playoff series with this team, but game 1 after the death of Isaiah Thomas' sister going in felt like a game they may end up losing because of the emotional toll on their star point guard. Which ended up being the outcome. As for last night, it was just horrible, stupid shots and it seemed like they just gave up. They are shook, they are rattled. This is where they need Brad Stevens. But from an X's and O's standpoint, there's not much he can do about a small team being horrible on the glass.
If you want to blame anybody, blame Danny Ainge for standing pat at the trade deadline. I get it this team has a lot of assets for a potentially very bright future that they don't want to waste in a rental deal, but the fact that they did not address their lack of rebounding was astounding. They basically conceded the East to the Cavs by not adding a guy. Even if they added someone they'd still be underdogs, but it would've bridged the gap. I'm not saying they had to add Paul George or Jimmy Butler, but they should've done something. There are plenty of expendable players on this roster and draft capital that could've been moved to do something, literally anything.
The major problem is how this team is built. They needed heroic efforts by Isaiah night after night. If he didn't score close to 30, the Celtics were probably fucked. His game is all about getting the hole or free throw line. In the playoffs games are officiating differently and some of those calls don't go your way that would in the regular season. Also tell me who the Celtics second option is? I'll wait. They don't have one. It's a team of nice role players who grind and get the most of their talents, but that's the thing there isn't much talent. You can win a championship with guys like Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder on your team, but they can't be who you are relying on night after night. They have no knock down shooters, no bigs who have heart down low. It's a team of defensive minded guards who can't shoot and stretch 4's who can't rebound and have little to no inside game. Shocker it's working when they give up 100 offensive rebound and second chances a game. Sure you can play great defense, but if you're giving teams 2nd, 3rd or even 4th tries on a single possession, pros are gonna score eventually.
Now the Celtics head to Chicago in a situation where I think realistically it's two must win games. For the C's to have any chance I think they need to go back to Boston tied 2-2. However given how this series has looked, they might not even get back to Boston at all. I just hope people can understand that what Brad Stevens has done with these teams is like a chef cooking a 5 star meal with bologna and ramen noodles.