“We’re building a culture of accountability, trust, and togetherness. Entitlement will not be tolerated.”
Brad Stevens’ wisdom has been on display since he took a volunteer coaching job at Butler University in 2000. He abandoned a comfortable job as a marketing associate, and took a risk doing what he loved. That love would push him to work 14 hour days, while making very little money. Seven years later, this work ethic earned him a job as the head coach of the Butler Bulldogs. Since then, Stevens has become an expert at turning underdogs into contenders. In his third year as head coach, he led Butler to one of the most improbable tournament runs in NCAA History. The eighth seeded Bulldogs were counted out by everybody. They were a team comprised of underdogs, but with Brad Stevens’ coaching they still made an impressive run to the national championship.
Brad Stevens’ ability to turn underdogs into winners was pivotal to the success of the Celtics’ rebuild. Isaiah Thomas was the backbone of the team. Standing at only 5’9, he was drafted dead last, and bounced around from team to team, until the Celtics gave him a shot. The draft positions of the rest of the team prove their underdog status. Jae Crowder was drafted in the late second round, but his heart and physicality made him a force to be reckoned with on the roster. Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko were other players drafted late, but made steady contributions to the team. Brad Stevens was able to turn the Celtics into a team driven by heart and togetherness. However, this year things have changed.
Celtics New Roster
After all the moves Danny Ainge made this off season, the Celtics gained a lot of talent. However, they lost their underdog status. Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson and Avery Bradley are all gone. With their departure, came the arrival of a multitude of high caliber players. The addition of these new players signals a new era for Brad Stevens. He is no longer coaching underdogs. Kyrie Irving is a former number one pick, an international superstar, a four time all star, and an NBA champion. The former ninth pick, Gordon Hayward, is in the prime of his career, and was just selected to his first all star game. Jayson Tatum was selected by Boston with the third pick. Just like that, the team has gone from a group of underdogs, to a team whose players have always been expected to play at a high level.
Nothing Has Changed for Brad Stevens
The size of the chip on the Celtics’ shoulder got a lot smaller after this off season. This year, the Celtics are a team of established high draft picks, contrary to what Brad Stevens has been used to. They lost many of the players that helped this team rebuild. This has left fans questioning if the Celtics still possess the same heart they did the year prior. However, after Gordon Hayward went down, it became clear that everyone on this team bleeds green. The Celtics flashy new roster means that Brad may have to adjust his coaching style. Even though the Celtics are no longer underdogs, Brad Stevens will still have the ability to mold these players the way he always has: with accountability, trust and togetherness.