Oh my, where do we start? First and foremost, we have the Can’t Miss Kid, Brad Stevens, a man
who could do no wrong in this town since he was tapped to be the head coach of the Boston
Celtics in July of 2013 (has it really been that long?). Last season Stevens was considered a front
runner for NBA Coach of the Year but lost to Dwane Casey who was subsequently fired from the
Raptors – if that gives you any indication how tenuous a head coaching job in the NBA is and
how capricious the whims of ownership. But the Celtics have now lost five of six, and for those
who like to bet a few bucks to make it interesting, the Green has failed to cover the number in
four of those six contests. Speaking of covering, if you click over to Sportsbook Review, you can
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Brad Stevens is dealing with more than X’s and O’s at this point which is unchartered territory
for the 42-year-old Indiana native. If the Celtics were a soap opera, the leading man would be
Kyrie Irving because he brings enough drama to fill an hour of programming each day. When
Irving was wooed to Boston, he made a claim that he wanted to remain a Celtic for life and one
day have his jersey retired to the rafters. In Cleveland, he was the Scottie Pippen to LeBron’s
Michael Jordan and he wanted out of the shadows and into the spotlight all by himself.
Be careful what you wish for Kyrie, because not everyone is cut out to fill that role and assume
a leadership position, which allows you to bask in the afterglow of success but demands you
answer to the rabid Boston media throng when things go south. Unfortunately for Kyrie, he was
well-equipped for the former but grossly unprepared for the latter. Boston ain’t Cleveland
when it comes to the fans’ passion for the Celtics, and for that matter the Patriots, Red Sox and
Bruins. It is a fanatical base that demands every spoken word uttered by a superstar be
evaluated, analyzed, and scrutinized by the local television, radio, and print media pundits who
are all too willing to oblige.
Despite the season’s rocky moments, of which there have been far more than anticipated, the
focus was clearly on some of the young guns who performed so admirably in the postseason
without Irving, and of course Gordon Hayward, last year. Jaylen Brown has been the object of
much consternation as his effort has been questioned after going from a starring role last
season to a role player this season. Terry Rozier seems to have his best games when he is
replacing a sidelined Irving and can prove his worth as a full-time starter for any team willing to
pony up the big bucks for his services next year. Gordon Hayward came back as a starter after
suffering a Theismanesque leg snap in the first game of the 2017 season. He did not perform
like the All-Star he was in Utah and has been primarily relegated to the bench. Unlike some of
his teammates, Gordon has not voiced any dissatisfaction with Steven’s move because to do so
would be to ignore the obvious – he’s just not that max contract guy the C’s signed two years
ago. Not yet anyway.
But the drama surrounding the potential blockbuster deal involving Anthony Davis in the
coming offseason has offended the senses of those who are rumored to be trade bait. Jayson
Tatum is one, as is Jaylen Brown amongst others. Apparently, the young guns never got the
memo that basketball at the professional level is a business, and loyalty is but a whimsical
notion that is abruptly dismissed once a GM realizes he can trade his flashy BMW in for a lusty
Lambo. But Kyrie Irving is the key to the deal because if he decides to take his talents elsewhere
after the season, then the devastating one-two punch of Davis and Irving would be no more.
Based on the reported disconnect that Irving has had with his teammates, outside of Tatum,
since early February when New York was mentioned as a possible landing spot for the superstar
next season, Boston may no longer have Kyrie to kick around anymore.