We are 27 days from the Boston Celtics first preseason opener against the Charlotte Hornets, we know what we were last season but how is Brad Stevens preparing to take on the challenge of working with a new squad?
Ahhhh….September has arrived! The New England Patriots season has begun, college football season is in full swing, the kids have started school, and the weather in Massachusetts is beginning to take a turn. And still my mind is focused on the Boston Celtics.
As a mother of two, I find the the first day of school is both exhilarating and an anxiety-web of questions of how can my kids be successful in this school year. There always has to be an intricate balance of getting the best out of my sons, and making sure that they can still enjoy being themselves. It got me to thinking – this is exactly what Brad Stevens is dealing with right now.
Not a great year
We can discuss over and over what was wrong with the Boston Celtics last season. I am sure when Stevens sat at his desk at the end of the season to reflect, he did what most parents do when they found out their kids didn’t do as well as expected when they received their final grades; he asked himself what could he have done better. Stevens, in speaking during a media scrum over the summer made it clear he did not blame “anyone” for the disappointing Celtics season.
It was obvious Stevens was trying to manage multiple personalities; both big and small, seniority, talent, rehabbing from injuries. All while trying to distribute minutes that would make everyone happy. As I said before, preparation is all about a balancing act. You have to know when to give and when to stand firm. Stevens seemed to struggle with that during the season.
Hero ball, ISO ball, poorly attempted shots rained down, and Stevens used the approach that players would figure it out. Unfortunately that is not how championship contenders are made. Sometimes you have be tough in order to get better results and quality wins. Last season, the Boston Celtics had all the talent to overtake the East, however they never reached the “best version” of themselves that Coach Stevens speaks on repeatedly.
A change on the horizon
A. Sherrod Blakely’s most recent article on Danny Ainge, highlights what Ainge feels is important as the Boston Celtics head into this new season.
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) September 7, 2019
In dealing with this new Celtics roster Stevens, has a chance to return to the gritty, selfless team that prides itself on bleeding green. By introducing team first players like Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter, encouraging the leadership of role players like Marcus Smart, bringing in group of scrappy rookies who seem to understand what it means to be a Boston Celtic; Stevens has a chance to change the culture in the locker room.
Similar to a parent doing a reset at the beginning of the school year; adjustments have to be made, new rules have to be set, expectations drawn out, all with the common goal – winning and winning together.
“The best leaders are warm and demanding.
You’ve got to be able to give your players that feeling that, yes there are expectations, yes there are great demands; but yes we realize you’re a human being and we are here to help.”
— Brad Stevens
— Basketball Psychology (@BallisPsych) September 2, 2019
This is not to say that Stevens can’t coach talent. Despite predictions being delivered by analysts and naysayers regarding the success of this Boston Celtics squad; it’s still a talented group of players. It is about whether Coach Stevens can get the players to buy in, to sacrifice, to get them to be the best version of themselves.
In every media scrum in this off season, it is clear that Stevens is excited to work with this new roster. He seems to have left the issues of last season behind. He is ready to start a new chapter with a new Boston Celtics roster. How far he takes them is anyone’s guess but I expect this team, organization and fans are going to enjoy getting there.
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