The former Butler head coach, Brad Stevens, was a college basketball wizard.  He led a group of goofy white guys (apologies, Gordon Heyward) to the NCAA championship game in consecutive seasons, instantly becoming the most sought-after coach in college basketball.  His knowledge of the game shares few rivals, but his ability to lead a team of grown men pales in comparison.  As coach of the Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens is in over his head.

Celtics at Bucks

I’ve seen firsthand just how in over his head Brad Stevens is.  I scooped seats directly behind the Celtics bench at the Milwaukee Bucks game this past Saturday night for the equivalent of a bag of magical beans, as the Bucks are as terrible as their fans are at making signs:


These people seriously spray-painted “OJ” and “MAYO” on 2 poster boards, and put an orange juice box and a mayonnaise jar on sticks and brought them to the game.  Worst. Fans. Ever.  Sorry, just had to share that.  Now back to Brad Stevens.

The Celtics coach had a blank stare on his face the entire game.  He was going through the motions, as I’m sure he realizes the TV cameras are on him at all times, but his players were entirely unresponsive.  He’d look over to the bench, say a few words, and they’d go in his players’ ears and out the other.  The Celtics players have maybe 5% of the respect for Brad Stevens that they had for Doc Rivers, and I’m probably being generous.


The above photo is after a time-out in the 4th quarter.  Can you guess where Brad Stevens is?  He’s right behind Kris Humphries’ sweaty mug.  The only player giving Stevens the time of day is Vitor Faverani, and I’m not confident he even speaks a lick of English.  The lack of command Stevens has over his players is laughable.  Poor guy.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Brad Stevens goes home, stares himself down in the mirror, and cries after every single game.  He sold out, and he knows it.  While I can’t blame the guy for going out and getting that NBA paper, it’s just a shame to see one of college basketball’s most promising young coaches become a shell of himself.


  • carter branstetter

    Gotta love when someone bases their analysis of a coach not even 20 games into his first season on their experience being behind the bench for one game.

    Do us all a favor. Stop writing, or write for some other team. I’m pretty sure the Knicks could use someone like you.

    Boston needs people on board with what’s going on right now. Either get on the bus with our team or get the hell outta the way.

    • Hook

      Gotta love when Boston loses to the worst team in the NBA for the 2nd time (Celts account for 2 of Milwaukee’s 3 wins on the season), and one of their fans gets all upset over a negative article about their coach. I am not a Boston fan nor a Celtics beat writer. I just call it how I see it. Have you been so close to Brad Stevens for an entire game that you can get a read on him? I doubt it.

      I have 11 years of coaching experience. Anyone who has ever coached a day in their lives knows that if your players don’t listen to you and respect you, it doesn’t matter how much knowledge of the game you have, you’ll never get through to them. The only time any of the Celtics players gave Brad Stevens the time of day was when they were called to go in the game. Other than that, they didn’t give a shit what he had to say. I wish you could see the blank stare on Stevens’ face for the duration of the game. It was the look of an empty, broken man.

      I’m glad you’re excited about your new coach and want to rally behind your team in the face of adversity, but attacking bloggers and telling them not to write isn’t the answer. I suggest you pony up the dollars to sit behind the Celtics’ bench for a game and see for yourself what I saw. We’ll even let you write a guest post about it on our site if you capture some good images and video.

      • Joe Bball

        I don’t think it’s realistic to judge Stevens on a lackluster performance by his team. Yeah, they lost to the lowly Bucks…but you’ve seen the Celtic roster, no? They have no real center (Rookie Olynyk and Rookie Vitor) and no real point guard (Jordan Crawford). Their vet leader is Gerald freakin’ Wallace.

        Without Rondo running the show, they are an absolute turnover factory.

        I think Stevens is one of those coaches who does the majority of his coaching during practice. They should play as they practice.

        Maybe if you attended the Miami game, you might have thought different? Stevens wasn’t very animated in that game either. Not even a fist pump on the game winning shot.

        I’m not saying Stevens is the next great coach, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far. I can understand you call it like you see it…but one game?

        Let’s face it, looking at their roster, they weren’t expected to contend…they should be a lottery team. If they make the playoffs, even in the lowly east, Stevens will have done a great job.

        • Hook

          I’m not judging his performance. I’m judging his demeanor and ability to command attention from his players. Unless you were at the Heat game sitting behind Brad Stevens and can tell me that his players were listening to him during the game, I fail to accept your rebuttal of my statements.

          I don’t think a coach should have to be animated. They’re not fans, they’re coaches. But coaches should command the attention of their players, and Brad Stevens simply doesn’t. Are you going to tell me that the particular night where I had the best possible view to analyze how a coach interacts with his players would be different from any other game?

          • Joe Bball

            Well, you wrote an article titled, “Celtics Coach Brad Stevens is in Over His Head” and based it on the observations of one game. I can probably assume that you haven’t attended any of the other games this year or any of their practices. Your sample size is just too small.

            I mean, I could have written the same article about Spoelstra after the game LeBron bumped him on the way back to his bench, but that would have been very premature.

            I’m pretty much a results oriented person, so if the coach doesn’t “look like” he’s got their attention and they still win games, there’s not much to say. Frankly, I think Stevens has done a pretty good job (wins-wise) considering the lack of talent on his team. In fact, any team with no center and Jordan Crawford as their starting PG that can go 8-12 is an impressive feat.

            Now if the title of this article were, “Nets Coach Jason Kidd is in Over His Head,” I would totally agree :).

          • Hook

            Do you honestly think it matters who coaches that Heat team? Any coach in the NBA can win with that squad. Ultimately it’s the players who win (and lose) the games. I am fully aware that coaching and game-plans do matter, but not as much at the NBA level as it does in college and lower levels of basketball.

            If I had simply watched a few Celtics games on TV (I have) and wrote this article, I would expect some flack from Boston fans, but the fact that I was there and could hear and see everything for an entire game gives me a unique perspective that I’m sure you haven’t had. It didn’t “look like” the players weren’t listening to him. They simply weren’t. Not one of them gave a shit what he had to say. I can repeat myself until I’m blue in the face, but I guess the only way you’ll understand is if you buy tickets and sit behind their bench and see for yourself.

            I had to turn down courtside tickets at the Bulls/Pistons game this Saturday night because I’m out of town. I would have loved to compare how the players listen to Thibs as opposed to what I saw in Milwaukee.

            Oh, and I agree, Jason Kidd has no business coaching that Nets team. And God help us if the Knicks fire Woodson and let Allan Houston take over…

      • Carter Branstetter

        I’m hardly upset at a negative article. If there is something to be sufficiently negative about then by all means point it out. My problem with your article is the basis behind your claim.

        You didn’t provide any evidence that showed, for instance, players from last seasons roster performing worse than previous seasons. You didn’t provide any quotes from players painting Stevens in a negative light. You didn’t give any analysis of failed game plans, rotations, or how he’s chosen to use players (Sullinger at center, Crawford at point to name a couple). You failed to give any examples of clear lack of effort from any member of the team.

        No. Here’s what you did; you said Brad Stevens was over his head as an NBA coach because of what you saw in one game sitting somewhere behind the bench of a game that was a segababa in a month that saw them play 18 games.

        You fail to mention the wins over Miami and Atlanta. You also fail to mention that with the exception of 2-3 games the C’s have been in position to win every game they’ve played. But because we’ve lost twice to Milwaukee (who made the playoffs last year and have started off poor this year) you seem to believe that further bolsters your beliefs about where Stevens is.

        You claim to have been in coaching for 11 years, yet you show none of the wisdom in your analysis that should come along with such experience. If you do feel the need to write, I would suggest writing about teams that you are familiar with and know at least a little something about.

        • Hook

          I am an avid fan of college and NBA basketball and have been to and watched more than my fair share of games. Sorry that I hurt your feelings talking negatively about the head coach of your beloved Celtics, but you’re still missing the point.

          The Bucks, much like the Celtics, gutted their roster from 2012-2013 to this year. Pointing out that last years’ Bucks team made the playoffs is a moot point.

          Again, I’m not analyzing how the team has performed, I’m analyzing how players respond to a coach. I had an over the shoulder view for an entire game and saw almost every single player (with the exception of a bench-warming Brazilian rookie) completely ignore their head coach. I witnessed Brad Stevens go through the motions and stare blankly off into the distance for several moments at a time.

          I was at the Butler vs Marquette game in Kentucky back in March. Every single player on that Butler squad gave Brad Stevens their utmost attention when he spoke. While I wasn’t directly behind the bench at that game, I could see those kids paying attention to their head coach. They respected him. From what I saw Saturday night, the Celtics players don’t.

          Based on these observations, I feel Brad Stevens is better suited for the college game and is in over his head at the NBA level.

  • G

    Ainge is the guy that is in over his head. He created this mess and is looking for someone to bail him out.


    Boy were you wrong. Very good job.

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