Since the Boston Celtics have hired Brad Stevens as their head coach in 2013, Boston has ranked in the top four in their division and have made it to the playoffs in each season after his first year with the team. The Celtics have also advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in three out of the last four years, but have not been able to make it to the NBA Finals.
With all that being said, there’s a vast amount of notable/veteran reporters and analysts around the NBA community who are questioning if Stevens should remain the coach of the Celtics. And of course with that comes the same type of examination into the general manager and President of Basketball Operations for the Celtics, Danny Ainge.
ESPN reporters believe that Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge could be holding back the Boston Celtics
Jackie Macmullan and Stephen A. Smith of ESPN have both sounded off recently about if Stevens and Ainge are still the right fit for the Boston Celtics and if they are competent enough to get the job done.
"“When I look at Brad Stevens, here’s what I see. I see a guy that knows the game of basketball, that can coach his butt off. My question is the motivational skills that he has available to him – in his arsenal. Are you the kind of guy that can galvanize the troops and maximize the potential around you?” – Stephen A. Smith, per Vinny Simms of Heavy.com“If in fact there was a change and Danny, let’s say, did decide to step down — which he might be close to doing anyway. What is he, 60-something? I don’t think it’s as simple as Austin stepping in. I would think if you’re ownership, you have to say hey — we need a new fresh look at things, we’re gonna mix this up.” – Jackie Macmullan, per Bryan Starr of Heavy.com"
While Smith questioned the leadership skills of Stevens that hasn’t pushed the Boston Celtics any further, Macmullan suggested that Ainge could consider retiring if the Celtics continue to deteriorate in the second half of the season. Both reporters make fair claims, but it’s hard to believe that ownership is essentially just going to give up and move on from two of the most important people in the organization in Stevens and Ainge – who both have received multiple contract extensions in recent years.
Boston Celtics owner hasn’t even thought about potentially parting ways with Stevens or Ainge
Wyc Grousbeck, majority owner of the Boston Celtics, put all these reports and claims to rest in a recent interview with Boston sports radio’s Felger and Mazz.
"“I’m the one who has to make the decision. I’m the one who has to live with the change and say ‘oh my god I let somebody go’, and then immediately either one of those guys would be the top candidate in the league for their jobs. It doesn’t matter about who else is out there. They’re our guys and we’re sticking with them, and it’s not even a question in my mind.” – Wyc Grousbeck on Felger and Mazz"
The thing that throws everybody off about Stevens is the calm and cool coaching style that he uses with his team that doesn’t quite fit the history of the Boston Celtics. People think of the historic championship coaches that have coached in Boston over the years and the strong personalities that demanded both fear and respect from their players and people around the league – coaches like Red Auerbach, Tommy Heinsohn, KC Jones, Bill Russell, and even as recent as Doc Rivers.
However, that calm and cool coaching style Stevens uses that has the fans up in arms, has in fact led the Celtics to consecutive playoff appearances over the last six seasons. Although it may not always look great, the results are quite clear and obvious that Stevens is the right coach for this young and rising team that the Celtics have become.
Stevens can only do so much with a team that has overall depth issues – and that’s a problem only Ainge can fix. It doesn’t seem so likely at this point, but perhaps Ainge could make a positive difference on this team by using the largest TPE [$28.5 million] in league history by the March 25th trading deadline.
The Celtics need some depth at the wing position and possibly another guard who can perform more consistently behind Kemba Walker. The emergence of Robert Williams has many people wondering if there’s now too much depth to the center position, which brings up the theory of potentially shopping Tristan Thompson around in these negotiations
All in all, the Boston Celtics appear to be in good shape in regards to the direction of the team under Stevens. But for the Celtics to advance themselves further in a playoff run, there will need to be some changes made to the roster – which is one of the main responsibilities of Ainge. Bringing in another player would be most ideal for the Celtics as we approach the start of the second half of the season.
But should Stevens or Ainge be fired? Absolutely not.