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Rating the Boston Celtics Coaches for the 2020-21 Season
The Boston Celtics have one of the most thrilling rosters in the entire with players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylon Brown, who look like future greats.
The Celtics head coach Brad Stevens and his assistants carry the enormous responsibility to turn this crop from an exciting team that many neutrals like to an NBA juggernaut that can challenge for multiple championships.
The main ingredients are there, so it’s about finding the right balance and managing the players properly. In my assessment of the Boston Celtics coaching staff for 2020-21, I explore the roles and skills of Brad Stevens and the people around him.
Brad Stevens – One of the Top Young Head Coaches in the NBA
A quick look at Brad Stevens’ career shows that he was destined for the top. He spent several years as an assistant for the Butler Bulldogs before receiving the head coaching role in 2007.
Stevens won 30 games in his first season and became the third-youngest basketball coach to achieve that feat. He continued developing the team and broke the record for most victories after a coach’s first three seasons in the NCAA.
The Bulldogs also reached the March Madness Final Four for the first time in their history and did the same in the next year.
Butler’s performance brought Stevens several individual awards and nominations. The young coach caught the attention of Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge, who decided that this is the guy to lead the organization forward.
Stevens didn’t have a competitive roster in his maiden 2013-14 NBA season and missed the playoffs. He has managed to get the franchise to the postseason in every campaign since, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals three times, including last season.
His teams failed to overcome that last hurdle on the road to the NBA Finals, but the core of the roster is still young, and I wouldn’t bet against the Celtics in 2020-21. I believe that’s one of the teams that could win the Championship, and Stevens is a big part of it.
All of his teams so far relied on a fluid offense that includes plenty of ball movement, screens, and handoffs that are close to impossible to defend.
At the same time, the Celtics were fourth in defensive rating last year, and they have always been among the elite teams on that end of the floor under Stevens.
If you add the awesome player development that has helped Brown and Tatum blossom in Boston, it’s easy to see why Stevens has the reputation of a future great.
Yeah, and if that’s not enough, the Celtics head coach just casually mentioned that Jayson Tatum gained two inches in the offseason.
But let’s return to coaching and move on to the personnel around Stevens for the 2020-21 NBA season.
Evaluating the Boston Celtics Assistants for 2020-21
Here are the assistants expected to help Stevens in the Boston Celtics coaching and development.
Let’s begin with the longest-serving member of the coaching staff. Jamie Young joined the Celtics in 2000 and started his career with the organization as a video coordinator. He became a scout in 2007 and was once again promoted in 2011.
Young has been the assistant coach ever since. Everyone around the Celtics respects him for his work ethic and overall contribution to the franchise.
Jay Larranaga is the other assistant that arrived before Brad Stevens. His exciting career as a player in Europe helped him expand his basketball knowledge and become a coach after his retirement.
The early days of Larranaga saw him coach in the NBA Developmental League, where he had success in terms of both results and sending players to the NBA.
Many expected him to become the Celtics head coach after Doc Rivers’ departure, but Stevens was appointed instead. Larranaga opted to stay as his assistant and has been pivotal in pretty much every area.
Another former player that found his way to coaching is Jerome Allen. He had a solid college basketball career before a bribery scandal put an end to his time in the NCAA. Allen barely avoided jail time and was in a tough spot.
The Celtics decided to give him a chance and appointed him as an assistant in 2015. Allen has been a valuable member of the staff since, and his main responsibility lies in player development.
Next in line is Scott Morrison, who is one of the youngest assistants of Brad Stevens. The coach impressed while leading Lakehead University, which opened the door to the NBA D-League.
He was excellent as the head coach of Maine Red Claws, and the Celtics acquired his services in 2017. Morrison is an all-rounder who can contribute in many areas, including day-to-day coaching and player development.
Joe Mazzulla is the big enigma on the Celtics staff, at least to me. He’s had a rather modest career before joining the Celtics in 2019, but it’s obvious that Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens see something in him, and I’m curious to watch his development.
The latest thing we know about Mazzulla is that he’s helping Romeo Langford’s recovery, and he obviously is expected to work with young players, at least at this point.
The Celtic first appointed Brandon Bailey as a video interim, and he worked his way up to become a coaching assistant in 2019 after a successful stint as the head coach of the Main Red Claws, the organization’s G-League affiliate.
Evan Turner decided to call it a day on his career as an NBA player in 2020, but he won’t be going away anytime soon. The early rumors that he would join Stevens’ staff came true, and he’s part of the Celtics now.
Turner’s initial role would be to help with player development.
My Celtics Coaching Staff Verdict
One thing that becomes pretty obvious in my Boston Celtics coaching staff analysis is that the organization relies on one of the youngest groups in the entire NBA.
That could be a cause for concerns in some cases, but I don’t think that’s one of them. The Celtics have hired extremely talented specialists led by a guy who could easily end up as a Hall of Fame head coach in Brad Stevens.
If you add the talented Celtics roster to the equation, this looks like one of the best teams in the East and a true contender for the NBA Championship in 2020-21.