Brad Stevens has no chance to succeed in as the coach of the Boston Celtics. Zero. Nana. None.
The fact that he’s 36 but looks 16 is only part of it. The fact that his only claim to fame is coaching at Butler, which is about as far removed from the NBA as Dennis Rodman is from sanity, is only part of it.
The No. 1 reason Stevens will fail is simply because most first-time NBA coaches fail, and that’s especially so when they make the leap from college to the pros and have no NBA cred.
The No. 2 reason is Boston will have a bad team for the foreseeable future. The Celtics are rebuilding. They’ve dumped their veteran stars. They’re counting on losing the next two seasons so they can get high draft picks.
The No. 3 reason is because owners, general managers, fans and media have short memories. Sure, now everyone is saying they know it will take time for the Celtics to become contenders again, but history tells us that in two years – when the Celtics have won a total 50 games while losing 114 – nearly everyone will say Stevens has to go; that hiring him was a mistake; that he can’t handle filthy-rich NBA players; that the players didn’t respect him; etc., etc, etc.
The college and pro games may look similar, but they are worlds apart. For one thing, coaches dominate the college game; players run the NBA. With few exceptions, NBA coaches are glorified babysitters. How realistic is it to think a coach making $3 million a year is going to boss a player making $15 million and guaranteed another $80 mill?
How important are NBA coaches? Denver’s George Karl was the NBA coach of the year after his Nuggets won 57 games. He was fired. Both the Clippers and Grizzles easily made the playoffs and are considered up-and-coming franchises, but they chased off their coaches. I could go on with similar tales.
Perhaps nothing illustrates the role of an NBA coach more than the Nets hiring Jason Kidd several weeks after he retired as a player. Kidd may or may not have coaching skills, but the players can relate to him and may even like him. It really doesn’t matter if Deron Williams likes playing with newcomers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Stevens may be a boy whiz when it comes to drawing up the X’s and O’s, but will it matter if the players ignore his coaching?
Wisely, Stevens has a guaranteed 6-year contract so he’ll never have to worry – as they like to say in big-time sports -- about feeding his family. Besides, he can always return to college coaching. Hell, he’ll only be 42 if he somehow hangs with the Celtics for the duration of the contract.
Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. Okay, Stevens has a 2 percent of succeeding with the Celtics, but I’m not going any higher.
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