A little over two weeks ago Dwayne Casey, the (former) coach of the Toronto Raptors was selected as the National Basketball Coaches Association’s Coach of The Year for 2017-2018. He got canned… like immediately afterward, due to Bron Bron making a mockery of him, his team and the city of Toronto in a 3-game reverse gangbang (when one guy makes sweet, not-so-tender love to an entire 16-man NBA roster). Casey getting this award and getting fired within a one week span isn’t even the craziest thing about the whole situation; that honor belongs to Brad Stevens not receiving a SINGLE vote for coach of the year. When it happened I did not feel the need to comment on it, mainly because I didn’t feel like gassing up Brad Stevens during the playoffs when we were about to face the supposed future of the NBA, and I did not want to have to eat my words if the series went as everyone was expecting it. In hindsight I am in fact a spineless idiot and the 76ers were perhaps the biggest joke in the history of playoff basketball. Hot. Takes. Now, being a New England fan I am used to our teams getting no love from the media in post-season superlatives (@TB12), but this one is different because this award is voted on by the 30 head coaches in the NBA. All coaches in the NFL recognize Bill’s supremacy and kiss the ring accordingly, so, sup with Brad Stevens not getting a single nod from one of his peers? I have a theory, but first, some background.
Let me start by saying this: Brad Stevens was by far the best coach in the NBA this season. Don’t believe me? The proof is in the pudding, bitches. Everybody had this Celtic’s season chalked up to an L about 5 minutes into the first quarter of the first game of the season. Bron Bron, recognizing the impending threat to his Eastern Conference dominance, bumped Gordon Hayward while he was jumping for the ball and watched gleefully as Hayward plummeted awkwardly to the ground and shattered his ankle into a million pieces. “Phew, I’ve got one more year before these guys spank me in the playoffs and I have to ‘take my talents’ elsewhere if I ever want to see the NBA Finals again” he thought. Oh boy was he wrong! Brad Stevens didn’t miss a beat, and the Celtics went on to win 15 straight, and 22 out of their first 26 (kinda sounds like I’m talking about the Red Sox, right? What a year to be us). Remember how everybody was freaking out about the Celtics’ defense when Danny Ainge dished Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder over the offseason? I’ll admit it, I was a part of that group. Though Jae Crowder is a great defender, he’s also as whiny as LeBron so I didn’t really mind his departure, but man I LOVED Avery Bradley and was seriously bummed to see him go. The dude was just such a team guy; a grinder without a diva bone in his body who played his ass off night in and night out and was a perennial top 5 perimeter defender in the league. Not to mention he was the longest tenured Celtic. This year’s team, especially with the loss of Hayward, was supposed to be lacking in the leadership department. But guess what? None of that mattered: the Celts had the best defense in the NBA and went on to win 55 games. They also ended up pulling the 2 seed in the playoffs, which would be hilarious in hindsight considering what Bron Bron did to the Raptors if he hadn’t done almost the exact same thing to us last year (4-1). Anyway, by all measures this team has been a massive success. Brad Stevens took two kids who are under 22 years old (Jaylen Brown is 21, and Jayson Tatum is 19 YEARS OLD) and put them in roles that have allowed them to flourish and become two of the most promising young players in the league. He also masterfully coached around Kyrie’s weak ass knees, and did a great job integrating Marcus Morris into the lineup once it became apparent that he was not going to be in prison for the remainder of the season. Brad Stevens took a team that nobody expected anything from, that was plagued with injuries all season, that was one of the youngest teams in the league, that was the middle of that pack in payroll, and is now one game away from the NBA finals
So, what gives? Why did every other coach refuse to recognize the greatness that is Brad Stevens and this year’s Celtics team? Here it is: they are scared as shit. The entire NBA is shaking in their britches right now watching what this team is doing. Ty Lue is probably waking up every night in cold sweats from nightmares of Brad Stevens, pimping to the gills in a spiffy all-green suit, with shamrock green horns and a bag full of the souls of NBA coaches he has snatched, double fisting the 2019 and 2020 championship trophies while standing on the skulls of LeBron, KD, Steph, James Harden, Russ, and the rest of the cohort that ran the NBA until he rolled into Beantown. Every other coach is probably going through a similar internal crisis, and this vote was their last-ditch ever to throw a wrench in the Celtics’ plan for world domination. Those 29 weasels are desperate, and they are undoubtedly hoping that by refusing to acknowledge Brad Stevens, they will somehow cause him to start doubting himself. I’ll admit it, it is a fair mental warfare tactic. They are essentially resorting to schoolyard bullying to try and make Brad think he is doing something wrong, that the Celtics’ success is a fluke, and that he is not the best coach in the NBA. They want him to feel the uncertainty, the pain, and the demoralization that they are all feeling at this moment, and they hope that it will somehow change he way that he is coaching and will give the other 29 teams a chance to compete against the 2018-19 Celtics who will have a healthy Kyrie and Gordon Hayward, as well as group of young talent with serious playoff experience under their belt. I honestly feel sorry for those 29 coaches, their teams, and their fanbases. These Celtics are young, hungry, and not going anywhere. Regardless of what happens in this years playoffs, the next Boston sports dynasty is here, and oh boy is it delicious.
P.S. Celts in 7.