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The Brad Stevens thread - More Clueless Than Alicia Silverstone

Discussion in 'Mark Blount's Port Cellar: Celtics Forum' started by DeJesus Built My Hotrod, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. DeJesus Built My Hotrod

    DeJesus Built My Hotrod Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    After this evening's game, Stevens NBA coaching record is 175-164. If you throw out his first season when the C's went 25-57, the C's with Steven's full imprint are 150-107 or a 58% winning percentage and that includes his second season where they won just 40 games.

    Let's look at his body of work with players. For sake of ease, I will simply use Evan Turner who, imho, should make sure that Stevens never pays if they dine out together after his Portland contract. Setting aside this season's SSS, Turner clearly had his two best NBA seasons under Stevens in Boston. Before that, he was an NBA cast-off and since then, he got the Blazers to pay him handsomely to revert to some of his worse habits. We can do a similar exercise with other players who left recently but its best to let the evidence build before looking at Crowder, Bradley and even Thomas. I suspect we will find that these guys aren't as effective once out of Stevens' system.

    The guy has managed to win over a wide range of players including grizzled veterans and NBA rookies, molding them into cohesive units who essentially play better than the sum of their parts. And he has done this despite being relatively youthful and having no prior Association experience.

    I love Popovich who is one of the best professional sports coaches ever, I think Steve Kerr is actually underrated given all the talent he has to work with in Oakland, if only because of how seamlessly he manages all the different egos. Spoelstra turned out to be a fantastic coach, despite many NBA pundits thinking he was merely a Riley puppet and caretaker of the Miami big three. There are also a host of other very good coaches in the NBA including Snyder, Vogel, Stotts, Joerger, (hi SRN!), Brown and even D'Antoni. However, for my money, Stevens is better than all of them, for this team and this time. Including any of the names above, there is no one I would prefer to be running the show for the C's.

    Finally, here is a recent quote from Pop on Stevens:

    He really is.
     
  2. lovegtm

    lovegtm Member SoSH Member

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    If age weren't a factor, and there were a coach's draft, it would pretty clearly be Pop and Stevens going 1 and 2, in some order. If I had a gun to my head, and had to draft one, I'd take Stevens.

    The most remarkable thing about Brad is how he gets tons more out of players, even when they're already established. IT wasn't young when he came to the Celtics, and Brad found an entirely new offensive level for him. What he's done with Kyrie is almost more impressive: everyone thought he was who he was, and it took Stevens fewer than 5 games to take his defensive intensity to places no one thought it would ever go during the regular season.
     
  3. BigSoxFan

    BigSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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    In a hypothetical world where we’d actually consider trading Stevens, what kind of compensation would you need? A high lotto pick doesn’t even come close for me. I think I’d basically need a top 10 player in his prime to even consider. Stevens is that valuable to this franchise. Just a hell of a job by Danny in the post Big 3 era.
     
  4. DeJesus Built My Hotrod

    DeJesus Built My Hotrod Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Given the current make-up of the Celtics, would you trade Stevens for any of these guys straight up assuming they were under control for the next three years at least: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kristaps Porzingis?

    I would have to think about it and I am not sure any of them or any other NBA stars, ascending or fully realized, are really worth trading him.
     
  5. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

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    I like Brad. I think he is a great head coach and has maximized the talent he has had on the court. He isn't better than Pop though. Brad has won one game in the CF in what has been an extremely weak conference for the duration of his time in Boston. Saying he is better than Pop is like saying Mike Zimmer is a better head coach than BB. It's apples to oranges at this point. Pop's track record of success and his ability to continue to win and develop players picked at the end of the first round into solid professionals is unprecedented and I'm not ready to say Stevens is better than one of the 2-3 best coaches ever.
     
  6. HomeRunBaker

    HomeRunBaker bet squelcher SoSH Member

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    I'm going to assume that this is purely hyperbole. Brad is in the top 20% of NBA Head Coaches with the likes of Pop, Spoelstra, Van Gundy, Carlisle, Rivers (unpopular here but he's legit top teir in my book as a coach just awful as a GM), etc but no coach in this game is as valuable as a top player not even Pop.

    The debate I always found interesting is how large the gap is between this top tier (maybe even eliminate Pop as he's on his own Belichick Island in this regard) and the Fizdales, Waltons, Budenholzer, Kerr, Snyder, etc.......my guess is the difference is very little until you get to the bottom half of the leagues coaches.

    Then there is the conversation about how valuable a coach is which has been my point since forever. The players play the game and it's a stars league, so all you need is a competent leader who allows the players to play (see Kerr, KC Jones, Phil, and others). Last season, Mike D'Antoni was almost unanimously voted as COY while Tyronn Lue walked away with a Championship Trophy......which kinda plays into the point I've always had.
     
  7. Sprowl

    Sprowl Emile de Becque Dope

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    Evan Turner owes Brad Stevens. So does Jae Crowder. Jordan Crawford might too. Brad Stevens is really good at leveraging the specialized talents of NBA mediocrities. Is there any role player who gets better after leaving the Celtics? Personally, I'm rooting for Kelly Olynyk to bust out, but that's mostly because O Canada.

    How does Stevens excel?

    Is he great at Xs-and-Os? He seems to be very good at designing two-man games that get the advantageous matchup he wants (but it helps when you have talents like Irving and Horford to work with).

    Does he give great inspirational speeches during timeouts? I've only heard a few (they should mic up the huddles), and the only one that sticks in mind was:

    "You guys are playing like your dog just died."
     
  8. The Social Chair

    The Social Chair Member SoSH Member

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    The difference between Brad, Kerr, Pop and the other good coaches is the way players respect them. Players don't like Doc and Van Gundy.

    Kelly Olynyk last week
    Former Celtics and other star players from ,LeBron to Melo, have such respect for him as a coach and a person.
     
  9. DannyDarwinism

    DannyDarwinism Member SoSH Member

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    I love Stevens, but c'mon.
     
  10. DannyDarwinism

    DannyDarwinism Member SoSH Member

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    If it meant watching the Cs roll out a Kyrie-Hayward-Kawhi-Tatum-Horford line-up next year, I'd settle for Grady Little as coach.
     
  11. Devizier

    Devizier Member SoSH Member

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    I don't know if he's the greatest ever, but it is fun watching the Celtics play like a junior version of the Spurs.
     
  12. DannyDarwinism

    DannyDarwinism Member SoSH Member

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    I am interested in the general consensus here of what Stevens's value is in terms of picks/players (or BPM, more generally) but I just think the Giannis/KD/Kawhi type two-way superstars' value is so skewed in a game where there's only five guys on the court at a time that no coach could approach it. Talent generally wins in the NBA.

    But in the spirit of this thread...

    [​IMG]

    Kyrie's motivations on the defensive end certainly don't all stem from Brad, but if this comes close to holding up for the season, it will be pretty remarkable.
     
  13. HomeRunBaker

    HomeRunBaker bet squelcher SoSH Member

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    You have a short memory if you don't think Doc's players didn't love him here.
     
  14. OurF'ingCity

    OurF'ingCity Member SoSH Member

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    The best thing about having a great young coach that players universally seem to respect and admire is that it creates a snowball effect where as Stevens interacts with more and more players, more and more players want to play for him. I think it's pretty obvious that Hayward would not have signed with the C's were it not for Stevens (though obviously that is a pretty unique circumstance) and I suspect Kyrie might not have been as enthused about a move to Boston if we just had some re-tread as a coach.

    Also, I know this is the Stevens thread and not the Danny Ainge thread, but Danny deserves major props for finding and then luring Stevens to the NBA. I can't imagine it was an easy decision for Stevens given how much he clearly loved working with young players and I'm sure every major college basketball program had already come calling or was about to, so whatever Danny (and the C's owners) did/said to convince Stevens that moving to the NBA to take the helm of what was then a really bad team had to have been pretty impressive.
     
  15. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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  16. SoxJox

    SoxJox Member SoSH Member

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    Here’s the thing, and I have nothing more tangible other than a gut instinct upon which to base it: Stevens is the coach the Celtics need to make Boston a destination, now and even more so into the future. He is building that foundation, sprinkled heavily with a quickly-growing sense of respect not just within the C’s organization, but across the league. I have to believe that players will take notice of that, if they haven’t already. The guy is 31. I’m not quite sure his ceiling can even be defined at the moment. The thing that tends to make me shy away from trading for XYZ picks is that he will outlast the careers of any and all of the combination of players involved in a hypothetical trade. Why trade away that much longer term of performance – and, hopefully/likely – results?
     
  17. Was (Not Wasdin)

    Was (Not Wasdin) family crest has godzilla SoSH Member

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    I'm not sure if Stevens is the NBA's best coach, but he might be the best defensive coach. He has always been defense-oriented, and has done ok with what he has had to work with, up to now. I think a number of the moves made after last season were to get guys in that would work in his system. Celts are No. 1 in defensive rating right now. I don't know that they will stay there all year, there will be some drop off. But next season and beyond, between getting Hayward back, more development for Tatum, Brown and Semi, and maybe having a shot to draft a rim protector, I expect this team will be at the top of the D Rating charts for years, while having enough guys who can score.
     
  18. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    NBA roster building is different then NFL roster building -- especially as it relates to end of roster earning potential -- but "players want to play for him" is something that the Patriots get to leverage with Belichick. From the outside, it seems different, in that nobody describes Belichick in the terms that Olynyk did above, but I get the sense that players on other teams are looking at *their* own coaches and often shaking their head when they play the Patriots or the Celtics.
     
  19. luckiestman

    luckiestman Son of the Harpy SoSH Member

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    He's 41
     
  20. SoxJox

    SoxJox Member SoSH Member

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    Well, the 3 is next to the 4 and I have fat thumbs.
     
  21. bowiac

    bowiac I've been living a lie. Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I think the answer depends on how committed you are to hiring a good coach to replace Stevens. If your alternative is Ty Lue, then give me Stevens. If Ainge is gonna try and hire a good coach on the other hand, I'd still take superstar.
     
  22. lovegtm

    lovegtm Member SoSH Member

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    It also depends on how much better you think Stevens is than the Spo/Stotts/Vogel/Snyder/Kerr type guys. If you think it's a small difference, you take the superstar. If you think Pop and Stevens provide a unique value delta and will stick around for 30ish years, you might take the coach.

    I'd take the superstar too, but I'd have to think about it for awhile. Which on its own is pretty impressive with regard to Stevens.
     
  23. luckiestman

    luckiestman Son of the Harpy SoSH Member

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    I'll take Stevens.
     
  24. JimBoSox9

    JimBoSox9 will you be my friend? SoSH Member

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    I mean, it's insanity to suggest that Pop doesn't still hold the crown until further notice, at least for any value conversation that doesn't include future career length. It might be just as crazy, though, to lump Brad in with a second tier of Spolestra et al. He's closer to Pop than he is to that group. Outside of maybe getting the rest of The Freak's career, i honestly dunno if I'd be willing to give him up.
     
  25. LondonSox

    LondonSox Robert the Deuce SoSH Member

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    Stevens is clearly in the top tier non pop division, and he's EXCEPTIONAL at putting players in good situations which maximizes the strengths and hides their flaws.

    However, I do think his coaching style is more effective in the regular season than the short bench plenty of time for analysis playoffs.

    As for this
    This is utterly stupid. Anyone with any brain would trade Stevens for any of those. Any GM should be fired on the spot for not.

    What is his value is an interesting question. I think he's probably worth a lottery pick, but would any rebuilding team give up talent for a coach? Given they'll be bad with or without him. The teams who should be interested are like the Bucks, mid range teams with lots of upside and a horrible coach. They easily get to value the Celtics would want.

    I'm a big fan of Brett Brown and he came from Pop school. I don't know how easily I'd switch him for Stevens, even though Stevens is likely better. Just as an example, I certainly would be reluctant to pay for that swap.
     
  26. DeJesus Built My Hotrod

    DeJesus Built My Hotrod Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Let me clarify my views on Pop. He has been the best coach in the NBA for a long time now. That said, I am not sure that he can retain that mantle going forward. The man is going to be 69 years old before the All Star break and it's a fair bet that he will hang it up sooner rather than later. All things equal, I would not swap Stevens for him at this point in their respective careers.

    Regarding other coaches I did omit Fizdale and that was a huge oversight. He deserves to be considered in one of the top tiers of coaches. I might also put Budenholzer and Kidd up there as well.

    Regarding Doc, I love him but his coaching record has taken a huge hit since landing in LA. He is a good manager of veterans in general but that has been called into question of late too given all the smoke out of Clipper-land.

    Finally, I am not saying you don't trade any coach for an NBA elite talent straight up. However, I would be more hesitant than others here depending on the player and length of control. Coaching isn't as important as talent but for teams that are close in the latter category, the former can provide the edge.
     
  27. Merkle's Boner

    Merkle's Boner Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Another way to look at his value would be to consider how much would you pay him? I don't know how much he is making, but I would hate to lose him over money. Is $10 million/year too much?
     
  28. The Social Chair

    The Social Chair Member SoSH Member

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    That was 10 years ago.
     
  29. zoolight.space

    zoolight.space Guest

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    And, critically, before his son was in the league. I would bet other guys in the league notice that his son, who would otherwise not be on an NBA roster, is getting the treatment he is from Doc.
     
  30. Sam Ray Not

    Sam Ray Not Member SoSH Member

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    Hmm, no mention of poor ol' Stephen Kerr, who turned a 51-31 / #6 seeded roster that very few people (on this board or elsewhere) considered a serious title contender into one of the two greatest NBA teams of all time? The addition of KD has relegated him to "I could coach this team" status, but lest we forget, back when KD was just a twinkle in Bob Myers' eye, the Warriors went 140-24 (!!!) over two seasons in a brutal conference, with 31 playoff wins, one championship and one near miss (Motiejunas' sweat + LeBron teabag, argh).

    All time NBA regular season record (min. 250 games)
    1. Kerr .837 (215-42)
    2. Jackson .704
    3. Cunningham .698
    4. Popovich .694
    5. KC Jones .674

    All time NBA playoff record (min. 50 games)
    1. Kerr .758 (47-15)
    2. Jackson .688
    3. Kundla .632
    4. Cunningham .629
    5. Spoelstra .619

    Kerr is so far ahead of #2 Phil Jackson by winning pct. that if he retired today and Jackson came back and went 82-0 for the next fifteen seasons (1230-0), Kerr would still have him beat.

    On topic: I freaking love Stevens; on the specific question of whether he's the league's best coach right now I think he definitely has a case. But I mean ... of course you have to flip him for guys like Giannis, KD, AD and Kawhi. (Steph, Harden and Westbrook are iffier since they're trickier fits with Kyrie). The Cs would obliterate the Cavs — even an idealized playoffs Cavs that totally had its sh*t together — with their current roster plus any one of those four guys and a solid coach in the Budenholzer/Fizdale/Malone mold.

    Put slightly differently (for DeJesus Brohamer if no one else): if you were facing the Warriors in the Finals, would you rather do so with Durant on your team and Stevens coaching the Warriors, or with the status quo?

    One point in Stevens' favor, though: he'll probably still be coaching at a super-high level 25-30 years from now, when Giannis, Towns, Doncic et al. are old and retired.
     
    #30 Sam Ray Not, Nov 7, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  31. Eddie Jurak

    Eddie Jurak Go Leafs Go Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Interesting thought, but completely unsupported by evidence of any kind.
     
  32. OurF'ingCity

    OurF'ingCity Member SoSH Member

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    Not necessarily disagreeing with you because I just don't know enough, but what is your basis for this statement? Off the top of my head, I can't recall ever thinking Stevens was performing worse or differently in the playoffs, and it's not like the C's have massively underperformed expectations in the playoffs either (losing to Atlanta two years ago wasn't great but whoever won that series was getting smoked by Cleveland anyway in the next round so it's not like a different coach would have made much of a difference).

    Edit: basically what Eddie Jurak said.
     
  33. Eddie Jurak

    Eddie Jurak Go Leafs Go Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I'd argue that Stevens won game 7 of the Wizards series last year with a key third quarter coahcing move.
     
  34. Manzivino

    Manzivino Member SoSH Member

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    I think his playoff style is going to look better now that he can run out lineups without obvious defensive liabilities for 35+ minutes a night. Also they maxed out their playoff EV last year with a gimpy IT, that’s pretty effective.
     
  35. DeJesus Built My Hotrod

    DeJesus Built My Hotrod Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I mentioned Kerr in my original post. If anything, he is penalized for the roster he has instead of receiving credit for managing it as well as he does.
     
  36. LondonSox

    LondonSox Robert the Deuce SoSH Member

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    He get's people into good situations, those situations are more limited in a playoff series, as the teams use shorter rotations. Also he uses 10/11 players to help get them the best situations. Clearly not as possible in the playoffs either.

    I'm not talking about his play calling, I'm highlighting he's good at exposing the weakest players, who play less in the playoffs. I'm not saying his SLOB plays are worse or anything.
     
  37. cheech13

    cheech13 Member SoSH Member

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    Stevens has been an excellent coach thus far and I'm bullish on him going forward, but he doesn't have nearly the body of work necessary to be considered the best coach in the NBA.

    Popovich is of course the easy answer. He has the titles and longevity, of course, but the stuff on the margins is great as well. He worked well with superstars, as well as international players, 2nd round picks and role players. He built defense-first teams and then switched to pass-first offenses that spread the floor. He was ahead of the curve on resting players and developing a deep, interchangeable bench. He's in the conversation for best ever and Stevens isn't there yet.

    Beyond that you have Kerr, who has been not just good, but historically great so far. He took what some thought was an average team to a title. He also took a team full of superstars integrating an MVP candidate and met or exceeded expectations. He has presided over a top-ranked offense and a top-ranked defense. On one hand it's hard to separate his coaching form the players he has but coaching elite players is a skill as well.

    Carlisle hasn't been mentioned, but he won a title with Dirk and a band of misfits. Until recently his teams were consistently good and his job is as secure as any coach in the league.

    Spoelstra won with superstars. He overachieved with role players. He helped developed non-entities like Whiteside into borderline superstars.

    There are guys like Stotts, Budenholzer, Brown and Clifford as well who are extremely well regarded by their peers but haven't necessarily had the talent in place to be taken seriously. Their resumes are incomplete.

    Sometimes coaches look great initially but the league catches up. D'Antoni and Thibodeau were borderline revolutionary when they first arrived, but staggered after a few seasons when other teams caught up to what they are doing. Let's see Stevens adapt when the league shifts away from the current style. Let's see him work with contemptuous superstars or see how he reacts and motivates when his team has championship aspirations. It's not that he can't do those things but he's still young and relatively untested on a lot of fronts. There's more to coaching that just maximizing the talents of the Jordan Crawfords and Evan Turners of the world.
     
  38. Eddie Jurak

    Eddie Jurak Go Leafs Go Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Some of what you point out is a product of the talent (or lack thereof) Brad has had to work with in the playoffs. Brad's playoff teams have not exactly been loaded and he's never had his team anywhere near 100% in the playoffs.
     
  39. RetractableRoof

    RetractableRoof Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    When he has a lesser team, he can use the skills you acknowledge to get them to the best situations and as you say be successful in the regular season and fighting uphill with a lesser team those match ups may be lessened in the playoffs - though I think he won the Washington playoff series last year.

    However as his team increasingly has better athletes/players the same coaching skills will present opportunities in the playoffs. The margins between those players skills will potentially be smaller - but that is when the coaching skills are at their most valuable. The ability to swing (admittedly smaller) percentages in his teams favor is one of THE values of a good coach. Compare that with Lue in Cleveland who appears to be getting pushed around by the tide in the playoffs.

    Edit: Or what Eddie Jurak said in much fewer words.
     
  40. Eddie Jurak

    Eddie Jurak Go Leafs Go Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    This. The most obvious moment was early in the third quarter of game 7, with Washington starting to pull away, when he lifted IT and went with a defensive lineup that shut down Beal and Wall and allowed the Celtics to turn the game around.
     
  41. slamminsammya

    slamminsammya Member SoSH Member

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    I am not sure what the best way is to evaluate coaches. Its pretty apparent when a coach is terrible in the NBA. Bad defense, lack of effort, no discernible system on offense generally tell the tale. But most of the coaches considered to be "great" also have the benefit of coaching great players.

    Some people in the stats community criticize Brad a lot for overtinkering with lineups, using too many and using ones that aren't successful. I don't necessarily agree but its another viewpoint.

    He has certainly managed to maximize the talents of some guys who were flat out scrubs. IT obviously went from good to great. And players tend to speak highly of him.

    Pop is a cut above though.
     
  42. Reverend

    Reverend for king and country Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Forgive my ignorance if I’m missing something, but wouldn’t Morris for Tatum in the third against the Thunder the other night, though obviously regular season, also be an example of a “short bench” adjustment that paid dividends? Not unlike the one you mention above?
     
  43. LondonSox

    LondonSox Robert the Deuce SoSH Member

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    I could be wrong on the playoff thing, it's just a theory and one that he'll likely adjust to.

    I'm sorry if I only said he was maybe the second best coach in the league and highlighted a open question about his style.

    It is very hard to separate coaching from talent, I thought Brett Brown did one of the best jobs in the league on the worst team in the league (talent wise). But now the sixers are competitive is what people care about.

    Stevens is doing the BB thing of having someone shine in a specific role, then get signed elsewhere and the player fail in a bigger role. That seems easier in the NFL, due to the larger roster and stop star nature, but Stevens is clearly doing that.
    The game changes in the playoffs and I haven't seen enough to know if that will take away from that, or even add to it. Pretty clear we shall see in the coming years.
     
  44. Eddie Jurak

    Eddie Jurak Go Leafs Go Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Similar but a little different, in that I was thinking about immediate moves made during game play. If they drop that game 7, no one is going to criticize Stevens for leaving his star and top offensive player (by far) in during the part of the game when that guy always plays. He took a risk and it paid of for him and changed the direction of the game. In the third quarter of a game 7!

    I have no problem at all with saying that Stevens isn't the best coach in the league. He is an up-and-comer for sure, but has a lot more to prove.

    It just doesn't make much sense to me to point to something he did well and call that a weakness, for him or for any coach.
     
  45. benhogan

    benhogan Baynes Hogan SoSH Member

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    Does Brad get any credit for what he accomplished at Butler?
    A reminder:
    In his first year, Stevens led Butler to 30 wins, becoming the third-youngest head coach in NCAA history to have a 30-win season.
    In 2010, his 3rd year as head coach, Stevens broke the NCAA record for most wins in a coach's first three years, exceeding the previous record by eight wins. In the NCAA Tournament, Stevens coached Butler to the first Final 4 in school history. At 33 years old, Stevens became the second-youngest head coach to make an NCAA National Championship game, losing to Duke. In 2010-11 making the Final 4, Stevens became the youngest coach to go to two Final Fours. Stevens coached the Bulldogs to their second consecutive championship game in 2011, where the team lost to UConn.

    Never had a McDonald's All-America on his squad, Brad just out coached the rest the NCAA coaches.

    Then Brad walks into the NBA and takes the team with one of the worst rosters, no high draft picks(top 5), no big free agent signings to the playoffs after 1 season, the guy is Houdini.

    HOF coaches Rick Pitino and John Calipari couldn't pull off what Brad did from the NCAA to the NBA.

    To put Brett Brown's name in the same sentence as Brad Stevens is laughable. You have really drunk the Process kool-aid. The fact this board isn't going nuts over that comparison shows how kind and gentle this place is. Brett Brown started with the 76ers in 2013, the same year Brad started with the Celtics. The Bret Brown coached Sixers tied an NBA record of 26 straight losses his first season and has proceeded to pull off these records:
    19-63
    18-64
    10-72
    28-54
     
    #45 benhogan, Nov 8, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  46. southshoresoxfan

    southshoresoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    Brett Brown on par with Brad Stevens? Fultz over Tatum despite the cost? Korkmaz?

    And we’re the homers. Sheesh.
     
  47. slamminsammya

    slamminsammya Member SoSH Member

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    What criteria are people using to rank coaches here? I think its a difficult question and the certainty of some of the takes here I find surprising. Here is how I see it.

    First of all, it's a players league. It is a players league. Coaching matters, but as I mentioned upthread I think bad coaching matters more than good coaching. That said, the reasoning behind who is a good coach and who is a bad coach seems pretty circular. Is it a strange coincidence that the consensus top coaches at any given moment always seem to coach the top teams? So, for example, talking about Brett Brown and saying its "laughable" and "process kool aid" to think he might be in the conversation with Stevens, and then mentioning the records of the teams he has coached without any mention of the utter lack of talent he had to work with seems really disingenuous.

    What are the dimensions of coaching in the NBA? Here are what I think are some of the most important factors, which are mostly orthogonal to each other:

    1) System, tactics, preparation.

    2) In game: decisions, rotations, drawing up plays.

    3) People skills - bringing the orders to the clients... Managing egos, motivating players, etc.

    4) Good old coaching, player development, teaching technique.

    There are examples of coaches who excelled in some and were terrible at others. I like the example of Thibodeau. The guy basically revolutionized NBA defenses and has a brilliant tactical mind. But he's terrible with his rotations, overworks his starters, doesn't trust young guys, and apparently grates his players on a personal level. Or we can talk about Doc Rivers. He was fantastic in game - his teams consistently had among the best results coming out of timeouts, even when he had terrible teams. And the big three really appreciated his ability to inspire those teams to work together. But he also seemed to delegate a lot of the system to his assistants (Thibodeau), and didn't seem to get the chemistry right during his time in LA.

    We can argue about whether we should include more criteria, as well as the relative importance of each, but I think its a good base. As a fan we really only have direct access to (2), the in game choices. And even there much is obscured. As I mentioned above, it can sometimes be evident when a coach is totally out of his depth tactically, but recognizing a good system requires a lot of basketball knowledge and studying film. And in all of these we always run up against the ultimate problem with evaluating coaches: How much is the coach and how much is the player?

    With regards to Stevens, I think its still too early. Yes, he took the Celtics to the playoffs in his second year. But it wasn't exactly some rag tag group of no names. That team had Avery Bradly, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Kelly Olynyk - all of whom were already above average NBA players. I agree it was an impressive accomplishment, but it wasn't exactly Villanova Georgetown. As I mentioned before, many question his in game decision making.

    As far as his career at Butler goes, again I think its very impressive. But coaching in college is a very different animal than coaching in the NBA. First of all, the college coach is also effectively the GM in the sense that a large part of the job is finding players who work within your system and recruiting well. Its just such a different type of job in college. Having said that, part of his run at Butler was with Gordon Hayward. Sure, no one on that team was highly touted in high school. But as we have seen with Hayward's development in the NBA, he was working with a legitimate stud player. Certainly part of his development owes to Stevens' coaching, but how do we apportion the credit?

    Was Bill Hodges a great college coach because he brought Indiana State to the championship game? Or was he a great coach just for discovering Larry Bird? I am not arguing Stevens isn't a good coach. Just that its a more nuanced discussion than "He brought Butler out of nowhere to the championship game!" Well, yes, he did, but they had future NBA star Gordon Hayward. The next team had NBA player Shelvin Mack.

    Again, I'm not disagreeing that he's a good coach or that his college accomplishments are impressive. Just that the discussion is difficult and I find it interesting, and that it is a discussion that deserves more thought than its getting in this thread so far.

    By the same token, examining Brett Brown and just mentioning the records of the teams he coached is flat out lazy. The guy was on San Antonio's coaching staff for years. If we are going to talk about Stevens' college career we should also include Brown's experience in the NBA. Especially with regards to developing players, all those dimensions I listed above are really the product of the entire staff, maybe with the exception of in game decisions. Tactically, Doc had Thibs. The Spurs have that famous shooting coach who apparently transformed Kawhi. Its complicated.

    But we do know San Antonio generally does a fantastic job at developing its players, and Brown was around for a lot of that. At Philly, the best player on either of the first two teams he coached was Nerlens Noel. The second best was Michael Carter Williams. Let that sink in. Again, it's a players league. What we do know is that Embiid has looked like a potential GOAT center when he's played, and players like TJ McConell and Robert Covington have developed into useful pieces, despite being completely unheralded. So it seems like maybe he's good at the player development side. But, seriously, look at the rosters he's had. If we created a cyborg Red Auerbach Phil Jackson Coach K supercoach in a lab he wouldn't have gotten those teams to look good.

    Another interesting test case is Phil Jackson. Certainly a hall of fame coach. But a common criticism especially among Celtics fans is "Even I could coach those Bulls and Lakers teams to a championship". Tactically he is lauded for the triangle. The triangle. Oh everyone loves the triangle! Let's talk about the triangle! And he gave his players Zen books. He's so deep. I mean, as far as the system goes, he didn't invent it. And we saw that when he didn't have the players, his system was terrible, if the system was "give Kobe the ball and let him bullshit around". Further, those Laker teams had some serious discord. Does he get credit for making them work as long as he did, or do we take away points because he couldn't hold Shaq and Kobe together? It's complicated!

    Do we give Phil credit for identifying the triangle as a system that would get the most out of MJ and Kobe, or do we say "those guys were gonna ball in any system" and criticize him for the many years of trying to fit square pegs into round holes with those awful Laker teams in later years, and then as President of the Knicks?

    It's complicated!
     
    #47 slamminsammya, Nov 8, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  48. Eddie Jurak

    Eddie Jurak Go Leafs Go Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    20,213
    This is a critically important point. We tend to think of coaches as simply good or bad, or even on a scale from good to bad. But I think that there is a lot of situational value to coaches as well - I think you culd have a coach who is great for a rebuilding team, or great on a veteran team, or great on a team loaded with defensive talent, or whatever.

    Here I think you are right that it is too early to judge, but I also think you are underrating Stevens a fair bit. IT, for example, took his game to a new level under Stevens. And IT comes with a significant limitation (height) that Stevens had to find a way to work around once IT became a starter. Olynyk was a rookie under Stevens, so to whatever extent his game was a product of NBA player development, Stevens gets some credit. Crowder made the jump from useful bench player to valuable starter under Stevens, similar to othe guys (Turner, Crawford, etc) who had their most productive NBA years playing for Brad.

    I think Stevens' success to date in both environments (college and NBA) highlights what an exceptional coaching talent he is. There are a lot of guys who can succeed in college who are woefully incapable of NBA success. Ricky P being the best Boston example of that phenomenon.

    I think it is hard to envision any coach accomplishing more with less than Stevens has done since his jump to the NBA. And I think he is a part of the reason why the Celtics have the top-line talent (Horford, Irving) they do now. The outstanding questions with him is what he can do with that talented team. I'm optimistic, but he's unproven on that front.

    Jackson, to me, is an example of a situationally valuable coach. He can coach a talented veteran team with players whose skills fit into his preferred system and be a huge asset. But can he build a team from the gound up? Can he build one around a great ballhandling PG? Those questions were never answered.
     
  49. LondonSox

    LondonSox Robert the Deuce SoSH Member

    Messages:
    8,956
    I didn't say Brett brown is on a par with Stevens. I said he's been great for the sixers and think he deserves a chance with players.
    Do I think Stevens is likely better? Yes. Would I pay to dump a coach who has been good and worked his ass off? No. In part due to loyalty and earning a chance.
    Would I for free... Yeah probably and feel awful.

    Tatum is better than expected and we don't know about fultz yet. I wouldn't make the trade now, because the Celtics would likely take Tatum 1 and sixers get ball or fultz.

    As for the cost, it looks very much like it's the kings pick at this point. That pick has a real chance at being first overall.
    But continue
     
  50. DannyDarwinism

    DannyDarwinism Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    3,632
    I don't think you can really spin thinking the Kings are going to be very bad in 2019 into a positive in terms of cost for the Sixers. Under the best case scenario there's still only a 14% chance of that pick landing at #1.
     

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