Is it time to talk about Coach Brad?

Deathofthebambino

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I don't have a ton of time to get deep into this post, so I apologize as this will seem like a drive by from a thread starter. Fortunately, I know most of you, like me, are diehards who have your own opinions and won't be afraid to share them and create some jumping off points.

I have a lot of thoughts, and I feel like we may be at the point where we are seeing a ceiling for Brad. Don't get me wrong, I love Brad, and wish he was able to pull this team over the hump, but I'm starting to become very skeptical that he can.

For years, I've had issues with his playing time and rotations, but for the most part, they were understandable. Load management, young guys, figuring things out, etc. But we're now into arguably the prime of Jaylen and Tatum's careers, the back end of Kemba's and well, they are 12-10. This season has been a mess on the defensive end, and while some of this can be attributed to the injuries and lack of cohesiveness, this road trip has shown some things that are more of the same.

It feels to me that Brad is constantly going with his plan, game flow, momentum, scoreboard, etc. are all irrelevant until late in the 4th quarter. X guy is going to play this many minutes in the first, Y guy is coming back into the game with 6 minutes left in the 2nd, etc.

I have no idea why TT and Theis are always on the floor together lately, but TL (who needs help from another big on the defensive end) is out there by himself. Frankly, I don't know why Theis and TT are on the floor together more than a couple minutes a game. It's like Brad has transitioned away from small ball to massively huge ball, and why?

Again, I have to run, and will add more later, but 8 years in, I feel like it's time to start this discussion.
 

Kliq

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Minus the season that was sabotaged by Kyrie, Brad's teams have consistently overachieved in the playoffs. The season is 1/3rd over. Let's talk about this in June.
 

mauf

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The C’s are fun to watch, but they weren’t going to be serious title contenders this season regardless of who was coaching. CBS’s top priority, by far, is the development of the team’s young talent. Tatum probably would’ve been a star regardless, but I think CBS has done a good job maxing out Smart’s potential and continues to do a good job with Brown. That’s much more important than regular season Ws and Ls, even if you think HCA will be as important in this year’s playoffs as it usually is (and I have my doubts about that),

The C’s window probably opens next season. It’s fair to ask if CBS will be the right coach for this team as it enters that phase, but I don’t think a pedestrian 12-10 start this season has any bearing on that decision.
 

RedOctober3829

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The C’s are fun to watch, but they weren’t going to be serious title contenders this season regardless of who was coaching. CBS’s top priority, by far, is the development of the team’s young talent. Tatum probably would’ve been a star regardless, but I think CBS has done a good job maxing out Smart’s potential and continues to do a good job with Brown. That’s much more important than regular season Ws and Ls, even if you think HCA will be as important in this year’s playoffs as it usually is (and I have my doubts about that),

The C’s window probably opens next season. It’s fair to ask if CBS will be the right coach for this team as it enters that phase, but I don’t think a pedestrian 12-10 start this season has any bearing on that decision.
Especially with Tatum/Brown/Walker all missing time due to injury or illness this year.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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First of all, I sure hope JB and JT aren't in their primes. I think we have several more years before they even get into their primes.

Also, I don't think anyone expected the Cs to be a regular season monster this year as noted above.

I've stayed out of the KW thread because I don't really have anything substantive to add but the biggest issue right now for the Cs is Kemba. JB and JT are great players but in order to win, the Cs need a 3rd guy who is playing at All-Star or just below level. KW is a long way from that right now and unless the Cs want to break the bank in terms of luxury tax (which I don't think they will do), this team is going to rise and fall on Kemba. Which means that DA has gotten some really bad luck since he fleeced the Nets (from IT4s injury to Kyrie to GH's injuries and now Kemba).

One other thing - last I checked, the Cs were the youngest team in the NBA who had championship aspirations. Typically, teams that win championships have their Big 2 or Big 3 and compliment them with veterans. The Cs are not doing that. They have made a priority - for luxury tax reasons I think - to try to develop all of these draft picks they have made. I mean look at the Jazz - they have Mitchell and Gorbert and then have Conley (13 years), Favors (10 years), Clarkson, Bogdanavich and Ingles (all 6 years) and Niang (4 years).

Sure Brad puts some head scratching rotations in during the regular season but one thing we can all say is that during the playoffs, he had already figured out who are the best matchups and what roles they play and he sticks to that.

I don't think Brad is the problem. Not this year at least. YMMV.
 

jmcc5400

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As long as Jaylen, JT and Marcus are good with Brad, then there is little reason for us not to be. Which is not to say that this hasn't been a frustrating year and I haven't had the same musings about Brad. But, as others have said, patience is really the prescription with this squad, especially has Brad tinkers in the lab during the regular season.
 

DJnVa

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Yeah, I don't think we're really into JT and JB's window yet.

And the records are weird this year. The Heat are 10-14, the Nets 14-12, Raptors 11-13. Develop the younger guys, build toward late season push.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Is it Brad or is it the roster Danny gave him?
Brad doesn’t have much depth to work with especially with Smart out. I felt that a 2-3 road trip without Smart was a best-case scenario. Bonus is that the team competed hard throughout the entire trip despite the matchup disadvantages throughout the lineup.

Ainge has to get the job done by the deadline. Add Barnes, backcourt depth and maybe upgrade the 5 rotation.
 

BaseballJones

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Yeah, I don't think we're really into JT and JB's window yet.

And the records are weird this year. The Heat are 10-14, the Nets 14-12, Raptors 11-13. Develop the younger guys, build toward late season push.
Dallas was 43-32 (.573) last year. This year, they're 11-14 (.444). Phoenix, meanwhile, was 34-39 last year (.466), while this year they're at 14-9 (.609). It's weird, but it's early.
 

Light-Tower-Power

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Minus the season that was sabotaged by Kyrie, Brad's teams have consistently overachieved in the playoffs. The season is 1/3rd over. Let's talk about this in June.
I used to say this a lot too, but looking back I'm not so sure it's true.

2014-2015: 7th seed swept by Cleveland in R1.
2015-2016: 5th seed lost to Atlanta 4-2 in R1.
2016-2017: 1st seed lost in ECF to Cleveland 4-1.
2017-2018: 1st seed lost in ECF to Cleveland 4-3.
2018-2019: 4th seed lost in EC semis to Milwaukee 4-1.
2019-2020: 3rd seed lost in ECF to Miami 4-2.

Obviously 2017-2018 was a big overachievement. I guess you could call 2016-2017 an overachievement but they were completely carried on the back of IT4 and were possibly a Rajon Rondo injury away from getting bounced in the first round. 2018-2019 was an underachievement but we can blame Mr. Chemistry for that. Last year I think they beat Miami with a healthy Hayward and a healthy Kemba, but they certainly didn't overachieve, and I think many of us were really frustrated with end of game execution in several of the Miami games and think that series was definitely winnable even with gimpy Kemba and gimpy Hayward. I think the sheen has worn off the "Brad's teams always overachieve in the playoffs" narrative.
 

bankshot1

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My only real bone to pick with Brad is at times he lets the opponent runs go a little to long and is so freaking slow to call TOs, as he'd like the team to play through it. .

I do not blame him for a second on using a mix and match approach to rotations with about a third of the team unavailable to him, and some on the current roster either hurt or underperforming . He's trying to find who can play and who can contribute and who he may be able to call on in the post-season. This west coast trip showed to me, as annoying as it was, when healthy, the Celts can play with anyone. They have the possibility to be really good and go deep against anyone

I expected this team to be a .500 team for the first 20 games. The .500 ball may last a little longer than I anticipated, but I don't blame Brad for that. He may need help from Danny for a booster shot before the trade deadline.
 

Light-Tower-Power

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Brad doesn’t have much depth to work with especially with Smart out. I felt that a 2-3 road trip without Smart was a best-case scenario. Bonus is that the team competed hard throughout the entire trip despite the matchup disadvantages throughout the lineup.

Ainge has to get the job done by the deadline. Add Barnes, backcourt depth and maybe upgrade the 5 rotation.
Agree 100%. This season's mediocrity is on Danny and not Brad, with a side helping of Kemba's knee. Danny has some work to do if this team is going to make it out of the first or second round.
 

benhogan

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Brad is great. He's just experimenting this season. Lots of moving pieces.

I hate the double BIG nonsense and Kemba in late/tight right now. But Brad needs to figure a lot of this out.

It can be frustrating for fans, so game thread tantrums are understandable
 

CoffeeNerdness

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I think between the talent drain, the difficulty of integrating the new guys in a wacky off-season, and the long bubble run their raggedy play isn't at all surprising. I also won't be surprised if they never snap out of it tbh. We could be looking at something of a lost year, unfortunately. Not sure laying it on the feet of the coach really makes all that much sense since he's the guy who guided them deep into the meat grinder of the bubble which is killing them right now.
 

benhogan

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First of all, I sure hope JB and JT aren't in their primes. I think we have several more years before they even get into their primes.

Also, I don't think anyone expected the Cs to be a regular season monster this year as noted above.

I've stayed out of the KW thread because I don't really have anything substantive to add but the biggest issue right now for the Cs is Kemba. JB and JT are great players but in order to win, the Cs need a 3rd guy who is playing at All-Star or just below level. KW is a long way from that right now and unless the Cs want to break the bank in terms of luxury tax (which I don't think they will do), this team is going to rise and fall on Kemba. Which means that DA has gotten some really bad luck since he fleeced the Nets (from IT4s injury to Kyrie to GH's injuries and now Kemba).

One other thing - last I checked, the Cs were the youngest team in the NBA who had championship aspirations. Typically, teams that win championships have their Big 2 or Big 3 and compliment them with veterans. The Cs are not doing that. They have made a priority - for luxury tax reasons I think - to try to develop all of these draft picks they have made. I mean look at the Jazz - they have Mitchell and Gorbert and then have Conley (13 years), Favors (10 years), Clarkson, Bogdanavich and Ingles (all 6 years) and Niang (4 years).

Sure Brad puts some head scratching rotations in during the regular season but one thing we can all say is that during the playoffs, he had already figured out who are the best matchups and what roles they play and he sticks to that.

I don't think Brad is the problem. Not this year at least. YMMV.
good post....110% correct...JayCrew definitely have not hit their primes, still getting better

figuring out Kemba is the 64,000 Question?
 

tbrown_01923

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The C’s are fun to watch, but they weren’t going to be serious title contenders this season regardless of who was coaching.
I am in this camp. This isn't the year - don't use the TPE if it pushes you into the tax. Nobody thought JB was going to be this guy, this year - lets have fun watching them, and hope that we rebalance the carsen, semi, javonte, tremont, teagues into a single capable wing and #3-4 string ball handler (depending on where they view smart) over the offseason.
 

lexrageorge

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I know it's not a popular view here, but this season is a bridge year, and is going to be treated as such. This team has no chance of staying on the same floor as the Nets or Lakers in the playoffs.

Right now, Brad's job is to find a way to develop the youngsters while getting the team ready for a playoff run that sets the stage for the future.
 

radsoxfan

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People get down on Brad in the game threads (myself included sometimes) because he can make some head scratching decisions occasionally, especially with regular season line-ups. In general I trust him to know what's best and think he is either trying to figure some things out or just hamstrung by injuries/deficient roster.

The only real "critique" I can come up with his that he hasn't been able to work much magic with the middle/end of the rotation like it felt like he could in his early seasons. Brad seemingly was able to put some middling role players in a position to succeed and they took their game to another level.

The last couple of years, we have had a big gap between the top of the roster and the middle/bottom and no one has really outperformed expectations from that group. Of course, it's even more important to help good players become great, so if you want to knock Brad for the lack of depth at all, have to give some credit for getting the Jays to where they are.

In the end, coaches probably just have less impact on those individual player leaps (or lack thereof) than we think. The roster is more to blame than Brad IMO. Overall I think he is at least a very good coach, perhaps a great one. I wouldn't even consider moving on from him in the next couple of years barring a highly unlikely catastrophic relationship blow-up with the Jays.
 

NomarsFool

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Right now, Brad's job is to find a way to develop the youngsters while getting the team ready for a playoff run that sets the stage for the future.
At least some of us would like to see more of a priority on development. I was surprised PP only got 15 minutes last night, and maybe it was just a slowly coming back from injury thing, but before too long - I think PP should be getting 25 minutes a night.

Rob Williams is another example. I know he makes mistakes, but he's basically our long term hope at center and we need to either develop him into a starter, or decide it's time to cut bait. It frustrates me when he's only in there for 12 1/2 minutes for a game.

I get the experimentation, and in general I like not being stubborn (although I feel like he's been stubborn with the double big lineup), but I'd like to see a little bit more consistency. You see Edwards start one game, and then DNP-CD the next (not that I'm a CE fan).
 

NomarsFool

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I would add there are two things that I feel Brad really hasn't done great on:

1) For someone who is supposed to be as good as he is at plays after time out, our last possession plays have been awful. A 5th grader could come up with "Give it to Tatum, let him pound the ball on the floor, and jack up a 3". He should be able to be better than that.

2) Appropriately managing when and where players should be taking 3s. Smart is obviously the biggest culprit, but it's not just him. I don't know why players think putting up a shot from 4-5 feet beyond the line is a high percentage shot - it just isn't. Yes, sometimes they make them. But, that doesn't mean it's a good shot. Waters had one of those this season. PP had a pretty questionable miss last night as well. I'm a little more forgiving of Brown and players like that who are trying to pull players up so that they can drive by them - even with a miss, you could think the deep attempt had some value. But, for others, it just looks foolish.
 

Sprowl

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I'm wondering why the Celtics' defense is so much worse this year. It may be lack of practice time and a very young bench, but Stevens has managed to get excellent performances out of young players before. When Hayward went down with his gruesome ankle injury, the team promptly went on a 16-game winning streak led by a stellar team defense. Many of the players are the same, but the co-ordination and timing seems to have disappeared.
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

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By biggest complaint about Stevens is that he doesn't play Tacko Fall every game for 30+ minutes. I don't think it will help the team win, but come on, be honest, you all want to see it happen.

Other than that, I got nothing. I think he's an excellent coach, and any quibbles (such as not playing PP enough) are minor.
 

OurF'ingCity

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I don't think the C's record through 22 games is really Brad's fault at all. I mean, we had a whole preseason thread about what the Celtics' record would be after 20 games and the consensus was more or less around .500 - which was basically dead on.

The one area where I do think Brad deserves some criticism is in the team's late-game execution. This is a problem now dating back to last year's playoffs - they just seem to consistently lose their collective minds in the 4th quarters of big games such that they blow big leads. I agree with NomarsFool that the specific play-calling at the very end of games has been something of an issue but that would be totally irrelevant a lot of times if they didn't blow big leads.

I'm not sure whether this is just a mental thing with the players, or can be fixed with adjustments in playing time, or adjusting defensive scheme, etc., but regardless this is an issue that falls squarely on Brad to try to fix.
 

Light-Tower-Power

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I'm wondering why the Celtics' defense is so much worse this year. It may be lack of practice time and a very young bench, but Stevens has managed to get excellent performances out of young players before. When Hayward went down with his gruesome ankle injury, the team promptly went on a 16-game winning streak led by a stellar team defense. Many of the players are the same, but the co-ordination and timing seems to have disappeared.
I think Kemba right now is much worse than a motivated Irving and a motivated Rozier were, and 2017-2018 Al Horford is a major upgrade over TT at the 5.
 

shoelace

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Especially with Tatum/Brown/Walker all missing time due to injury or illness this year.
Add Smart to that list as well. Tatum's last game before going out due to illness was the Washington game, they were 7-3 after winning that one, and had won 4 straight. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but with Smart, Brown and Tatum all healthy I believe their record is 9-4 with losses to the Pacers (by one point), the Spurs (by four), the Lakers (by one point and Smart left that game with an injury) and the Nets (a blowout).

When you have those guys missing time and when you've played 15 of 23 on the road to start the season, it's understandable that they have a mediocre record. If you think they should just win road games against teams like Phoenix missing Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, for instance, I think you are irrational and have unrealistic expectations. I don't think games like that are particularly meaningful at all. It would have been nice to win them, but in the grand scheme of things, they aren't really predictive of anything. It seems like an overreaction to write them off given all that context, and they're half a game out of the 3rd seed.

That said, I definitely feel concerned about them defensively. Overall they've looked very average on that end. Last year they were elite at defending the three (second in the NBA by percentage) and they haven't been this year. I feel like the whole theory of this team relies on them shooting the three well and defending the three well. They've improved at shooting the three, which is good, but they've definitely regressed at defending it.

Some of that looks like effort, which I do think falls on Brad to an extent, but it just is also working new guys in, inconsistency due to injuries and illness, a lack of practice time and all that. The double big definitely contributes to some of these perimeter defense issues.

They play a lot this month, but they're mostly at home, and they're playing teams they should beat on the road (Wizards, Pelicans, Hawks, Mavericks). It wouldn't surprise me if they go like 9-2 or 8-3 to finish this month and their record looks better, but if they don't start improving defensively, I don't like their chances in playoffs. I would probably wait a bit before pulling the trigger on any TPE move until they show some significant improvement on that end.
 

OurF'ingCity

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At least some of us would like to see more of a priority on development. I was surprised PP only got 15 minutes last night, and maybe it was just a slowly coming back from injury thing, but before too long - I think PP should be getting 25 minutes a night.

Rob Williams is another example. I know he makes mistakes, but he's basically our long term hope at center and we need to either develop him into a starter, or decide it's time to cut bait. It frustrates me when he's only in there for 12 1/2 minutes for a game.

I get the experimentation, and in general I like not being stubborn (although I feel like he's been stubborn with the double big lineup), but I'd like to see a little bit more consistency. You see Edwards start one game, and then DNP-CD the next (not that I'm a CE fan).
This is one criticism I don't really agree with. I think many fans vastly underestimate how difficult it is to manage minutes of an NBA team, particularly in the regular season. For one, I think it's sensible to limit (somewhat) the minutes of younger players to avoid over-extending them early in their careers. PP is a good example - he's clearly a good player but what happens if Brad starts playing him 25 mpg and his performance starts slipping? Do you now go back to playing him fewer minutes, which could hurt his confidence (and potential trade value)? And if he starts to slip in performance but you keep playing him starter-esque minutes, now you've got the guys that are getting less playing time wondering why they have to give up some of their PT to a struggling rookie.

More broadly along those lines, it's really easy in a vacuum to say TT, Teague, Kemba, or whoever should be getting way fewer minutes than they are, but they aren't robots - if they feel like Brad has lost confidence in them, they may struggle more even in limited minutes, which will hurt the team overall if and when the Celtics really need one of those guys due to injuries, matchups, or whatever. And Brad is in a better position than probably anyone else to know if a given player is better off trying to play through his issues, or if playing them more in the regular season will keep others fresher for the playoffs, or will help or at least not hinder potential trade value, etc.

None of which is to say that Brad should just stubbornly keep putting out clearly subpar lineups just "because" - it's just to say that there are a ton of moving parts here and it's tough if not impossible to know everything that goes into a given decision about how much playing time a given player should be getting.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I used to say this a lot too, but looking back I'm not so sure it's true.

2014-2015: 7th seed swept by Cleveland in R1.
2015-2016: 5th seed lost to Atlanta 4-2 in R1.
2016-2017: 1st seed lost in ECF to Cleveland 4-1.
2017-2018: 1st seed lost in ECF to Cleveland 4-3.
2018-2019: 4th seed lost in EC semis to Milwaukee 4-1.
2019-2020: 3rd seed lost in ECF to Miami 4-2.

Obviously 2017-2018 was a big overachievement. I guess you could call 2016-2017 an overachievement but they were completely carried on the back of IT4 and were possibly a Rajon Rondo injury away from getting bounced in the first round. 2018-2019 was an underachievement but we can blame Mr. Chemistry for that. Last year I think they beat Miami with a healthy Hayward and a healthy Kemba, but they certainly didn't overachieve, and I think many of us were really frustrated with end of game execution in several of the Miami games and think that series was definitely winnable even with gimpy Kemba and gimpy Hayward. I think the sheen has worn off the "Brad's teams always overachieve in the playoffs" narrative.
In 2016, Brad took a team that started Amir Johnson, Al, Jae, Avery Bradley, and IT4 and had Jerakbo, Olynyk, a two-year Marcus Smart, and one-year Rozier, and a rookie JB off the bench to the ECF and you guess it was an overachievement? Tough crowd.

At this point, other than the Kyrie implosion, the only playoff series that we've been even somewhat disappointed in was against MIA last August and that was with an injured KW and an injured GH. That doesn't really change the narrative for me, but YMMV.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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The one area where I do think Brad deserves some criticism is in the team's late-game execution. This is a problem now dating back to last year's playoffs - they just seem to consistently lose their collective minds in the 4th quarters of big games such that they blow big leads. I agree with NomarsFool that the specific play-calling at the very end of games has been something of an issue but that would be totally irrelevant a lot of times if they didn't blow big leads.
So here's what I don't think people get about late-game execution. Every team in the NBA does the same thing. Get the ball to your stars and let them create. That's because defenses are really locked in so you have to let your best players try to make something.

JT and JB and great players, obviously top 20 right now but they are young. The best thing that can happen in late game situations is drawing fouls. The teams that win constantly are teams that can draw fouls at the end of games because that is the one reliable way to score. For whatever reasons, JT and JB do not regularly draw fouls. (I think JT has spent his basketball career trying to create space and avoid contact so that exacerbates it.)

The other great thing to do is break down the defense and find the open man. Again, this is not something JB and JT are great at doing right now.

But they are only going to get better with repetition. You can already see them starting to figure out how to create for others and not just themselves right now, but they are not very good at this right now. When they figure it out, that's when people will stop complaining about 4Q iso ball.
 

Cellar-Door

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So here's what I don't think people get about late-game execution. Every team in the NBA does the same thing. Get the ball to your stars and let them create. That's because defenses are really locked in so you have to let your best players try to make something.

JT and JB and great players, obviously top 20 right now but they are young. The best thing that can happen in late game situations is drawing fouls. The teams that win constantly are teams that can draw fouls at the end of games because that is the one reliable way to score. For whatever reasons, JT and JB do not regularly draw fouls. (I think JT has spent his basketball career trying to create space and avoid contact so that exacerbates it.)

The other great thing to do is break down the defense and find the open man. Again, this is not something JB and JT are great at doing right now.

But they are only going to get better with repetition. You can already see them starting to figure out how to create for others and not just themselves right now, but they are not very good at this right now. When they figure it out, that's when people will stop complaining about 4Q iso ball.
Also, Brad draws up plenty of plays late game, but often the defense stops all the actions, and then if falls on your star to create. I remember that one game early where Tatum took an ugly deep 3, and later said Brad drew up a play, but that the opponent stopped the first and second actions, and he should have put the ball on the floor, but he took the 3 instead.

Late game situations are tough, you draw something up, hope it works, if it doesn't you let your star make something happen.
 

HomeRunBaker

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At least some of us would like to see more of a priority on development. I was surprised PP only got 15 minutes last night, and maybe it was just a slowly coming back from injury thing, but before too long - I think PP should be getting 25 minutes a night.

Rob Williams is another example. I know he makes mistakes, but he's basically our long term hope at center and we need to either develop him into a starter, or decide it's time to cut bait. It frustrates me when he's only in there for 12 1/2 minutes for a game.

I get the experimentation, and in general I like not being stubborn (although I feel like he's been stubborn with the double big lineup), but I'd like to see a little bit more consistency. You see Edwards start one game, and then DNP-CD the next (not that I'm a CE fan).
Pritchard got 15 minutes bc he was getting killed defensively by Clarkson and he was the only Jazz on the floor aside from Mitchell that he could possible defend. Utah is a terrible matchup for PP. It would have been even worse for Edwards or Waters last night. He isn’t “experimenting” he’s playing the best matchups to try and win the game on any particular night. If players even had a hint that the coach wasn’t doing all he could to win they wouldn’t be giving him the effort......and the effort all trip was exceptional even when the matchups were awful.
 

Jimbodandy

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Pritchard got 15 minutes bc he was getting killed defensively by Clarkson and he was the only Jazz on the floor aside from Mitchell that he could possible defend. Utah is a terrible matchup for PP. It would have been even worse for Edwards or Waters last night. He isn’t “experimenting” he’s playing the best matchups to try and win the game on any particular night. If players even had a hint that the coach wasn’t doing all he could to win they wouldn’t be giving him the effort......and the effort all trip was exceptional even when the matchups were awful.
Clarkson went 4 for 15 from the floor and was a -4. It was hardly an embarrassing performance by PP. He got manhandled in two possessions (not the first time for PP).

Clarkson is a bum, but a savvy, veteran bum. Shit happens once in a while to rookies.
 

nighthob

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Jul 15, 2005
9,985
I used to say this a lot too, but looking back I'm not so sure it's true.

2014-2015: 7th seed swept by Cleveland in R1.
2015-2016: 5th seed lost to Atlanta 4-2 in R1.
2016-2017: 1st seed lost in ECF to Cleveland 4-1.
2017-2018: 1st seed lost in ECF to Cleveland 4-3.
2018-2019: 4th seed lost in EC semis to Milwaukee 4-1.
2019-2020: 3rd seed lost in ECF to Miami 4-2.

Obviously 2017-2018 was a big overachievement. I guess you could call 2016-2017 an overachievement but they were completely carried on the back of IT4 and were possibly a Rajon Rondo injury away from getting bounced in the first round. 2018-2019 was an underachievement but we can blame Mr. Chemistry for that. Last year I think they beat Miami with a healthy Hayward and a healthy Kemba, but they certainly didn't overachieve, and I think many of us were really frustrated with end of game execution in several of the Miami games and think that series was definitely winnable even with gimpy Kemba and gimpy Hayward. I think the sheen has worn off the "Brad's teams always overachieve in the playoffs" narrative.
Just a note, they were second in their own division in 2018, so it would have been tough for them to be the #1 seed. And while they were the #1 seed in 2017, the #2 seed had, more or less, taken the year off to rest up for the playoffs. There was no shame in losing series to LeBron in his prime.
 

DannyDarwinism

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Jul 7, 2007
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Clarkson went 4 for 15 from the floor and was a -4. It was hardly an embarrassing performance by PP. He got manhandled in two possessions (not the first time for PP).

Clarkson is a bum, but a savvy, veteran bum. Shit happens once in a while to rookies.
Clarkson’s been a bum for most of his career, but he’s currently the heavy favorite (-155) for 6th MotY for the best team in the NBA. He’s a gunner who may be in for some shooting regression, but the dude can cook. He’s a tough cover for bench units.
 

nighthob

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In 2016, Brad took a team that started Amir Johnson, Al, Jae, Avery Bradley, and IT4 and had Jerakbo, Olynyk, a two-year Marcus Smart, and one-year Rozier, and a rookie JB off the bench to the ECF and you guess it was an overachievement? Tough crowd.
I mean when your first, second, and third offensive option is a guy that has to stand on his tippy toes to tie his shoes you'd think the coach was due a little credit.
 

Jimbodandy

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Clarkson’s been a bum for most of his career, but he’s currently the heavy favorite (-155) for 6th MotY for the best team in the NBA. He’s a gunner who may be in for some shooting regression, but the dude can cook. He’s a tough cover for bench units.
The guy knows how to get a shot off and he's having the best year of life, surrounded by three other guys also having great years and drawing lots of attention. No doubt useful guy on that team, albeit inflated I think because anyone getting any minutes there is shooting over 40 from 3.

Nobody gameplans for him though. Sucks watching him manhandle your rookie PG for two possessions, but it shouldn't be that big of a surprise. Man knows how to score.
 

Light-Tower-Power

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Jun 14, 2013
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In 2016, Brad took a team that started Amir Johnson, Al, Jae, Avery Bradley, and IT4 and had Jerakbo, Olynyk, a two-year Marcus Smart, and one-year Rozier, and a rookie JB off the bench to the ECF and you guess it was an overachievement? Tough crowd.

At this point, other than the Kyrie implosion, the only playoff series that we've been even somewhat disappointed in was against MIA last August and that was with an injured KW and an injured GH. That doesn't really change the narrative for me, but YMMV.
Well, yes, maybe I was a little too flippant about that team’s achievement but I’m still not sure I’d consider those playoffs an overachievement given how otherworldly IT4 was. IMO that Wizards series was a total coin flip.
 

mcpickl

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Jul 23, 2007
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I don't have a ton of time to get deep into this post, so I apologize as this will seem like a drive by from a thread starter. Fortunately, I know most of you, like me, are diehards who have your own opinions and won't be afraid to share them and create some jumping off points.

I have a lot of thoughts, and I feel like we may be at the point where we are seeing a ceiling for Brad. Don't get me wrong, I love Brad, and wish he was able to pull this team over the hump, but I'm starting to become very skeptical that he can.

For years, I've had issues with his playing time and rotations, but for the most part, they were understandable. Load management, young guys, figuring things out, etc. But we're now into arguably the prime of Jaylen and Tatum's careers, the back end of Kemba's and well, they are 12-10. This season has been a mess on the defensive end, and while some of this can be attributed to the injuries and lack of cohesiveness, this road trip has shown some things that are more of the same.

It feels to me that Brad is constantly going with his plan, game flow, momentum, scoreboard, etc. are all irrelevant until late in the 4th quarter. X guy is going to play this many minutes in the first, Y guy is coming back into the game with 6 minutes left in the 2nd, etc.

I have no idea why TT and Theis are always on the floor together lately, but TL (who needs help from another big on the defensive end) is out there by himself. Frankly, I don't know why Theis and TT are on the floor together more than a couple minutes a game. It's like Brad has transitioned away from small ball to massively huge ball, and why?

Again, I have to run, and will add more later, but 8 years in, I feel like it's time to start this discussion.
LOL, NO
 

HomeRunBaker

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20,177
Clarkson went 4 for 15 from the floor and was a -4. It was hardly an embarrassing performance by PP. He got manhandled in two possessions (not the first time for PP).

Clarkson is a bum, but a savvy, veteran bum. Shit happens once in a while to rookies.
It wasn’t the result of the plays it was how our defense had to adjust to the mismatch by running other defenders at him to cover. Not sure I agree on your take of Clarkson as he’s been pretty incredible for two years now and a virtual lock to be the 6th Man of the Year.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
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Nov 2, 2007
11,078
Santa Monica
Pritchard got 15 minutes bc he was getting killed defensively by Clarkson and he was the only Jazz on the floor aside from Mitchell that he could possible defend. Utah is a terrible matchup for PP. It would have been even worse for Edwards or Waters last night. He isn’t “experimenting” he’s playing the best matchups to try and win the game on any particular night. If players even had a hint that the coach wasn’t doing all he could to win they wouldn’t be giving him the effort......and the effort all trip was exceptional even when the matchups were awful.
If Pritchard was getting killed defensively by Clarkson, what do call Kemba's defensive performance since he's come back? :eek:

Brad is clearly trying to get Kemba right and give him plenty of rope, but everyone in the building knows Kemba's D isn't winning time.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Jan 15, 2004
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If Pritchard was getting killed defensively by Clarkson, what do call Kemba's defensive performance since he's come back? :eek:

Brad is clearly trying to get Kemba right and give him plenty of rope, but everyone in the building knows Kemba's D isn't winning time.
I don’t recall the 1H but Pritchard was pulled and replaced by Semi in the 4Q for defensive reasons.
 

lovegtm

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Apr 30, 2013
7,937
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I don't have a ton of time to get deep into this post, so I apologize as this will seem like a drive by from a thread starter. Fortunately, I know most of you, like me, are diehards who have your own opinions and won't be afraid to share them and create some jumping off points.

I have a lot of thoughts, and I feel like we may be at the point where we are seeing a ceiling for Brad. Don't get me wrong, I love Brad, and wish he was able to pull this team over the hump, but I'm starting to become very skeptical that he can.

For years, I've had issues with his playing time and rotations, but for the most part, they were understandable. Load management, young guys, figuring things out, etc. But we're now into arguably the prime of Jaylen and Tatum's careers, the back end of Kemba's and well, they are 12-10. This season has been a mess on the defensive end, and while some of this can be attributed to the injuries and lack of cohesiveness, this road trip has shown some things that are more of the same.

It feels to me that Brad is constantly going with his plan, game flow, momentum, scoreboard, etc. are all irrelevant until late in the 4th quarter. X guy is going to play this many minutes in the first, Y guy is coming back into the game with 6 minutes left in the 2nd, etc.

I have no idea why TT and Theis are always on the floor together lately, but TL (who needs help from another big on the defensive end) is out there by himself. Frankly, I don't know why Theis and TT are on the floor together more than a couple minutes a game. It's like Brad has transitioned away from small ball to massively huge ball, and why?

Again, I have to run, and will add more later, but 8 years in, I feel like it's time to start this discussion.
This entire post is premised on the assumption that anyone, literally anyone, gives a shit about NBA regular season results.

The entire thing is an exercise in identity-building and seeding to maximize playoff chances, and Brad’s record is strong there.

If Danny fills out the pieces and then Brad is subsequently unable to maximize Brown+Tatum’s prime, then I’ll change my mind. But that’s just saying “he’s been good, but if he gets bad, I’ll reconsider.”
 

Shaky Walton

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Nov 20, 2019
203
I don't have a lot to add but two things about Brad's coaching this year and in the past bear note, I think. And that's even if they are to be soundly rejected by others.

One, so many times at the end of games when they have the chance to win on a last shot, the play seems to be give the ball to Tatum or someone else and get the F out of the way. That can work, but it never seems like the right idea to me. Admittedly, I had the same criticism when Pierce seemed to be in the same position a lot, too.

Two, the Brad Cs seem to cough up huge leads with more regularity than I would have expected. I don't know if it's because he is not calling enough TOs or making enough adjustments when that happens.

Neither of these points may be statistically significant and it's possible that these are problems that all teams face. Still, I've been yelling at my TV for years about them, and thought I would note them here.
 
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HomeRunBaker

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Jan 15, 2004
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I don't have a lot to add but two things about Brad's coaching this year and in the past bear note, I think. And that's even if they are to be soundly rejected by others.

One, so many times at the end of games when they have the chance to win on a last shot, the play seems to be give the ball to Tatum or someone else and get the F out of the way. That can work, but it never seems like the right idea to me. Admittedly, I had the same criticism when Pierce seemed to be in the same position a lot, too.

Two, the Brad Cs seem to cough up huge leads with more regularity than I would have expected. I don't know if it's because he is not calling enough TOs or making enough adjustments when that happens.

Neither of these points may be statistically significant and it's possible that these are problems that all teams face. Still, I've been yelling at my TV for years about them, and thought I would note them here.
The end of game possessions are far different than all of the other offensive sets due to the level of defensive pressure/intensity that isn’t seen at other points of the game. We saw this play out after Pierce left when we had shot-clock violations and 25-foot heaves against the shot clock that following year. ALL offenses face that dilemma in executing a set against that type of defense when the officials are also swallowing their whistles. It’s is why MJ, Kobe, LeBron, Pierce, etc etc were also in iso to most effectively get off a quality shot. Tatum is a guy who can create a good look against final possession defense so this is what we are going to see for the next decade (hopefully).

Edit: Shorter version....the key to running a successful offensive set is for each player to get to the desirable spot on the floor to accept a pass, beat man off dribble, etc. On a final possession the defense has an enormous advantage in that they can easily deny these spots on the floor thus creating havoc with the shot clock running down (remember the set typically begins with 16 or so on the clock). When you iso your star offensive player all of this havoc is eliminated as they only need to create space to get to their spot for a jumper against one defender. You are eliminating all of that wasted motion that would often result in a turnover, shot clock violation or worse shot than an ISO can create (which we saw first hand post-Pierce). Wait.....did I say short version? :p

I haven’t noticed any abnormality in the Celtics losing big leads but that would defend on ones definition of a big lead in the NBA. I don’t consider 12-15 points a big lead as a typical NBA game has these swings most nights.
 
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GeorgeCostanza

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So here's what I don't think people get about late-game execution. Every team in the NBA does the same thing. Get the ball to your stars and let them create. That's because defenses are really locked in so you have to let your best players try to make something.

JT and JB and great players, obviously top 20 right now but they are young. The best thing that can happen in late game situations is drawing fouls. The teams that win constantly are teams that can draw fouls at the end of games because that is the one reliable way to score. For whatever reasons, JT and JB do not regularly draw fouls. (I think JT has spent his basketball career trying to create space and avoid contact so that exacerbates it.)

The other great thing to do is break down the defense and find the open man. Again, this is not something JB and JT are great at doing right now.

But they are only going to get better with repetition. You can already see them starting to figure out how to create for others and not just themselves right now, but they are not very good at this right now. When they figure it out, that's when people will stop complaining about 4Q iso ball.
To piggy back on this a bit, the single most important thing about late game execution, and why almost every team every time goes with an ISO, is to get a shot off. Running a set play runs the risk of multiple things going wrong and risking no shot being take. An errant pass, illegal screen, etc, and you get no shot.
Granted sometimes the ISO player gets stripped or otherwise doesn’t get his shot off but the odds are greatly improved if the balls remains in the ISO players hands and everyone gets out of the way.
 

slamminsammya

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Jul 31, 2006
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Things that bother me about Brad:

  1. His choices about which plays to challenge almost never make sense to me.
  2. This year's double big experiment
  3. Every time they have tried a zone defense it looks like they never practiced it before.

Thats about it.
 

HomeRunBaker

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To piggy back on this a bit, the single most important thing about late game execution, and why almost every team every time goes with an ISO, is to get a shot off. Running a set play runs the risk of multiple things going wrong and risking no shot being take. An errant pass, illegal screen, etc, and you get no shot.
Granted sometimes the ISO player gets stripped or otherwise doesn’t get his shot off but the odds are greatly improved if the balls remains in the ISO players hands and everyone gets out of the way.
Exactly. I’ve been preaching this here for two decades which is why we will continue seeing Tatum ISO’s unless there is a rule change. To reach your goal of scoring on the possession you first need to accomplish several objectives.

Objective #1 - Don’t turn the ball over.

Objective #2 - Get off A shot....at the desired time on shot/game clock based on game situation.

Objective #3 - Get off a quality/clean look shot by your best scorer....at the desired time, etc.

Running a set in final possession against final possession defensive pressure makes accomplishing all 3 of these objectives very rare.....especially the timing which depending on game situation may be most crucial.