Danny Ainge's greatest prize in the rebuilding effort is Brad Stevens. The latest method of confirming this comes from a Sports Illustrated piece analyzing all 30 teams from an NBA scout's perspective. While the scout was mostly complimentary about the 2015-2016 edition of the Boston Celtics, the anonymous source positively gushed when it came to Stevens.
I’ve been in the league a long time, and I’ve watched a lot of college coaches come in. Maybe 90% of them don’t make it. Brad Stevens made the smoothest adjustment I’ve seen. In the last two or three minutes, they won more games than anybody in the league. I know there are coaches in this league that copy his ATOs [after timeout plays] and end-of-game plays
Making the leap from coaching at a mid-major to having NBA coaches scramble to rip off your out-of-bounds plays in only two seasons is pretty smooth. With last year's 15-game improvement over the year prior, he'll now have to manage the expectations of a fanbase and a roster full of players good enough to get minutes. If last year is any indication, the unflappable Stevens will take it right in stride. The big question surrounding the team will be if they can take another step forward. From the scout's perspective, the free-agent additions of Amir Johnson and David Lee are an upgrade.
They lack a star but have good depth, one through 11. They addressed their inside game; I’m not saying they brought in a stopper, but they added two decent-sized bodies in David Lee and Amir Johnson. Lee is still a good, seasoned forward, a double-double guy who can really rebound.
Avery Bradley could be a real key for the Celtics this year. The longest tenured member of the Celtics has quietly been improving his game and is still only 24. While Bradley seems somewhat under the radar with three rookies and a few free agents added to the roster this offseason, this particular scout noticed him:
I love Bradley. He’s not a star, but every year that kid gets better. Every year. He’ll probably start at the two. It is somewhat of a smaller backcourt, but they played well together last year, Smart and Bradley
If Bradley stays in his lane and hits corner threes and gets to the hoop with sly back door cuts, he could be a highly efficient two-way player for the Celtics. He and Smart's on-ball defense should wear down opposing backcourts, hopefully creating a steady diet of turnovers and transition opportunities for the C's this year.
Overall the Celtics roster build for this 2015-2016 edition seems to be generating optimistic projections. Look for the leadership of Stevens and Avery Bradley to key another season of improvement for the Celtics this year.
Photo Credit David Butler/USA TODAY
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Paul Colahan 10/20/2015 06:29:00 PM Tweet Edit