Celtics No. 57 in ESPN's all-sports rankings

For the past 13 years, ESPN has annually ranked all 122 sports franchises based on feedback and voting from fans. This year, our beloved Celtics are rated 57th, which is up 9 spots from where they were last time.

ESPN grades franchises in different categories such as: Overall score, coaching, players, and even stadium experience. The Celtics earned their highest mark in terms of coaching, with Brad Stevens checking in at 17th.

After a tough first year in the NBA, it was great to see Stevens get more comfortable as a head coach. The Celtics really fed off of his enthusiasm and became one of the most fun teams to watch in the second half of last season. It's also tremendous to see Stevens getting praise from some of the best players and coaches around the league.

Chris Forsberg of ESPN shed some light on the growing intrigue about Brad Stevens:

Stevens blushes at how the Celtics made a 37-spot leap in coaching in this year's poll, but the 38-year-old helmsman inarguably is the biggest reason for Boston's nine-spot jump overall. Even with the improving roster, he is still the biggest draw on a starless squad. The growing buzz around the league about Stevens -- with stamps of approval from NBA royalty such as LeBron James and Gregg Popovich -- might eventually help deliver the sort of elite talent that Boston needs to really vault in the rankings.

It's no secret that the love for Brad Stevens continues to rapidly grow. Given Boston's history of having trouble luring big-name free agents to come play here, his ascension up the NBA coaching ranks can only help the team in that department.

Celtics forward Jae Crowder talked about what stood out most about Brad Stevens, during their playoff run last season:

Just his player-coach relationships. He has a relationship with everybody. He tries to build a relationship with each and every player. Each player is different and he knows that and the way he handles himself with that is unbelievable and needed at this level.

As Stevens continues to grow as a coach, the Celtics will come together even more as a team. With the great young talent and wise veterans on the roster this year, the team will definitely improve and prepare for a longer playoff run. Hopefully more and more players around the league will start to take notice that Boston is a special city to play for.

Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images

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