Buyer beware of free agents under the tutelage of guru, Brad Stevens

A very recent article in Sports Illustrated may echo the thoughts of many NBA General Managers looking to acquire free agents who have played for Celtics coach and mentor, Brad Stevens. And of course, that means Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas.

In the article, author Rohan Nadkarni, used the term Bhagwan to describe Stevens, and I had to look it up. Per Google, it means a guru or revered person. Nadkarni's article, Buyer beware: Think twice before signing these free agents, cautions NBA teams about signing free agent, Marcus Smart, in part for the following reason (per SI's Rohan Nadkarni):

Beyond all of that, Smart has played his entire career for the Bhagwan, Brad Stevens, whose cult-leader-like powers allow him to wring every last drop of utility out of every player on his roster.

I cannot argue with that at all. Brad is that good and he just makes players better. And most NBA execs know the same thing. They will worry about whether or not Smart will flourish on their team, or did the guru Stevens "wring every last drop of utility" out of him. That worry should make Danny Ainge's crusade to retain Marcus that much easier.

Former Celtic Isaiah Thomas is in a similar situation. He has had one brilliant season in 2016-17 under Brad Stevens, and for various reasons, including injury, he has not produced at a level even close to that since being traded from Boston. Nor did he have that type of season prior to coming to the Celtics. This is what SI's Rohan Nadkarni had to say:

A summer ago, Thomas was looking at a potentially huge payday this July. Instead, teams will be forced to wonder if he’ll ever return to his peak form physically, and if his one spectacular season was another Brad Stevens-led mirage.

So does guru fit Brad Stevens? You bet! Is he a revered person? In Boston he is. Was Isaiah's one spectacular season a Brad Stevens-led mirage? No, the season and Thomas' performance were very real indeed. They just may not be duplicated in another environment under the tutelage of another mentor. The same may be said of Marcus Smart.

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Photo via Mark J. Ribelas/USA TODAY Sports