WALTHAM, Mass. — Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens is uncomfortable with all the praise he’s received for Boston’s success.
In an injury-riddled season in which the Celtics lost two All-Stars in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, Stevens guided Boston to 55 wins and has them back in the Eastern Conference finals where the Celtics own a 1-0 series lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Asked about the praise he’s received for Boston’s success, Stevens said he’d prefer it all go to his players.
“It’s silly,” said Stevens. “The praise is uncomfortable, and it’s just something that these guys should be getting it all. We all have a role to play, and we all need to play that role as well as we can.”
Playfully informed that media members could pounce if Stevens made a mistake, Boston’s fifth-year coach responded, “Go for it. That would be great.”
Despite perpetual roster change, the Celtics have improved their win total in each season under Stevens. With another postseason victory, he’d set a new career high for postseason wins, this after leading Boston to the East finals last season.
But Stevens believes his players should get all the spotlight for this season’s success, even as his after-timeout plays draw widespread praise in key moments and the way Stevens has maximized the talent available.
“They’re both great coaches. There’s definitely a similarity between them,” said Baynes. “They definitely have their own methods as well. There are some comparisons but in a lot of ways they are their own coach, and I’m just lucky to be able to learn from both of them and still learning from Brad a lot.”
Stevens has said that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge deserves credit for assembling such a deep roster that’s been able to withstand all the injuries, while his players have routinely blossomed with greater opportunities.
“It’s a collaboration amongst everybody, but Danny is the one that chooses the players and he’s hit absolute home runs,” said Stevens.
During an appearance on Sirius XM NBA radio on Monday, Celtics legend Robert Parish suggested that Stevens has to win titles before he deserves his acclaim.
“I think he gets a little too much praise, but I like what he’s doing,” Parish said on Sirius XM NBA radio. “They’re giving him all the love like he won three or four championships. Come on now. Win something first, with all the love he’s getting. Now granted, don’t get me wrong, he’s a solid coach, I’ll give him that. The love he’s getting from the media, you’d think the Celtics won two or three championships. You would think.”
Later Parish added, “That don’t mean that you’re not great or good just because you never won a championship. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m not saying Brad Stevens should not be getting praise for the job that he’s done because I feel like he’s done an outstanding job. I’m just saying, the amount of praise he’s getting, you’d think he won a championship or two. They don’t give Steve Kerr that much love. Come on.”