Opening Up The Files On The Boston Celtics

Brad Stevens and Ime Udoka made the Celtics legit contenders in only one season

Let’s open up the files on the impact Brad Stevens and Ime Udoka have on the Celtics

A new chapter in the history books of the Boston Celtics was created last offseason, it’s called the Brad Stevens and Ime Udoka Era. Together, Udoka and Stevens have always had high expectations of this team. Even when it didn’t look pretty, Stevens and Udoka saw the potential in their team. Let’s open up the files on the impact Stevens and Udoka have on the Celtics.

When former team president Danny Ainge decided to step down and away from the position, it left us wondering what the plan moving forward was; not to mention being completely shocked. The Celtics’ brass did their due diligence, however, it just made perfect sense for Stevens to slide into the president of Basketball Operations role succeeding Ainge.

The reason it works so well having Stevens slide in as the President of Basketball Operations is due to his familiarity of the team from having coached for the last eight years in Boston. It’s fair to say there isn’t anybody else who knows this team better than Stevens, so why not have him run the show? It’s a perfect match. 

Using his knowledge of the team, Stevens needed to find a new head coach to come in and lead his team to success. He needed to find a coach who was strong minded and determined but also willing to understand and manage a team that features two All-Star franchise cornerstones in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. 

Little did we know at the time, Stevens found the perfect coach to lead his team in first year head coach, Ime Udoka. He’s a former player, who is a branch off of Gregg Popovich, one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. Udoka assisted Popovich for years but was able to be around the core group of the Celtics during the 2019 FIBA World Cup team.

It’s fair to say Udoka was THE coach the players wanted to move forward with. In doing so, Stevens hired Udoka with the same goal of raising Banner 18 in the TD Garden this year. With a mature core, the Boston Celtics were poised for a deep playoff run this year, however it didn’t look that way during the first half of the season.

The Celtics were below .500 (20-21) at the halfway point of the season. Marcus Smart called out Tatum and Brown for not passing more, the team was just not clicking at all, and Udoka was struggling to find a working rotation. Needless to say, things weren’t looking good at all for Boston.

Stevens acknowledged the issues and quickly got to work on cleaning up the roster. He wanted to acquire players that both he and Udoka knew could provide a serviceable role for them. Stevens traded for ole reliable Daniel Theis- a player who once helped the Celtics reach the Eastern Conference Finals on multiple occasions. As well as Derrick White- a player who Udoka was familiar with during his time with the San Antonio Spurs. 

After being below .500 at the halfway point (as previously mentioned), Boston went on a 31-10 run to end the season with a 51-31 record- which is the best record in NBA history for a team who was below .500 at the halfway point. Together, Stevens and Udoka have transformed the Celtics within the first year of taking over their new roles.

This mid-season turnaround is unprecedented and landed Boston the second seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs. Udoka’s message finally resonated with the team- even if it took half the year to do so. But once the players bought in, they became the best team in the NBA with the No.1 ranked offense and defense in the league.

As for Stevens, he’s already done something Ainge hasn’t done in quite a while for the Celtics: make a move at the trading deadline. Stevens made a few moves in order to get his team to where he wanted it. Unlike Ainge, Stevens didn’t hesitate to get it done and was willing to give up future draft capital if it meant he’d be receiving an already proven NBA ready player that can produce immediately for his team.

Stevens and Udoka deserve a lot of credit for the way this season transformed.


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