The Boston Celtics have been one of the biggest disappointments of the season. It may seem odd to say that about a team that's 35 - 21, but the Celtics have underperformed everyone's expectations, internal and external.
There are a few reasons for that. One is the tremendous success they had last season. Taking the LeBron Cavs to Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals without Kyrie or Hayward was an impressive result. With those two stars back, they were a lock to dominate the East.
A lot of that success was accounted to Brad Stevens and his amazing coaching. We herd a lot of people around the league being jealous about all the praise he was getting. By the way, public accolades are something Stevens never pursued.
But as we know, there are coaches that are great for development but can't handle superstars, there are coaches that need veterans and don't have the patience to work with young players. Just like players have roles they are good at. Is Brad Stevens a developmental coach, but not a championship one?
We still don't know, but this season did leave a dent in his armor. Dealing with superstars means you have to spend a lot more time working egos and developing a culture that will get players to buy into roles that are not maximizing their talents. Chris Bosh and Kevin Love played less then what they were capable of because that was required for the team to operate optimally.
The problem for the Celtics is that the players who need to take a step back and not show us all they can do are not on a four-year max deal, but they are young players that still need to prove themselves and ensure max contracts, and they need to do it now. So when you say to Rozier that he needs to buy into a lesser role, all he hears is you telling him he can't play the way he needs to play to get a big contract this summer. So how does Stevens get the players to do that? Tracy McGrady has a suggestion (via The Jump):
Jeff Van Gundy, why I respect him so much, was my coach in Houston for three years. Before the season, during the season, he sat everbody down and identified weach players role. In front of the other guys, and it worked. Chuck Hayes, if you are a ball screener and you are a rebounder, that's what you do.
This is what Tracy believes is the key to the Celtics success. If Stevens can coach his guys up so they accept roles that are lower than their potential skill level and they play 100% in that role than the Celtics can not just compete for the East but put up a fight against the Warriors.