By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The miracles pulled off by Celtics head coach Brad Stevens since jumping to the NBA have been nothing short of incredible.
But what happened this past season might be up there as his best work yet. After Celtics president Danny Ainge traded MVP candidate (Isaiah Thomas) to the Cavaliers and took away over 50 percent of the 41-year-old coach’s roster from the season before due to dramatic (and necessary) cap-maneuvering, Stevens rebuilt his system to reflect a ‘position-less’ philosophy. He then lost his team’s star free agent addition (Gordon Hayward) five minutes into the first game of the regular season.
Forced to accelerate the develop of talents such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier, Stevens still helped guide the Celtics to 55 wins, good for the NBA’s fourth-best record (and second-best record in the Eastern Conference).
But all of Stevens’ work with a new-look Boston squad apparently wasn’t enough to get a single vote from his NBA coaching brethren in the National Basketball Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year voting, which was released on Wednesday.
Instead, that award went to Toronto head coach Dwane Casey, who led the Raptors to a franchise-best 59 victories this season. Seven other coaches received votes from the NBCA in their second annual Coach of the Year Award, including Houston’s Mike D’Antoni, Sixers coach Brett Brown, Indiana’s Nate McMillan, the Clippers’ Doc Rivers, Utah’s Quin Snyder, Portland head coach Terry Stotts, and the legendary Gregg Popovich out of San Antonio.
Casey, for what it’s worth, seems like a deserving candidate. But for Stevens to not receive one single vote from his peers, many of whom were downright schooled by Stevens countless times this year, is just plain stupid. It may even speak to the pettiness that can come with Stevens simply and routining outsmarting the majority of his competition.
Thomas, who thrived under Stevens, took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the results.
No way in hell Brad Stevens doesn’t win Coach of the year. No disrespect to the other head coaches but He’s by far the best coach in the NBA— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) May 9, 2018
Ironically, there’s a strong chance that Casey will be fired by the Raptors after getting swept by the Cavaliers in the second round, according to TSN. Stevens, meanwhile, will look to coach the undermanned C’s to their second-straight Eastern Confefence Finals appearance beginning with Wednesday’s potential knockout Game 5 at TD Garden.
Speaking before the game, Stevens downplayed any possible frustration he could have had with receiving zero votes.
Brad Stevens on not receiving a vote in the NBCA Coach of the Year balloting: “There’s no way in hell I would have voted for me, I would have picked ten people in front of me and felt bad I had to pick just one. We're all just fortunate to be one of thirty."— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) May 9, 2018
It’s worth noting that the NBCA Coach of the Year Award is voted on only by NBA coaches. It has nothing to do with the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award, which is voted on by select NBA media. The winner of that award will be revealed June 25.
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.