Brad Stevens Named Finalist For NBA Coach Of The Year Award
By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens did not receive a single vote from his peers in the National Basketball Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year voting. But if there’s any ‘consolation prize’ for the 41-year-old Boston bench boss, it came on Wednesday night when he was named a finalist for the NBA’s official Coach of the Year Award.
In his fifth season with the C’s, Stevens led a reshaped Celtics squad to 55 wins, the most in any single season during his tenure in Boston. He did it without Gordon Hayward, who fractured his ankle five minutes into the first game of the season, instead leaning on youngsters such as Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and beginning the year with a 22-4 record.
The Celtics were a model of consistency this past season, too, with just two losing streaks of at least three straight losses.
The other finalists are Utah’s Quin Snyder and (fired) Raptors coach Dwane Casey.
In their first season without Hayward (the Celtics can relate) and sitting nine games under .500 in mid-January, Snyder helped lead the Jazz back to life to the postseason as the fifth seed in the West, where they knocked off the Thunder in round one before falling to the Rockets in round two. And the 57-year-old Casey, served as Toronto’s coach for the last seven seasons and won the aforementioned Coach of the Year honors from the NBCA earlier this month, but was fired on May 11 after the top-seeded Raptors were swept out of the second round.
Stevens, meanwhile, is currently in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight season, where his undermanned Celtics currently hold a 2-0 series lead over LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
But don’t expect Stevens to focus on this award, or even care about it in the least, given the goals he’s set for his team.
“He wants it to be about the players. He’d be embarrassed if he won it. So he’s probably more comfortable not winning Coach of the Year,” Celtics president Danny Ainge said on Toucher and Rich last week when asked about Stevens’ first snub in the NBCA Coach of the Year voting. “We love Brad. I think Brad knows that all of us in the organization – players, owners, management, all the people that are around him everyday – would rather have him than any coach in the league.
“There’s politics involved [in the voting process]. Anyway, he’s our coach of the year.”
If he were to win, however, Stevens would become the first Celtic coach to win the award since Bill Fitch in 1980.
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.