While a season a career does not make, when it comes to professional sports, how long does it take before the fan base wants change? Two years, maybe three, at the most? That is the dilemma that will follow President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge and second year head coach, Brad Stevens, if the Celtics not just improve, but become relevant once again in the East.
Stevens, who is 37 year old, led the Boston franchise to a 25 and 57 record in his first season, good enough to be second last in the Atlantic Division, 13 games behind the last playoff team. But most of all, a lot of people were not overly impressed by the young coach that comes from the college game. This is something that a storied program like the Celtics cannot afford to have happen, and even less, will not stand for two years in a row. Meaning that for both the front office and the coaching staff the clock has already begun for the 2014-15 season. And if not, it will definitely begin tonight.
"There's not a Tim Duncan or LeBron James available this year, but this is one of the best drafts in terms of talent," ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said.
Now, with the draft lottery get together tonight and the possibility that once again Boston and Minnesota could do business, this time with Kevin Love as the center piece, what the Celtics do in the near future will have a lot to do with the future of both the franchise and its coach. Many fans believe that giving up any draft choice for Love is the right move. On the other hand some believe that the top two picks might be too much, while 6 or above might not be enough. While there is some other fans that think that Boston is a dark horse in this race and will not get the forward.
Stevens was handed a five year, 22 million dollars contract, but this is not the college ranks where management and fans will wait for a recruiting class to be complete (3-4 years) before beginning the calls for the coach’s job. This is the NBA, this is the Celtics, this is where history has been made and 17 championships have been crafted. In other words, in the pro’s the future is now, and for storied programs like Boston that is even more so. On a side note, I had the co-founder and owner of CLNSRadio, Nick Gelso, on my last podcast speaking about this subject, you can check it out here.
Unfortunately, when you look at the whole thing, at the wide picture of all of this, the sad reality is that the only one that could take a hit in this is Boston. Brad Stevens is in a no loss situation, as if he does well he will keep working at the pro level, and if not he will find a better job than the one he left at Butler. And doing all of this while receiving a hefty pay check from his employer.
For those that might think Stevens failing at the next level could give him problems coming back to the NCAA let me remind you of two coaches in the Bluegrass state… John Calipari and Rick Pitino. Now, I am not saying that having this is his back pocket is going to make the Celtics coach work any less hard, but it is a nice parachute to have if things were to go south.
Only time will tell, but if I had to guess, I would see Stevens returning to college before staying in the NBA. With several long term NCAA coaches nearing the end of their careers in the next few years, there could be many programs trying to lure the coach back to his roots.