Approaching the end of his first offseason as Boston Celtics president of basketball operations, Brad Stevens’ report card from one national writer is calling the NBA eight-year coach’s qualifications into question.
The Athletic’s David Aldridge, who recently ranked all 30 NBA teams’ offseason moves, released his first of three installments, this week, and listed the Celtics in the bottom tier at 27th.
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Aldridge: ‘(Celtics) Taking a Big Swing Replacing Danny Ainge’
Without any first-round picks in this summer’s NBA draft, Aldridge believes this to be a thorn to the side of an underwhelming offseason, for Boston, while adding additional pressure to sophomore guards Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith, along with injury-prone backup wing Romeo Langford.
“Boston obviously hit on Jayson Tatum and Brown, the Celtics have burned through the rest of those extra firsts from Boston and Philly,” Aldridge wrote, via The Athletic. “Smart and Richardson, coming off a disappointing year in Dallas, look to be the starting backcourt. Does anyone think that core is better than the Bucks or Nets or 76ers? Payton Pritchard, Aaron Nesmith, and Romeo Langford could improve; Pritchard played great in Vegas this year. But that’s a lot of hoping.”
Aldridge’s main concern for the Celtics remains in concert with the inexperienced. There’s a lot of pressure on them, including Boston’s new head coach. Although Ime Udoka is, without question, a viable option for the uncharted waters that await him, this fall, the beginning stages won’t be easy.
The same can be said for Stevens, who as Celtics president of basketball operations, is still a work in progress, prior to his first regular-season at the helm of Boston’s front office, according to The Athletic’s senior writer.
“Boston also is taking a big swing at replacing Ainge, who build a championship team, with Stevens — who’s smart and hardworking, but who has never done this before,” Aldridge wrote. “Similarly, while Udoka is definitely ready for a head coach job, there will be those growing pains. There’s a lot of flux.”
Brad Stevens on 2021-22 Celtics: ‘I Don’t Put Ceilings on Teams’
Stevens, who was recently asked about the 2021-22 Celtics’ season projection as a guest on WEEI’s OMF, this week, says while he’s content with how his offseason moves unfolded, he’s still unwilling to set expectations for the upcoming season.
“I don’t put ceilings on teams. You guys get paid to do that,” Stevens said, during his appearance on this year’s NESN/WEEI Jimmy Fund Telethon. “All I do is within where we are and how we are trying to balance the short team of this year’s team and being a really good team versus continuing to move forward. We’re in a good spot because our foundational pieces are young and under contract. We want to be good. We have a lot of good players, a good coach; a good staff.
“I have no doubt they are going to be good. How good will depend on all of those things.”