ESPN Analyst Claims Celtics Have Tuned Brad Stevens Out

Getty Images Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens talks with Jayson Tatum

Despite facing a plethora of hurdles throughout the course of the regular season, the 2020-21 Boston Celtics’ (36-36) season-ending .500 record is a disappointment, and head coach Brad Stevens isn’t getting a pass.

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Equipped with two All-Stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and a two-time NBA All-Defense First Team recipient in Marcus Smart while being guided by Stevens, who’s coached the Celtics to three Eastern Conference finals appearances in four years, we expected better. And now, Boston enters the NBA Play-In Tournament with a date against the Washington Wizards at TD Garden, Tuesday, hoping to keep its postseason hopes alive.

Stephen A Smith: ‘Brad Stevens Doesn’t Get A Pass’

Regardless of the outcome, NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith, who weighed in on Stevens’ regular-season performance on ESPN’s First Take, Tuesday morning, is calling out the eight-year head coach.

“Brad Stevens doesn’t get a pass,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take. “The reason he doesn’t get a pass is because nobody is looking at him and questioning his ability to coach a team. We know he knows his X’s and O’s, we know he’s been to three Conference finals the past four years. I am on the record — I don’t believe he deserves to be fired. I like Brad Stevens. I think he’s a hell of a coach.”

Still, while Stephen A doesn’t believe Brad should lose his job, he can’t help believing Stevens’ voice no longer resonates with the Celtics’ locker room the same way it used to.

“I think his record speaks for itself and I think there’s a level of credibility that he should have and he should be a head coach on this level — he’s earned it,” Smith added. “Having said all of that, just because you deserve a job doesn’t mean you deserve that job. At some point in time, Jaylen Brown, 24, Jayson Tatum, 22 — these are the cornerstones of your franchise. Two young dudes, who are, based on age alone; relatively impressionable. They are coachable.”

Smith: Celtics Are ‘Not Listening’ To Brad Stevens

According to Smith, Tatum emphatically denies the notion that the Celtics could be tuning out their head coach. Still, the ESPN veteran journalist can’t shake the feeling that Stevens’ influence diminished, this season.

“The bottom line is, you have a lot of people in Boston that have looked to Brad Stevens and wondered if they’ve turned a deaf ear to what he’s saying,” Smith said. “We know he knows what he’s talking about. We know that he knows the game. We know that from that perspective he deserves the credibility that he has. But, there does come a point in time where you can look at an individual and say, they’re just not listening to you anymore.”

Still, Smith doesn’t believe the matter is necessarily Stevens’ fault, per se. He’s just simply suggesting the Celtics are done listening to Brad.

“Coaches are human beings too, with a job description and sometimes that job and your ability to do that job is compromised,” Smith said. “Not because of lack of knowledge; it’s because people are tired of hearing your voice and that’s entirely plausible when it comes to Brad Stevens.”