Boston Celtics President Brad Stevens Expresses Optimism and Focus on Core in Season-Ending Press Conference

Boston, Mass. – Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens held his season-ending press conference Thursday afternoon, and there was plenty to talk about after another deep playoff run.

Stevens addressed a variety of topics throughout the 27-minute press session, including his assessment of Joe Mazzulla and the coaching staff, an overall assessment of the team’s successes and shortcomings, and a look into the future of the organization.

Here is a breakdown of some of the prominent topics of discussion:

season evaluation
For the most part, Stevens seemed pleased with how the 2022-23 season panned out. The team got off to a bright start, going 21-5 despite going through the adversity of a last minute coaching change. And he played some inspiring playoff basketball despite an earlier exit than they expected.

Stevens highlighted how the Celtics finished second in the league in both offensive and defensive rating, but also noted that there was slippage at both ends of the floor that proved to be critical during their Eastern Conference Finals matchup with the Miami Heat.

Most important was the courage shown by the team, which fought back from a 3-2 deficit in the second round to beat the Philadelphia 76ers, and then fought to stay alive through a full seven-game ECF series with Miami. after losing the first three. contests

“We have an incredibly resilient group,” Stevens said. “They are tough, with their backs against the wall they are incredible. At the same time, we fell short.”

Although the team excelled with its back against the wall, there were failures in less urgent situations, such as not taking opportunities to close out Games 1 and 4 against Philadelphia, as well as Games 1 and 2 against Miami.

“It’s all about putting together the complete 48, and that’s shared results,” Stevens said. “That depends on all of us. It’s not just the coaches, it’s not just the players; I see how I can help everyone do better, so we all play a part in that and we all have to play better for 48 minutes if we want to win, and each game is worth one in the playoffs. We saw how we were with our backs against the wall. With the exception of Game 7 (against Miami), we were pretty good.”

Ultimately, the Heat played an outstanding series and earned their spot in the NBA Finals. But that shouldn’t detract from Boston’s strong season and resilience throughout.

Mazzulla First Year Evaluation
Speaking of resilience, Joe Mazzulla showed his throughout the season after struggling through one of the most unorthodox experiences for a first-year NBA head coach in recent memory.

Despite being promoted to the interim head coach position less than a week before the start of training camp and despite having a reduced staff from the previous year, Mazzulla managed to guide the team to 57 regular-season wins (the second most per Celtics rookie coach after Bill Russell’s 60 in 1966-67) and 11 more in the playoffs.

Midway through the season, he was deservedly dropped from the interim tag and went on to be one of three finalists for Coach of the Year as the youngest head coach in the league.

Stevens, who initially brought Mazzulla on board in 2019 as one of his assistants, called the 34-year-old an “excellent leader” and one who will only get better.

“When you consider the position he was pushed into and the overall accomplishments of the group, I think he did a very good job,” Stevens said. “When you look at it in the big picture and having a team that was second in offense, second in defense, won 57 games and (had) a chance to go to the NBA Finals on your home court, there’s a lot of direction and organization that goes into it. is dedicated to that.”

Stevens marvels at the fact that Mazzulla was able to get organized so quickly, a feat Stevens says he could never have done during his head coaching days.

“I always needed a whole summer of planning,” he said. “A whole summer of thinking and organizing thoughts and being able to find yourself ready to emphasize what you want to emphasize on a daily basis.”

And now that Mazzulla will have a full summer to prepare for the upcoming season, “There’s no question it’s going to be a huge benefit,” Stevens said. “To do what they did in five days and get ready for the season and start the season the way we did was a little more remarkable than people outside the building would have thought.”

Reinforcing the staff
Another benefit Mazzulla will have this summer is the opportunity to add more voices around him on the bench, which Stevens says will be one of the main goals of the offseason.

Boston’s coaching staff was depleted after the preseason losses of head coach Ime Udoka and top assistant Will Hardy, as well as the midseason departure of Damon Stoudamire. However, given the circumstances, the remaining group of attendees did a stellar job.

“I think that’s something that gets lost in the shuffle,” Stevens said of having a smaller staff. “But the staff we had was good. And we tried (to add trainers). Losing Damon in March, we tried again. But those times are hard for people to move up and move or move up and join a new team that they know nothing or don’t know about. But that was just to top it off because we believed in the people who were here.”

Stevens said the team plans to make at least one coaching addition this summer: “Someone who has a lot of NBA experience for sure.”

Keep the core intact
Other than some potential coaching additions and minor roster changes, the Celtics don’t appear to have plans to make any major moves this summer. They have no intention of breaching your core anytime soon, and they shouldn’t.

Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart have been together for six full seasons, Robert Williams has been here for five, Al Horford for five of the last seven, and those guys have had nothing but success together.

With five trips to the Eastern Conference Finals in the last seven years, all it takes is a little adjustment for that group to come out on top.

“At the end of the day, we love our base, we love our core and that’s really our focus and priority,” Stevens said.

The only big core-related decision coming up in the front office is a potential extension for Brown later this year.

Although Stevens is not allowed to discuss contract details at this time, “I can say, without a doubt, that we want Jaylen to be here. He’s a big part of us and we believe in him and I’m thankful for him. I’ve said it before: I’m very thankful because when those guys are successful, they go back to work. And when they get hit, they have it and go back to work. So I know that’s what it’s about. And that’s hard to find… Those qualities are not for everyone. So Jaylen had a great year, an All-NBA year, and he’s a big part of us moving forward before our eyes.”

Information: Boston Celtics.

2023-06-02 05:23:53

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