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Stephen A. Smith is known for his wild rants. Many times, they are for show purposes only. Earlier this week, Smith wasn’t as overbearing with his shouting when making a point about the Boston Celtics and Brad Stevens. Smith was calm, straight to the point, and spot on.

The Boston Celtics might be the NBA’s biggest disappointment

The Boston Celtics might be happy they’re no playing in front of a packed house this year. It’s been one ugly season in Boston. The Celtics, playing with a pair of young NBA All-Stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, just might be the NBA’s biggest disappointment this year.

The Celtics sit in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with a very disappointing 23-25 record. Boston is riding a two-game losing skid and frustration has been mounting all season long. Earlier this year, veteran point guard Kemba Walker publicly stated the team wasn’t giving its best effort. Tatum is putting up 25.3 points per game, while Brown is averaging 24.5. But are they the leaders the Celtics need?

General manager Danny Ainge said there was nobody to blame but himself. When the team was 14-14, Ainge said it was his fault because the roster wasn’t good enough. Brown showed his frustration during a press conference after a game. When asked how he felt about the way his team was moving the ball on offense, he simply said, “no comment.”

Stephen A. Smith throws some blame at Brad Stevens

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said on First Take that he believed if the Celtics’ swoon continued, he didn’t see head coach Brad Stevens lasting in Boston. He was calm in his assessment but made tons of sense. “I’m not saying you fire Brad Stevens today,” he said. “That is not what I’m implying.

“I like the man personally. I think he knows basketball and I don’t think his team is unprepared. What I do believe, and this is just based on my experience as a journalist covering sports for the last 27 years. I can tell when you don’t seem to have the pulse of your team.

“When I look at the Boston Celtics and I look at Coach Stevens, there does come a point in time when, do they hear you? Are you able to peel max potential out of them, whatever they got inside of them?” Smith said he doesn’t question the X’s and O’s part of Stevens. “What I see is a guy who’s talking to the players and the players just aren’t listening.”

Stephen A. Smith is absolutely right about the Celtics and Brad Stevens

As Stephen A. Smith said, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens is a smart basketball man. He can draw up an out-of-bounds play with the best of them. His X’s-and-O’s game appears to be strong. When it comes to coaching in the NBA, however, it needs to be much more than that.

Coaching in the NBA is also about managing attitudes and egos. It’s about commanding respect. Rick Pitino couldn’t do it in the NBA. John Calipari couldn’t, either. They are incredible recruiters and college coaches. Stevens is the same way.

Drawing up plays is one thing. Watching Jayson Tatum take step-back 3-pointers all night is another. “When you’ve got players that young, you’ve got to be able to make sure that it’s not just noise to them… If things continue to go this way, Danny Ainge is going to need to move in a different direction.”

All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.


Danny Ainge Gets Blunt and Gives Harsh Reality of Struggling Boston Celtics