The Celtics are mired in a disappointing 2020-21 NBA season, but don’t expect that to lead to any major changes within the organization.
Though Boston is set to take part in the augural NBA play-in tournament against the Wizards on Tuesday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Stevens’ job is not in jeopardy. No matter what happens to the Celtics in the postseason, Stevens is expected to be back with the team.
“Brad Stevens is going to be back,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s “Get Up” Tuesday afternoon. “The idea that his job might be in jeopardy is just not accurate. This is a coach who’s been to the conference finals three out of four years. They’re going [to], certainly, continue with Brad Stevens.”
The Celtics were seen as one of the Eastern Conference’s top contenders coming into the season. However, they never built any momentum during the season and sputtered to a 36-36 record to finish seventh in the East.
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But as Wojnarowski pointed out, Stevens’ teams were still able to get to the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the past four seasons. This year, their struggles were exacerbated by a couple of things.
“They’ve had a talent drain in Boston over the last few years. They’ve gotta improve their talent and they need a healthy Kemba Walker,” Woj said. “That’s been a big issue for the up and down nature of this Celtics team.”
Indeed, losing Gordon Hayward had a big impact on the Celtics. And in previous offseasons, the team had lost the likes of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford. While Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have stepped up as star-caliber players, Boston’s inability to fill in behind them has created a lack of depth for the team as a whole.
Injuries have been a problem for the squad as well. Wojnarowski pointed out the absence of Walker, but the Celtics, in total, had 217 missed games because of injuries or COVID this season. That was the 11th-most in the NBA and sixth-most among teams to make the playoffs. That certainly had an impact and is part of why Stevens will return next year.
“They’re going to chalk this season up as a disappointment,” Woj said. “I do think you’ll see some roster movement this offseason, but I don’t think you’ll see any changes in their leadership.”
So, Stevens appears to be safe, but he and Danny Ainge will be faced with the tough task of retooling and getting Boston back on track quickly after a difficult season.