Brad Stevens has come a long way from DePauw University.
The 40-year-old head coach and former D-III basketball player has transformed the Boston Celtics from bottom feeder to No. 1 seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference (as of Wednesday) in just a few short years.
It appears the basketball world is taking notice, too. In its ranking of the NBA’s best coaches, an ESPN panel placed Stevens first in the East and third overall, behind only San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
The panel, which was asked to rate coaches on their “guidance and leadership in terms of how it affects overall on-court success,” gave Stevens an average rating of 8.58 on a 10-point scale.
Stevens indeed has done impressive work in Boston. The Celtics won just 25 games during his first season as head coach in 2013-14 but improved to 40 wins in 2014-15 and 48 wins in 2015-16. While the C’s still haven’t won a playoff series under Stevens, they’ve already reached 48 wins with eight games to play this season and appear poised for a postseason run.
ESPN’s panel was kind to Boston in other areas, too, ranking the Celtics’ front office third-best in the NBA behind San Antonio and Golden State. The network will release its general manager and owner rankings later this week, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the C’s are near the top of those lists, too.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Images