Ex-NBA Ref Explains How ‘Sneaky’ Brad Stevens Defends Celtics Players


May 21, 2020

Brad Stevens seems like a nice guy.

Sure, he voices his frustration from time to time. But it’s rare to see the Boston Celtics coach lose his composure, even when it appears his team has been wronged by the officials.

That doesn’t mean Stevens is a pushover. In fact, as retired NBA referee Danny Crawford recently explained on NBC Sports Boston’s “Celtics Talk Podcast,” Stevens still gets his point across. He just does so in a much calmer way than most NBA coaches.

“I’ll tell you what, Brad is a sneaky — I’m not gonna say nasty, because he’s not a nasty man. But Brad, he gets his shots in, OK,” Crawford said. “He defends his team, he defends his players in a classy, professional way. Totally different than Doc (Rivers).”

Rivers, who coached the Celtics for nine seasons from 2004 to 2013, definitely was much more intense on Boston’s bench. It often motivated the Celtics, who featured a veteran-laden bunch for most of Rivers’ tenure.

Stevens, now in his sixth season with the C’s, tends to pick his spots. His real coaching strength lies in drawing up the Xs and Os, although he’s not afraid to defend his players against the officials when necessary.

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Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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