Brad Stevens might have a problem on his hands if any Boston Celtics players share Kendrick Perkins’ view on the head coach’s recent comments.
Perkins ripped Stevens on Thursday for his high praise of the Brooklyn Nets ahead of the Boston-Brooklyn first-round NBA playoffs series. Stevens on Tuesday described Brooklyn as “the best of the best” and said he “has a hard time seeing them lose,” drawing the ire of Perkins, who spent the first seven-plus years of his NBA career with the Celtics.
“Brad Stevens, if you love Brooklyn that much, why don’t you go coach them? Go join the coaching staff,” Perkins said on ESPN’s “First Take.” “Listen, I played for the Boston Celtics for eight-and-a-half years. I know the definition of ‘the City of Champions.’ They have something called Celtic pride. That wasn’t Celtic pride.
“And no, I wouldn’t want to play with Brad Stevens. How can I go to war with a coach that is praising and glorifying an opponent that I possibly could upset? How about saying ‘Hey, we’re going to be prepared, we’re going to be ready. I know you’re crowning them, but we’re going to come to compete.’ How about saying that, Brad Stevens. … (Celtics owner) Wyc Grousbeck, (president of basketball operations) Danny Ainge, my guys, this is what we’ve come to?
“… We’re trying to win championships. Get some fire up under you. Right now you should be telling the team ‘Let’s go shock the world.’ You’ve got Jayson Tatum, a man who just dropped 50 points the other night in a crucial moment. You’ve still got Kemba Walker. You’ve still got some guys that can go out there and compete in this series with the Brooklyn Nets.
“I mean it was just disturbing. I tried to get down with Brad because I think he’s good with X’s and O’s, but this right here took me over the top. I’m sorry. A lot of people may not like what I said … but that was just disturbing to hear. Here I am about to go to war in the series, and I hear my coach going on there and praising and giving flowers like he wants to be part of the coaching staff of the Brooklyn Nets. It’s completely unacceptable.”
Wow. Tell us how you really fell, Perk.
The seventh-seeded Celtics are underdogs heading into the series against second-seeded Brooklyn, and few NBA observers believe Boston has any chance of beating Kyrie Irving and Co.
Nevertheless, Perkins would rather Stevens pretend that’s not the case, instead of speaking candidly to reporters, as he did the other night.