NBA Regular Season 2013-2014, Game 5:
Utah Jazz (0-4) @ Boston Celtics (0-4)
Well something has got to give today. One of the four winless teams on the season will get their first win tonight. Boston like Utah decided to go young this offseason. The only difference is is that their coach is very young also, Brad Stevens (age 37) is in his first season as an NBA head coach. In fact this season is Stevens first anything in the NBA, he was not a player, he has never coached nor held any other positions in the NBA.
Jeff Clark, writer at the SB Nation, Celtics Blog calls Stevens the best 0-4 coach in the NBA (with apologies to Ty Corbin). Purusing through the comments in Clark's blog post it seems like most Celtic fans agree with him.
The team has been competitive in each of the games they've played, I don't have any problems with his rotations, and his ATO (after time out) calls have seemed good in theory (if not in practice). I don't think he has the kind of talent that he needs to succeed at the moment but he's working with what he has in the limited time he has.
I also like the way he's handling things with the players. He wasn't afraid to bench Jeff Green in a fourth quarter (showing that nobody is above the law) but he didn't publicly chastise him either. Green responded with his best game of the year the following game and when Stevens was interviewed at halftime, he said that Green played "much better." That's subtle but I think it shows that he did feel that Green played poorly the other day and wanted to give him positive reinforcement when he did well.
We as Jazz fans have followed Brad Stevens a bit because as we all know he was Gordon Hayward's coach at Butler. Gordon and Stevens are still close.
Hayward told the Deseret News back in July:
"We're always talking back and forth," Hayward said of the 36-year-old Stevens.
Hayward also said this about Stevens:
"If he wanted to do it, I'm sure he could, "Hayward said. "(Stevens) is one of the best coaches I've ever played for, so I think anything he sets his mind to he's more than capable of doing. "Coach Stevens develops guys sometimes out of nowhere," said Hayward, who's Exhibit A in that testimony. "You never know who could be next."
Hayward has lots of praise for Stevens as he should. Stevens saw a lot of success as a head coach at Butler. Stevens first two year record as a Division I head coach of (56-10) is second only to Bill Guthridge (58)
Stevens is an analytical coach who spends as much time looking at statistics to prepare for the next game as he does looking at game film. Stevens was the first college coach to hire someone on his staff, purely for statistical research.
Doesn't it seem like Stevens and Dennis Lindsey would get along haha.
Tonight both teams will look to end four game losing streaks. If Boston loses tonight they'll tie their worst start since the 1946-47 season. Utah is already off to its worst start in 34 years.
While Boston has been losing every game, they have been every game. Boston has had decent defense which has kept them in games.
Boston has played surprisingly decent defense (the Celtics are 18th in the league in defensive rating; 10th in points allowed per possession) and that's aided the team in rallying from multiple double-digit deficits to make things interesting down the stretch in each of its four games. Right now, the Celtics don't have the individual talent to win close games and this young roster must figure out how to work together, particularly when things get tense late in the fourth quarter, in order to pull out close games.
I think Utah has been in 3 of its 4 games. They had a chance to beat OKC and Phoenix, played well in the first half of the Houston game but against the Nets they never looked close.
In order for Utah to win tonight they will have compete in all four quarters.
Gordon last year against the Celtics in Boston