If you’re a fan of the Boston Celtics then you don’t have a lot of reasons to celebrate lately.
Despite hopes that this season would be much better than last, the Celtics haven’t been playing like one of the most dominant teams in the NBA.
Right now they’re 10th in the Eastern Conference and sitting at exactly .500 with a record of 14-14.
After a major coaching change in the summer, followers of the team expected the squad to turn over a new leaf and play better than they have in years.
In reality, they’re even worse than they were in multiple ways and that is leading many to wonder if President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens should have ever stepped down from the head coach position.
Udoka Won’t Adapt
People are very frustrated with new coach Ime Udoka and this is leading to calls for his firing and the reinstatement of Steven as HC.
When Udoka was hired, fans were excited because he had an emphasis on defense previously in his career and that’s one of the areas where the Celtics are lacking.
People thought that bringing Udoka on board would mean the defensive rating of the Celtics would skyrocket.
While it is true that Boston has gotten a bit better at defending the ball and protecting the rim, it has come at the expense of offense.
Coach Udoka: "The identity (of our group) is to rely on defense, be a great defensive team and give ourselves a chance every night as far as that. And offensively, get back to playing team basketball."
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 12, 2021
Many critics of the team say that Udoka values defense above literally anything else. The team’s offensive playmaking isn’t what it once was, the team isn’t working well together, and there are far too many turnovers and sloppy plays.
But Udoka holds fast to the idea of improving the defense…and nothing else.
But has the defense even improved that much?
Last season, the Celtics ranked 16th in the league for defensive rating.
This year, they are currently 15th.
Was Stevens Much Better?
While some people are saying that it’s time to send Udoka packing, you have to ask if Stevens was all that better as head coach.
The Celtics ended last season with a record of 36-36, exactly at .500 and positioning them as seventh in the Eastern Conference.
Right now, the team sits at 10th (in a year where the competition is more fierce) at 14-14.
The records are just about the same so it stands to reason that if Stevens was still coach the team would still be performing at this mediocre level.
Besides, Stevens has a lot more power as President of Basketball Operations.
From this position, he will be able to make the hirings necessary to form the team into champions.
And if people are crying for the leadership of Stevens, they would be wise to remember that he was the one who hired Udoka in the first place, even though he immediately had some harsh things to say about the team.
New #Celtics head coach Ime Udoka with Brad Stevens sitting next to him.
“Sorry to mention this Brad, but 27th in assists last year, we want to have more team basketball there.” pic.twitter.com/BAZivKOk1W
— Raul Martinez (@RaulNBCBoston) June 28, 2021
Stevens is still guiding the team, just from a different level.
The truth is that the Celtics are having problems that are beyond just the coaching staff.
Udoka certainly needs to refine his coaching direction and change his priorities but the team needs to step it up too.
The problems are bigger than Stevens and that’s why him being head coach wouldn’t solve them.