We've seen it all here in the Brad Stevens era for the Celtics. The overachievers? Seen that before. The underachievers? Woof! Yeah, we saw that last season. But the amazing part is that at 4-1 so far, the Celtics have had their best start under Brad Stevens. So it sort of makes you think, what's different? What's been working this year that didn't work last year? Let's take a look at a few of the factors that have led to Brad Steven's best start as the Celtics head coach.
The Relationship With Kemba Walker
We all knew that a switch had to be made from last year to this year. Last year, yes, the Celtics had Kyrie Irving. But as we found out sooner rather than later, Kyrie was a DISASTROUS fit for the Celtics. The mood swings, the questioning of the coaching staff and organization, the calling out teammates on the court; it all came out. He's gone now. Insert Kemba Walker. Walker has proven to be exactly what the Celtics need so far in the young season. Sure, he didn't shoot the ball well in his first two games. But the last three games? Yeah, he's had 30 or more points in those games. Brad even went to the extent to call Kemba a "warrior" on the court. The relationship is there and it's going to continue to grow as the season moves forward.
The Rise Of Gordon Hayward
Greenie hits the nail on the head here. Gordon Hayward is back and in a big way. Remember, last season Hayward was dealing with the after effects of the leg injury that cost him his first season in Boston. With that type of injury, it takes two seasons to really get comfortable on the leg again. But Hayward has looked very good through five games. He's more aggressive driving to the basket. He's hitting more open shots from the outside. Not to mention, he looks better hustling up and down the floor. Hayward is a big part of the Celtics future, and him looking better is a huge reason for the early season success under Brad Stevens.
The Return Of The Fighting Celtics
We saw it in the Milwaukee game, and it was all thanks to Brad Stevens. Stevens always tells the Celtics to keep fighting every possession, and to never take a play off. With last year's Celtics, the Bucks win that game in a rout. But this year is different. This year is showing glimpses of the "never say die" Celtics that we saw only a few years ago. For a team to battle back like they did is impressive enough. But to do that against an Eastern Conference contender in Milwaukee is a whole new level of impressive. When this Celtics team plays for a full 48 minutes, good things happen. Look at the most recent game against the Knicks. The Knicks may not be that good, but it still took the Celtics the full 48 minutes to beat them. The point is that with this new group, Steven's philosophy of battling with every play seems to be paying off big time.
Brad Stevens has a lot of factors working in his favor. New players, a new attitude, veterans taking steps in the right direction. It's all going uphill for the Celtics. This team is a TEAM, and those are the Celtics teams we all love watching. The Celtics have a game against Cleveland on Tuesday, and Charlotte on Thursday. If all goes according to plan, Brad Steven's hot start may get even hotter by the weekend. Let's see what happens!