Brad Stevens has made a habit of exceeding expectations wherever he coaches. The 41-year-old may have saved his best work for this season, however, overcoming the loss of Gordon Hayward and countless other key contributors to put the finishing touches on the best regular season campaign of his Celtics tenure.
Despite that success, the Celtics will begin the postseason this weekend as an afterthought in the Eastern Conference. Stevens will have his work cut off for him to get this undermanned group through a round or two without two of its three best players, but the head coach has managed to maximize the healthy pieces remaining on this roster all year long.
BostonSportsJournal.com caught up with Stevens this week to reflect on the coaching journey he's been through this year, the emergence of youth across the roster, his confidence in the remaining group and scheme choices he's considering as the postseason approaches.
Robb: With now three key rotation players out for the year and hundreds of games lost to injuries up and down the roster, how would you rank this season to date in terms of the challenge you and your staff face in preparing on a nightly basis with the fluctuating lineups?
Brad Stevens: I'd say the biggest challenge was just bringing four guys back. That was the hardest part because you have 11 guys that are learning new stuff and trying to build cohesion and grow together. You never want to lose everybody, but at the periods of time we lost everybody, with the exception of Gordon, we had already built the way we were going to play on both ends, so you plug the next guy in. That's easier than starting fresh and anew. There's no doubt since that trade in late August, it's been constant.
Robb: How much have you had to adjust your in-game options from the beginning of the year based on the personnel you have available?