Isaiah Thomas perplexed, Brad Stevens not worried after Coach of the Year snub

Yahoo Sports

The Boston Celtics’ run to the Eastern Conference No. 2 seed and through the playoffs without Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving has the basketball world singing the praises of head coach Brad Stevens.

Boston’s ability to play at a high level while depending on players like Terry Rozier at point guard have many crediting Stevens with the team’s tendency to overachieve.

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Stevens’ peers don’t appear to share that sentiment. The 41-year-old Celtics coach received exactly zero votes from fellow coaches for the NBCA Coach of the Year award announced Wednesday, which went to Toronto’s Dwane Casey.

Wait — Nobody voted for Brad Stevens as coach of the year?

Casey was one of eight coaches to receive votes for the award. Brett Brown, Mike D’Antoni, Nate McMillan, Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, Quin Snyder and Terry Stotts were the others.

The tally left at least one Stevens disciple puzzled by the omission.

Isaiah Thomas should know. Like Rozier, Thomas flourished playing in Stevens’ system and stepped up his game to an All-Star level he had not previously shown before arriving in Boston.

Thomas had two All-Star campaigns playing for Stevens, including a 2016-17 season that saw him average 28.9 points and 5.9 assists with a 46.9 field goal percentage that put him in the MVP conversation. The 43.9 percent career shooter averaged more than 20 points just once and made zero All-Star teams in five years before he joined the Celtics.

Brad Stevens received exactly zero votes for coach of the year by his NBA coaching peers, prompting former players to sing his accolades. (AP Photo)
Brad Stevens received exactly zero votes for coach of the year by his NBA coaching peers, prompting former players to sing his accolades. (AP Photo)

Brad Stevens not sweating the snub

Stevens played it cool when asked about the snub before Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“The way that thing works is you get one vote,” Stevens told reporters. “And I’m telling you I looked down the sheet, and there’s no way that I would have voted for me over any of the other 29 people and the guy that should have won got it.

“And those other guys that get votes, they’re unbelievable. I’m stealing from those guys all the time. It’s so incredible to have an opportunity to be one of 30, and I think it’s a lot more important to just focus on competing with your team rather than trying to compare yourself to others.”

While Stevens downplayed the omission, another former Celtic echoed Thomas’ sentiments.

Casey may have the official respect of his peers, but there’s little doubt he wouldn’t want to trade places with Stevens right now.

Stevens’ team still has meaningful basketball games to play, and no reasonable person will be calling for his job if and when Boston gets bounced from the playoffs.

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