Ranking top 10 NBA coaches: Where Houston Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni lands

Anthony Duckett
Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Brad Stevens Boston Celtics
Brad Stevens Boston Celtics (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

7. Brad Stevens-Boston Celtics

Brad Stevens took over the Boston Celtics during a time of transition, as the C’s had just traded away former coach Doc Rivers. However, Stevens guided the Celtics to five consecutive postseason appearances, and has dealt with a cast of changing characters as well. During the Celtics’ first playoff appearance under Stevens, which was the 2014-2015 season, they were led in scoring by Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas and Jared Sullinger. By the following season, Jeff Green was no longer on the team, and in the next season, Sullinger was no longer on the team.

Stevens was able to turn Isaiah Thomas into an MVP candidate during the 2016-2017 NBA season, and led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals in Stevens’ fourth year at the helm. During that year, the Celtics finished with the top seed in the Eastern Conference, which was the first time that happened since the 2007-2008 season in which the Celtics won the NBA title.

Following the 2016-2017 season, the Celtics traded away Thomas in exchange for Kyrie Irving, which was viewed as an upgrade. It didn’t take long for Stevens to assimilate Irving into the offense, as Boston won 55 games and finished with the second seed in the Eastern Conference during the 2017-2018 season. The 55 wins marked the most wins in Stevens’ NBA coaching career, as the Celtics also made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but were defeated again by LeBron James and the Cavaliers. This was an impressive year, as the Celtics were forced to play the entire season without newcomer and 2017 All-Star Gordon Hayward due to a freak injury Hayward suffered in the opening game.

During that playoff run, Kyrie Irving was forced to miss the entire postseason, yet the C’s still made it to the Conference Finals. This past season, the Celtics dealt with constant rumors regarding Irving’s pending free agency, yet were able to still win 49 games and make it past the first round of the playoffs, which made it three consecutive seasons of Stevens’ tenure that the C’s made it past the first round.

This upcoming season, the Celtics will look much different as they lost Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, and Terry Rozier in the offseason. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Celtics finish the year within the top three spots in the East, in part due to Stevens’ stellar coaching ability.

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