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Your Morning Dump… Where Brad Stevens is Sleepless in Somerville

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Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

“These games, and [Friday] night’s game in particular, I woke up multiple times, let’s put it that way,” said Stevens. “It’s hard to go back to sleep, because you think about everything that you could have controlled and controlled better. Credit [the Raptors] for their two [late-game] offensive possessions, because they made big plays. And then I thought[Rajon] Rondo made a nice driving play and I thought he might be able to turn the corner on the next one, but they got the foul quickly and we didn’t get a good enough shot at the end.

“Those are the plays that don’t sit well with me. It’s about me. I could have been better in that situation.”

“The stuff that keeps me up at night is the stuff that I can control,” said Stevens. “Whether it’s helping to get more out of an individual, to coach better from a psychological standpoint, or to be better X’s and O’s standpoint, I’m just going to continue — I’ve got to do better. So that’s what I’m going to hold myself to.”

Stevens later admitted that the Celtics played better against Toronto on Friday than they did in the front half of the home-and-home on Wednesday in Boston.

“Didn’t help me sleep at all, but I do think that,” deadpanned Stevens.

ESPN Boston – Sleepless Stevens ponders lineups

Ok so Coach Stevens isn’t actually calling into 98.5 The Sports Hub or WEEI under the guise of “Sleepless in Somerville” late at night.  Well he might be, but I’m guessing when he does have trouble sleeping he’s watching game film while doing his best Rondo and tossing a Gatorade bottle at the screen out of frustration.  But think about it for a moment.  This is what you want from your coach.  No, not to see a guy struggle so much that he can’t sleep, but one that cares this much.  Just think of what he’d be like during a 7-game Eastern Conference Finals?

The fact that Stevens is tossing and turning (and perhaps secretly posting late night tweets) over lineups with this roster just to eek out a few more defensive stops in a lost season is incredibly encouraging.  Yes he’s still learning the NBA game, but we knew this would be the case this year.  Now, if he were hired to replace Doc and simply keep all the veterans together (Pierce, KG, etc.) then it might not have been the best fit right away.  But this is part of what happens in a rebuild.  This is why you see Jared Sullinger jacking up threes like he’s shooting 40%, not 25%.  It’s why you see Kelly Olynyk shooting the ball faster than he catches it.  It’s why you see Coach Stevens draw up a corner three for Brandon Bass out of a timeout (ok actually, that one is still a bit SUSPECT to me) or calling an Avery Bradley to Rondo alley-oop play (again, odd).

All of it goes into a rebuilding year.  You tinker with lineups and just toss everything into the lab and see what happens.  With ten games left, Stevens has a handful of opportunities to experiment and the results will likely end with more sleepless nights.  By mid-April the sleepless nights will shift to Danny Ainge and the front office (and the fans) who will have to wait a month until they find out when the next (and biggest) phase of the rebuild begins.  Until then, how about some Ambien, coach?

On Page 2, The NBA analytics debate rages on:

Celtics coach Brad Stevens is noted for having an analytical approach (which he disputes), but he said, “The biggest thing is more what you can pick up on the film.”

Ainge agreed and said the human element is by far the most important aspect when it comes to basketball analysis.

“Sometimes with the analytics and all the other information that’s out there, it sometimes leads to shortcuts that coaches can’t do,” Ainge said. “Coaches need to watch their teams, watch the film, communicate with their players, get the players to play fundamentally sound.

“I think sometimes numbers lead to shortcuts. We’re trying to make sure that that doesn’t happen.”

Rondo appreciates Ainge’s cautious approach to analytics.

“I think that’s why Danny is one of the best GMs around,” Rondo said. “He’s a player that played the game. It’s not just about business aspect — well, then again, it is — but you still have to have a feel for the game, have a feel for players, know personnel.

“You just can’t look at a number and say, ‘OK, this guy is shooting 50 percent from the field, 90 percent from the free throw line, put him on this team and have a great season.’ It doesn’t work like that.

“You’ve got to know personalities. I think you’ve got to know the locker room. I think that’s why [Heat president] Pat Riley has done a great job. I don’t know who the GM is for the Spurs, but [him, too].”

Boston Globe – New age of NBA analytics: Advantage or overload?

Just another fantastic piece submitted by Baxter Holmes of the Globe.  The above quote is a good one coming from three of the most important pieces on any NBA team when it comes to this debate: the coach, the GM and the star player.  In this instance, they’re all highly intelligent people as well.  Although I did cringe a little at the thought of Rondo complimenting Pat Riley, but then made me laugh when he didn’t even know who the GM of the Spurs is (R.C. Buford).  At any rate, give it a read, it has some good stuff in it no matter which side of the debate you fall on.  Personally, I feel the same as Ainge, Rondo and Stevens do in the above quote.

The rest of the links:

ESPN Boston – Sleepless Stevens ponders lineups | Brad Stevens knows Boston Celtics’ defense needs a true center

Boston Globe – Boston Celtics try to keep their heads up despite difficult losses | GM never lost hope while Nets found their way (Sunday Notes)

Boston Herald – Celtics can’t spare any change | Joakim Noah’s arc is rising (Sunday Notes)

CSNNE – Noah shows qualities reminiscent of young KG | Stevens on goals for remainder of season | Welsh: Best fit for Celtics in NBA Draft? | Is Rondo-Bradley the C’s backcourt of the future? | Which Celtics should stay, and which should go?

MassLive – Brad Stevens regrets not coaching better during late moments of Boston Celtics’ loss to Toronto Raptors

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