Stephen A Smith rant about Brad Stevens promotion being White privilege is completely wrong if he had taken the time to review Celtics hiring practices for the past 17 years. Yes Brad had a bad year since the Celtics team was better than their record but he has taken the Celtics to seven playoffs in a row including three Eastern Conferences. Since 2004, Celtics have had two head coaches, both of whom had “bad years” but overall had substantial winning records.
In 2004-5, Doc Rivers was hired as head coach after he was fired by the Magic. He won 45 games and took Celtics to first place in the division but a quick out in the playoffs. This was followed by 33 wins and 24 wins, numbers that get most coaches fired but Ainge stuck with Rivers. Rivers rewarded him with taking the big three of Allen, Pierce, and Garnett to a NBA title and six minutes away from a second title.
Celtics would have fired Stevens after this year since it wouldn’t have fit the character of this Celtic organization. And it appears that Ainge had been planning this move for awhile and Stevens may prove to be the right guy for the top job in the organization. He does have a great basketball mind which no one debates and if he was fired, another NBA team would have hired him quickly.
Celtics did not fire Doc Rivers after the 2007 season (and Rivers is black) but instead view 2007 as a rebuilding year and Celtics essentially tanked the year. They gave Rivers a chance to coach a championship caliber team. From 2008 season to the present, Rivers has been one of the best coaches with the Celtics, Clippers, and 76ers but it was not obvious that Rivers would have the record as a head coach that he presently have in 2007.
Smith is not just wrong in this case but Stevens showed himself to be a quality NBA coach with years that he took overachieving Celtics team to the playoffs and to say that if Stevens was black, he would have been fired. False and Doc Rivers proves that. ( I will wager that the next Boston head coach will be black. Personally I think it is time for Sam Cassell to get his chance to be a head coach.)