A team of ESPN staffers has established rankings for the NBA's coaches, general managers, and team owners. Despite a dismal season, the Celtics rank highly in each of them.
Coach Brad Stevens ranked as the No. 11 head coach in ESPN's rankings, just behind Oklahoma City's Scott Brooks and ahead of Toronto's Dwyane Casey. An observant fan might notice that Brooks has the 55-21 Thunder in second place in the Western Conference, while Casey's Raptors are 45-32 and in first place in the Atlantic Division. At 23-54 the Celtics have the league's 4th-worst record, but Stevens beat out coaches of playoff teams like Houston, Brooklyn, and Golden State.
In an explanatory section titled, "What about the newbies?", Steven's high place in spite of losing is explained"
For the most part, they were ranked based on how their teams have performed relative to expectations.
For instance, Jeff Hornacek of the Phoenix Suns and Steve Clifford of the Charlotte Bobcats ranked No. 7 and No. 9, respectively.
The Boston Celtics haven't won a lot of games this season, but voters gave a pass to Brad Stevens at No. 11.
Danny Ainge ranked 6th in the rankings of top front office executives, while the Celtics ownership group ranked fourth, behind only San Antonio, Dallas, and Miami. What those rankings tell me is that ESPN is confident in Stevens to coach up a better group of players, and also in Boston's long-term plans, specifically their draft picks.