Unfortunately for Celtics fans that were hoping coach Brad Stevens would make his second All-Star appearance alongside Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker, it looks like his campaign will fall just short.
The NBA All-Star coach is awarded to the coach who’s team owns the best record in their respective conference as of a date set by the NBA prior to All-Star weekend. That date this season is February 2nd. However, there is one caveat. Coaches are not allowed to be named to the All-Star team in back to back seasons. With the head coach of the first place Milwaukee Bucks, Mike Budenholzer, having made the team last year, the honor would go to the second place team in the conference.
While the Celtics currently sit tied with the Miami Heat for third place, their chances of catching the two seed Toronto Raptors by February 2nd are slim to none. It’s unclear if the time when the coaches are set is before or after the games on February 2nd take place, but even being liberal with that assumption doesn’t give Stevens much of a chance.
The Celtics are 1.5 games behind the Raptors and have one game left to play over the next three days. The Raptors have two. While the Celtics face off against a formidable rival in the 76ers in their one game, the Raptors face two measly non-playoff teams in the Pistons and Bulls. To get the two seed, the Raptors would need to lose both of these games and the Celtics would need to beat Philadelphia, something they’ve failed to do in their previous three matchups this season.
So it appears Brad Stevens won’t make the All-Star team and the honor will go to Nick Nurse assuming the Raptors don’t completely fall apart over the next few days. If by some miracle the Raptors do lose their next two games and the Celtics win, Stevens presumably would be named the coach of “Team Giannis” with the Celtics currently owning the tiebreaker over the Raptors.
Stevens and the Celtics sat in second place in the conference for much of the season, but it appears the team’s inconsistent play in January cost the coach his spot at All-Star weekend. Although, Stevens may rather spend that time with his family anyways. The Celtics still have plenty of time to catch the Toronto Raptors for when it really matters.
Photo: (Mary Schwalm – AP Photo)