For anyone expecting sweeping changes from the Boston Celtics this offseason, team president of basketball operations Brad Stevens is throwing a bit of cold water on that idea.
After a season in which the Celtics fell one game short of a return to the NBA Finals, Stevens said he sees a team in need of small tweaks, not massive disruption to the leadership or its young core.
“There was a lot that went right, and we can’t lose sight of that,” Stevens said Thursday during his season-ending news conference. “It’s not far. … It’s really hard to get in the mix. So, we just have to figure out how to be a little better.”
That will start at the top with coach Joe Mazzulla, who Stevens said will return after guiding the Celtics to 57 wins and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Asked directly if Mazzulla is the right person to lead the team going forward, Stevens was unequivocal.
“Yeah, I think he is,” Stevens said. “I thought he did a really good job with this group. Everybody’s going to overreact to the best players and coaches after every game. That’s always how it is. We know that going in, so we have to be able to judge things on the whole.”
That the team was able to finish the regular season second in both offense and defense and fight back from a 3-0 deficit in the conference finals is evidence of Mazzulla’s leadership, Stevens said.