The NBA prohibits teams to coach in consecutive All Star games. Last year Cleveland earned the honor of coaching the All Star game. So, this year’s All Star staff will be represented by the second place team in the East as long Cleveland holds the top spot heading into the break. Currently, Toronto holds a two game lead for that second spot. Toronto also holds the tiebreaker with Boston heading into the All Star break, as they’ve beat Boston both time they’ve faced each other. So, for Boston to get the second seed in the East, and Stevens coaching the All Star game, they’re going to have to make up three games on Toronto.
Seventeen games to go
Both teams have seventeen games left leading into the All Star break. Neither team has a particularly challenging schedule when looking at the opponents. But, Toronto does have five back-to-backs, while Boston only has four. Boston does, however, have a tough four games in five nights stretch coming up.
Both teams will face each other one more time before the break. That game could determine the All Star coaching staff if the Celtics can figure out a way to make up a couple games over leading into the break. Boston does have the advantage of playing more games at home. Plus, the teams that the Raptors are facing on the second half of back-to-backs are quality teams, for the most part.
How important is it to coach the All Star game?
The most important aspect of coaching the All Star game is that your team is either first or second in the conference. Outside of that, it’s really great exposure for the coaching staff. For Boston, it gives their coaches access to the best players in the East. There won’t be any in-game tactical advantages, but there will be personal advantages. Getting a chance to coach the team in practice, and during the game will build relationships of some magnitude.
Last year’s All Star game gave Isaiah Thomas a chance to try to recruit some big name players. Whether or not that had an impact on Al Horford coming to Boston is up for speculation. But, there was this:
I. Thomas said an all star this weekend asked him about Boston. When Al Horford’s name was mentioned, IT smiled, I didn’t say (his name)- A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) February 13, 2016
Brad Stevens really wants to be the All Star coach
Winning the division is really high up the list of goals for this Boston Celtics team. So, naturally Stevens understands the position the Celtics would be in for him to be coaching the All star game. Here is what he had to say about coaching the All Star game prior to Boston’s most recent loss to Toronto.
I don’t want this to come off wrong because I think it’s most important that that’s a real honor to be a part of a team that’s in position to do that. So if you’re in the top couple in either (conference) then that’s a real good thing, Stevens said before a meeting with Toronto that could pull the Celtics into a tie for second in the conference. Otherwise I could care less.Jay King from masslive.com
Who is there to recruit this year?
Unlike last season, there aren’t a lot of big name free agents likely to hit the market this summer. And, if they are a big name free agent they’re likely to be on the West team. Players like Curry, Durant, Cousins, Hayward, Griffin, and Paul all reside in the West. Most of those guys are likely to remain with their current team. So, maybe it’s not going to be a big year for recruiting, but a little extra respect and exposure can’t hurt.
What are the chances Boston overtakes Toronto by the break?
Surprisingly, winning three more games than Toronto over a seventeen game stretch is unlikely. The Raptors are a really good team, and they have two players that can take over a game. Boston only has one player that can take over a game. Still, Boston has managed to make up a little ground over the last seventeen games.
Seventeen games ago, the Raptors were 16-7, and had won 8 of their last 10 games. Meanwhile, Boston was 13-10, and had just lost the first of a three game losing streak. In fact, the 16th win for Toronto, and 10th loss for Boston were a result of the same game. Since Toronto beat Boston seventeen games ago, Boston has only made up one game on the Raptors.
It’s going to be a big challenge to rip the division lead away from the Raptors. But, if they do, it’s going to be a big confidence boost for the Celtics team, and their coaching staff.