BOSTON (CBS) – The highs and lows of rebuilding will take their toll on any head coach. The constant changes in personnel, the lack of veterans, and the hopes of creating a culture of consistency are serious current challenges for several NBA franchises, including the Celtics.
The Orlando Magic is one team that has been in rebuilding mode even longer than Boston. After dealing away Dwight Howard in the summer of 2012, the team's focus became developing a young core littered with talent in players like Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo, and Aaron Gordon.
Progress has been hard to come by for Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn. In his third season with the team, Orlando has struggled out of the gate to a 15-34 record, putting Vaughn in the hot seat, according to multiple reports. There wasn't an expectation for the Magic to do much more than compete for a playoff spot in year three, but the inability of the head coach to make positive strides in that direction may cost him his job in the next couple weeks, if not sooner.
Facing a similar rebuilding situation in Boston, Brad Stevens was hesitant to comment directly on the Magic situation last night, calling Vaughn "a really good coach." However, he did elaborate on the issue of patience versus performance in the midst of a challenging rebuilding plan.
"You focus on what you can control," Stevens said of his job. "You do it as well as you can, and you hope that people appreciate that. And at the same time, we understand it's a really competitive business."
The Celtics are currently just a couple games ahead of Vaughn's Magic in the standings, but there is no question about Stevens' own job security. Danny Ainge has raved about the job the 38-year-old has done over the past couple years with a mismatched roster that has been short on talent and constantly reworked via trades.
In the midst of the turmoil, Stevens has appreciated how the organization has had his back.
"I've said it from day one here," Stevens declared. "The biggest thing is that our ownership and our leadership team have been very good with me and been very supportive. At the end of the day, you're really just focused on coaching your team as well as you can. I mean, you're doing it to the best of your ability every day.
"I think when I was going through [coaching] at Butler and we were having all kinds of success, I just kept learning and re-learning how important it was to not focus on anything but coaching your team. And then I'm here and we're experiencing our fair share of growing pains, and it's the same answer."
Ainge has provided the kind of stability that Stevens needs to do his job with confidence thanks to the six-year contract he signed him to in July 2013.
As uncertainty continues to swirl around just what this roster will look like in the coming months, Stevens can rest assured that his spot on the bench is one less thing the team has to worry about as they move forward.
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.
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