Why Brad Stevens isn't a fan of team captains

The time is now to look towards the playoffs and the future of an enigmatic group. In a season plagued with turmoil and questions about a lack of identity and leadership, Brad Stevens is instead focused on unification.

While Celtics fans are worried about the team’s upcoming schedule, the head of the team is instead focused on what he can do – or rather not do – in order to keep his team unified. At Red Sox spring training last week, Stevens offered his thoughts on why he rarely picks team captains, and why that might be the correct decision for this year’s team.

“I spent a lot of time studying this at Butler,” Stevens said. “I’d say out of the 12 years that I’ve been a head coach we’ve rarely had them [captains]. And the reason being is that you want to empower everyone to add leadership within their own authentic way.

“We want players like [Al] Horford and [Aron] Baynes, who are the most experienced, to be vocal and active within their personality. We want our best player in Kyrie [Irving] to be vocal and do it within his personality. [And] we want our other players that aren’t as accomplished and maybe aren’t playing as much [like] Robert Williams to feel like it’s okay to have ownership and say within his personality what he thinks too.” 

The Celtics’ lackluster results have been undoubtedly concerning at times. To many, the absence of a distinct and defined voice may be what’s keeping them from reaching their true potential.

“I watch all these other teams in the league, they’re jumping on the court, all the stuff that looks like they’re enjoying their teammates’ success,” Morris had told reporters after the Celtics were booed off the court in a decimating loss to the Clippers a few weeks back. “And they’re playing together, and they're playing to win. When I look at us, I see a bunch of individuals.”

So, how could Stevens see appointing someone to take charge like that as anything but a positive?

“I’ve always found that in a team of 15 people, it’s a little different than in a team of 40 or 50 people,” he said. “If I name two or three people captains, inevitably you’re disempowering more than you’re empowering. And so, one of the things we try to do is say everybody’s a catalyst in their own way. We look at it more as catalysts than captains.”

With Stevens set on not electing someone to be the voice of the team, should someone take charge and rise to the occasion – perhaps earning the right to change his mind? 

Maybe that's what the Celtics need.

Rob Bradford contributed to this story from Ft. Myers, Fla.