As the Boston Celtics continue to endure a rocky regular season, you might expect their captain to step up and take charge.
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But that won't be happening in Boston -- because the Celtics don't have one.
The C's are one of several NBA teams who don't have a captain this season. In fact, they haven't had a captain since Brad Stevens' first season as Celtics head coach, when point guard Rajon Rondo assumed the role in January 2014.
That's no coincidence, of course. During a trip to the Boston Red Sox's spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., last week, Stevens detailed his aversion to naming a team captain that dates to his college coaching days at Butler.
"I spent a lot of time studying this at Butler," Stevens said, via WEEI.com. "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."
If Stevens were to pick a captain, it likely would be Irving, the Celtics' lone All-Star who takes ownership of the team's successes and failures and pushes his teammates to be better (often in the public eye).
Irving isn't the only voice in the locker room, though; Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart both have issued public challenges to their teammates this season, while Horford leads by example on the court.
So, rather than label one or two players the "leader(s)" of the team, Stevens prefers to keep things open-ended to maintain at least an appearance of equality.
"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," Stevens 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."
Stevens is bucking a trend in that regard; Paul Pierce was the Celtics' captain for a decade before Stevens arrived in Boston and was preceded by 13 other captains in team history.
Are the C's better off captain-less? We may find out once the playoffs roll around.
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