Brad Stevens

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Brad Stevens (Coach of the Year), Jayson Tatum (Rookie of the Year) are NBA awards finalists

John Tomase
May 16, 2018 - 9:27 pm

Brad Stevens and Jayson Tatum may not win their respective year-end awards, but they were still honored on Wednesday as finalists.

Stevens was one of three nominated for Coach of the Year -- along with fired Raptors coach Dwane Casey and Utah's Quin Snyder. Tatum, meanwhile, joins odds-on favorite Ben Simmons and Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell as Rookie of the Year finalists.

Neither selection is a surprise. Stevens led the Celtics to 55 wins and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference despite losing Gordon Hayward five minutes into the season and Kyrie Irving in mid-March. The Celtics battled a series of injuries elsewhere -- including season-ending knee surgery for big man Daniel Theis -- to remain competitive in the East. They're now two wins away from reaching the Finals after taking a pair of convincing victories over LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the conference finals, though voting has already been conducted, so that won't help Stevens' case.

The same goes for Tatum. Thrust into a more prominent role following Hayward's broken leg, the No. 3 overall pick in last year's draft responded by averaging 13.9 points a game while shooting .434 on 3-pointers. He has upped his game in the playoffs, averaging 18.1 points a night on a mixture of drives, pull-ups, and 3-pointers, and he hit the shot that eliminated the Sixers in the second round.

Winners will be announced on June 25.

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