When the Celtics endeavored to rebuild their franchise this summer, they knew there were hard days ahead.
Trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to leave a roster with no coach (Doc Rivers bolted too) and an injured superstar who seemed to have Kobe-like killer instincts and hunger for wins (Rajon Rondo) was going to mean a long, long road for the Celtics.
Their hot start has faded and they are settling at the bottom of the Eastern Conference pretty quickly even after Rondo's return to the lineup.
"This is not fun for me at all," Stevens said after the Celtics lost Sunday to the Magic in Orlando. "That's the bottom line. I'd like to see us get better and win some of these, but we haven't. We need to move on and try to do it next time."
That might have been a moment of frustration or Stevens expressing his desire to compete and to win. He signed up to coach this team likely knowing it would be a difficult year. That does not mean he is ready to accept losing in any form.
This in other words is not what the Celtics have been used to for the last five years. This is more like the Celtics in the "inter-regnum" between Larry Bird and the KG trio.
For a coach like Brad Stevens, who compiled a 166-49 record over seven years at Butler, losing is not really in his vocabulary. Even in rebuilding, Stevens found a way to win in the Atlantic-10 and Horizon League. He graduated Gordon Hayward off of Butler and got back to the Final Four.
The Celtics are 14-28 and 12th in the Eastern Conference. They are hardly knocking on the Playoffs' door or showing much signs of making such a move. They even just traded point guard Jordan Crawford as Rajon Rondo has played two games in his return.
Losing is not fun for this organization plain and simple. But that is the reality, and it does not look like it is about to change.