Here's an article detailing the reasons for the Celtics revival
from Bill Simmons, unabashed Celtics fanboy. From said article:
2. Bradley's coming-out party can be explained — it came down to confidence and minutes. But Stiemsanity? I have no answers. Greg Stiemsma never averaged more than 12 minutes per game in any of his four Big Ten seasons. (Seriously. Look it up.) He bounced around for four solid years after college. He looked decent in the preseason, earned the Tommy Heinsohn Seal of Approval (getting compared to Bill Russell), quickly lost his mojo and seemed headed for a low spot in the All-Time White Celtics Rankings right between Andrew DeClercq and Brett Szabo. Then, Jermaine O'Neal went down, and so did Chris Wilcox … and just like that, the Stiemer was playing 19 minutes a game, blocking shots (he's averaging two a game since the All-Star break), running the floor, making open 15-footers, taking charges, banging bodies and doing everything you'd ever want from a backup center, with the added bonus that Boston fans loved him more than horny middle-aged housewives love Fifty Shades of Grey.
Does any of this make sense? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! It makes no sense whatsoever! Again, he's playing 19 minutes a game in the NBA when he never played more than 12 minutes a game in college. Did I mention that he's doing this with a badly sprained foot? And that he can't practice? And that he was wearing a walking boot for a couple of weeks? Let's just move on before we jinx Stiemsanity.
Over Christmas, we were visiting my mom in southwestern MN, and just about went to the opening game for the Sioux Falls D-League team, because Stiemsma was returning as their defensive anchor. Unfortunately, the D-League is priced too closely to the NBA, and we decided we didn't want to shell out just to be disappointed by everyone else on the floor.
I would guess it just took Greg this long to grow mentally and physically into his frame. It's not like he didn't show glimpses of this possibility in college, but thinking back, he didn't exude confidence that he could do the right thing most every time, for 30+ minutes a game. But, it is hard not to wonder how differently he would have developed if he hadn't had to play behind an All-American, and more importantly, the unrequited longing for that All-American to play up to those expectations. At any rate, good on 'im.