Brad Stevens: Everything Fans Need to Know About New Celtics Coach
The Celtics kept their coaching search on the down-low, with team president Danny Ainge telling the media that he wasn't in any rush to make a decision (per ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg).
Apparently, he wasn't in any rush to get the rest of the world involved in whom he should hire, either.
In the end, the Celtics could have hired anybody and it would have been a fine selection. If it works out, they will have picked up an esteemed head coach out of nowhere. If something goes wrong and the team struggles, that's what everybody expects from them anyway.
So what can the Celtics expect from Doc Rivers' replacement? Well, he's definitely a different kind of coach, that's for sure.
The General Bio Stuff
Stevens is a new face in NBA circles, so we might as well go through a quick meet-and-greet before we get into who he is as a head coach.
He's an Indiana boy, having attended Zionsville Community High School and then DePauw University (not DePaul, mind you), a Division III school in an Indiana city that takes up all of five square miles.
While at DePauw, Stevens was a three-time Academic All-America Nominee and graduated with a degree in economics in 1999.
It was a few years before he got back into college basketball, joining Butler as a volunteer for the 2000-01 season before landing a job as a full-time assistant a year later.
All this came at a huge expense, as Stevens quit his financial position with a pharmaceutical company in order to even have a shot at becoming a paid assistant coach for a low-level Division I basketball team.
The risk seems to have paid off.
Stevens remained an assistant at Butler until 2007, when head coach Todd Lickliter took a job with the Iowa Hawkeyes and Stevens was pegged to become the team's new head coach.
Butler won the Horizon League in Stevens' first four years as head coach and finished as the NCAA runner-up in 2010 and 2011, coming within three inches on a last-second heave from Gordon Hayward of winning a national championship in the first of back-to-back appearances.
His worst season with the Bulldogs was a 22-15 record in 2011-12 that relegated them to the College Basketball Invitational tournament before they bounced back and made it to the third round (Round of 32) of the NCAA tournament after a 27-win season the following year.
In his time as Butler's head coach, Stevens' teams won 77 percent of their games, compiling a 166-49 record.
From @ESPNStatsInfo, Brad Stevens won 166 games in 6 years at Butler, the most ever for a Division I coach in his first 6 seasons.— The NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 3, 2013
Something that you'll hear a lot in the coming days is just how much the Bulldogs embraced the statistical revolution when it really was a groundbreaking thing to do in basketball.
Boston has put a greater premium on analytics and coaching, and Brad Stevens had incorporated them in major way at Butler.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 3, 2013
It's part of the reason why they were able to put together so many NCAA tournament runs while most other college basketball teams were content to hunker down on defense and cross their fingers on offense.
Stevens has talked at length about the importance of looking at the game from every possible angle, showing incredible love to Ken Pomeroy's statistical-evaluation website, KenPom.com, in his time with the Bulldogs.
If there's one thing that's not only important to know about Stevens, but also impossible to ignore, it's that he's not a man who is going to become complacent once something works. Per The New York Times, he said, "That’s one of the most fun things for me, personally. Trying to see if you can solve a puzzle."
He doesn't just embrace statistical analysis; he revels in it.
Brad Stevens should wear the first coach jersey, like managers do in baseball, and wear "TI-83" on the back.— C.R.E.A.M. Olajuwon (@Marco_Romo) July 3, 2013
The College Boy
Perhaps the most fun thing about Stevens is the fact that he looks younger than almost every player in the NBA.
Brad Stevens looks as old as Dwight Howard acts which is as old as the Celtics' roster will be next season.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 3, 2013
Stevens is 36, but will turn 37 before the start of the 2013-14 season. I suppose if you were to ask him, he would say he's about 36 and three-quarters.
Kevin Garnett is five months older than Brad Stevens.— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) July 3, 2013
Aside from Kevin Garnett, Stevens is younger than Antawn Jamison, Tim Duncan, Andre Miller, Ray Allen, Mike James, Jerry Stackhouse, Derek Fisher, Marcus Camby, Steve Nash and, of course, Juwan Howard.
Let's just put it this way: When Vince Carter won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest back in 2000, Stevens didn't even have a job in basketball yet.
Stevens Isn't Pitino
When we get to talking about college coaches making the transition to the NBA, Larry Brown is one of the few success stories of note, while the go-to disaster is almost always Rick Pitino.
Let's go ahead and throw that comparison out the window.
Sure, both guys vaulted from the college ranks to coach the Celtics, but that's where the similarities end between the two, and you can really see the difference in their interviews.
Right off the bat, Stevens is already on the right path. Pitino came in and pushed Red Auerbach out the door, while Stevens is just coming in to coach a basketball team.
The truth is that Stevens was never your typical college coach. He was great at it, sure, but he never had the same attitude as most in his position.
Successful college coaches have always been the stars of their teams. Players come and go quicker than fans can bat an eye, but coaches last for decades, at least when successful.
Stevens is a college basketball coach with plenty of aptitude and none of the ego.
Will Stevens be successful with the Celtics? There's really no way to tell at this point.
But his success could open up the door for others in a similar situation.
Can't wait until Shaka Smart starts coaching the Lakers.— Adam Fromal (@fromal09) July 3, 2013
Prepare for the Brad Stevens Era in Boston.
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