The fresh voice of the Celtics, new coach Brad Stevens, was introduced to the media on Friday and was quick to point out the respect he has for his new superstar point guard.
While the statement can be construed as naivety, the reality is that general manager Danny Ainge, who spent the press conference gloating about Stevens, will be listening to the desire of his new coach.
Stevens: "There is no bigger fan of Rajon Rondo than me. His instincts…I can't wait to meet him. Talked to him on the phone yesterday."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 5, 2013
This is all new to Stevens.
There was a raw, gushing element to Stevens during his press conference. He’s young, just 36 years old, and he’s suddenly the fresh face for one of the league’s most prestigious franchises.
The well-intentioned coach isn’t being anything but his honest self. He started his coaching career as an assistant coach at Butler in 2001 before leading the school to national basketball recognition.
Stevens on first call from C's: "The Boston Celtics!? Wow. That is an incredible feeling, an incredible honor. Flattering."— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) July 5, 2013
Suddenly, he’s being introduced as the leader of the Celtics. Of course, there is going to be a wide-eyed reaction.
Still, Stevens had the proper composure and attitude in the moment. He will be a first-year NBA coach, and there’s going to be a learning curve, which is one reason for his excessive humility.
That humbleness could be a positive sign for the Celtics in their hire. Contrary to Rick Pitino and John Calipari—great college coaches who struggled in the pros—a recent claim was made that Stevens will have the opposite approach.
Stevens "I won't be right in every decision..I'm going to make a lot of mistakes. I think this group will know I genuinely care about them"— Jeremiah Johnson (@JJFOX59SPORTS) July 5, 2013
A league source told Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe: "He’s the anti-[John] Calipari, the anti-[Rick] Pitino. Those guys, they think it’s about them. He’s going to learn that it’s about the players and that’s going to help."
If Friday’s press conference taught us anything, it may be exactly that: Stevens isn’t about himself. And that’s exactly how Ainge and the Celtics need it to be during the rebuilding process.