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Embracing Change, Boston Celtics Hire 23-Year-Old Analytics Phenom

WALTHAM, MA - JULY 5: New Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens (R) is introduced to the media by President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge July 5, 2013 in Waltham, Massachusetts. Stevens was hired away from Butler University where he led the Bulldogs to two back to back national championship game appearances in 2010, and 2011.  (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Darren McCollester/Getty Images
Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 1, 2016

New Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens found an unlikely formula for success during his days manning the sidelines at Butler University.

Under his watch, the Bulldogs rattled off a 166-49 record, giving Stevens the best six-year start to a coaching career in NCAA Division I history. Butler made a surprising run to the 2010 title game, then found its way back to the Big Dance a year later.

The analytically inclined Stevens clearly saw something the rest of the college hoops world could not. Ainge hopes he's discovered the ace up Stevens' sleeve:

Drew Cannon, Brad Stevens's analyticsl guru at Butler, tells the Globe that he'll be joining the Celtics coaching staff.

— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) July 8, 2013

Stevens was one of the hottest names in the college ranks, but it's unclear just how much that means for the 36-year-old's transition to the pro game. He'll have to manage personalities like never before, giving orders and demanding effort from players making multiples of his coaching salary.

In an effort to ease the long process ahead, Stevens will pore over all of the numbers now at his disposal looking for whatever mathematical edge he can find. Cannon's presence will, if nothing else, give him another set of eyes to examine the data and another mind to draw out the meaning behind those numbers.

Boston's a team in transition with Doc Rivers settled in his new West Coast home and former Celtics mainstays Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett now draped in the black-and-white threads of the Brooklyn Nets.

With Stevens at the helm and Cannon at his side, faces aren't the only things changing in one of the league's most storied franchises.

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