Questions Surrounding the Hiring of Brad Stevens

Stevens was an unexpected hiring, but could make perfect sense in the future.

Stevens was an unexpected hiring, but could make perfect sense in the future.

How much of a positive force will Stevens be in Boston’s rebuilding effort?

There may not be a better model for rebuilding in the collegiate level than Stevens’ teams at Butler. Prior to him undertaking the head coaching position, the Bulldogs were in the midst of a three-year NCAA tourney drought. Furthermore, from 1962 to 2003, Butler had only made it to the postseason six times during that span. Evidently, Butler’s basketball reputation and success drastically changed for the better upon Stevens’ arrival in Indianapolis in 2007. For the next six years, Stevens would lead the Bulldogs to five tournament appearances, as they gradually built upon their successes from the previous year. What first was early round and Sweet Sixteen exits eventually led to shots (2) at the national championship, feats Butler University would never have dreamed of a few years ago (it amounted to a 14-6 record in tourney play). The team’s success stemmed from the gradual progression Brad Stevens initiated–an effort the Celtics have chosen to commit to by hiring the Butler coach.

Stevens also fits the idea of the future of sports, and how every movement within an organization will be decided upon: statistical analysis. During his time at Butler, Stevens was a huge advocate and employer of advanced stats to benefit his team. He expressed the importance of how these stats factor into success to his team, and instructed his players to always take into account these numbers and their significance. The future, to which the rebuilding effort Stevens will embark upon leads towards, will certainly coincide with the rise of advanced analytics. Therefore, there’s plenty of reason for optimism regarding how the Celtics will be built back to power, as the overseer of the effort essentially embodies the future of sports.

Can a relationship between Stevens and Rajon Rondo work?

As I wrote, I thought the best way to handle Rondo and extract the best effort out of him was to hire a bold, no-nonsense, assertive locker room persona. Stevens, who lacks an imposing sense of firmness, does not fulfill this character. But there is another way to foster a connection between Rondo and Stevens: by means of closeness in age. Perhaps all the mercurial point guard needs is a higher authority that doesn’t necessarily act like one–Stevens allows an uninhibited freedom for his players, and being just nine years older, could find relating to and communicating with Rondo uncomplicated.

Of course, there is another course of action that adheres more to the Celtics’ rebuilding mode: trading Rondo altogether. Not only would Boston bypass potential strife or difficult dilemmas, but Stevens would begin his work with a clean slate–a situation perhaps more suitable for a coach not hesitant to tinker with his lineup.

Does hiring Stevens give the Celtics an identity?

Stevens’ coaching is best described as calm, perceptive, and astute. He focuses entirely on what his team does before and during a game–preparation, readiness, and composure–while not worrying about everything else. His modesty and humility translates perfectly into the mold of the basketball teams he coaches: they’re based on team unity and chemistry, valuing each player the same, and putting forth full effort at all times. At his time at Butler, he would rather have had a team-oriented player with high intangibles than a top-notch recruit ready to leave for the NBA after one year. Stevens’ composed, yet competitive quality can best be depicted by his time on the sidelines. He rarely gets too emotional during games and never shouts after referees or players; rather, he quietly observes and analyzes the game. Stevens certainly won’t be able to establish all these coaching principles he utilized in the college game in the realm of the NBA, but overall shows the general style he will bring.

Can Stevens transfer his success from the collegiate level to the NBA?

During his 6-year tenure as head coach as Butler, Stevens could not have done more for a mid-major school: his Bulldogs went to back-to-back national championship, and the school name experienced a massive burst in popularity. But he won’t go about attaining success through having an overly-passionate, polarizing personality, and using his power as coach to institute sweeping changes. Whether expressed to the media during press conferences or to his players in the locker room, his calm and observant demeanor–making him be meticulous in all he does–best describes him. Stevens focuses on the “little things”, and how he can tweak and alter facets of his own squad’s game to better place themselves in a chance to win.

Will Stevens be able to reinvigorate the franchise and fanbase?

If to recall and recognize his pedigree and history as a coach, then Stevens will bring a breath of fresh air and some excitement to a Celtics team on a decline. The best attitude towards his tenure is one with patience: fans must accept the team is rebuilding, and not hold championship aspirations from the start. But over time, Stevens methodical, unique, and calm approach to the game will make him quickly likable.

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