FORT WAYNE, Ind. — “The Boston Celtics? Like, wow!”
That was Brad Stevens’ reaction to Boston president of basketball operations Danny Ainge calling the Butler men’s basketball coach on June 25 and talking with him about being the storied franchise’s next coach.
From that regard, Stevens wasn’t any different than any other person in America the past three days. No one saw this hire coming.
But make no mistake, Stevens isn’t like anyone else, and that distinction is what attracted Ainge to the 36-year-old.
“He’s a very smart guy,” Ainge said.
Yes he is. In fact, Stevens is smarter than most and that is why he’ll be an immense success in guiding the Celtics.
“I don’t know if I’m a normal coach from the sense of how everybody operates,” Stevens said. “I don’t think that there is a right or wrong way to do it.”
Yes there is. And a dozen former NCAA coaches have tried to make the transition to the NBA and ultimately ended up with losing records. Stevens won’t.
Stevens is not repeating the mistakes made by several of the biggest names in coaching (Rick Pitino, John Calipari, just to name a few that got fired from NBA jobs). He’s way too intelligent not to learn from history.
The widely held belief that the Boston job is a bad one because some veterans were traded away last month is incorrect. Stevens just took a great job, not a bad one, which sealed the professional fate of so many college coaches before him.
While it is true that the Celtics won’t win more than they lose this year because of its youthful roster and the strength of teams in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics are an “awesome opportunity” according to Stevens in part because he has the full support of the organization in leading this team.