ESPN Conversation: Brad Stevens

Recently, new head coach of the Boston Celtics Brad Stevens sat down with ESPN's Jeff Goodman to discuss his acclimation to the coaching basketball in the NBA. From discussing his love of basketball being intermingled with being from Indiana, to emulating Coach Tony Dungy, this is a great piece on the man now steering the ship for the Boston Celtics.

Having watched this several times myself, I was incredibly impressed not with his seemingly Belichickian knowledge of the game of basketball, or his humble approach to taking over of of the most storied franchise in sports, but of his candor and measure in answering Goodman’s questions.

There is no “shine” with Stevens. He’s not portraying a role for the camera. He’s not saying what he thinks need to be said. He’s not telling a story that he, or the organization, thinks fans want to hear. Brad Stevens is not here to talk about moving the franchise forward – he is here to do it.

To watch the interview, please click HERE. Paraphrased highlights are below:

On the success of college coaches in the NBA:

It’s a much different game. You’re defining success differently than I define success. [College coaches] may have coached really well, they may not have gotten a lot of time. Two of the best coaches at any level are Calipari and Pitino. If they had an opportunity to coach in the NBA again, I’m sure that in the right set of circumstances they’d be considered two of the best coaches at any level.

What they’ve done is use this as an experience to then grow, get better, and now they are elite of elite… From my standpoint, I’m trying not worry about the transition, not worry about being labeled a college coach or not, not concerned with what people think about being a college coach or not… I’m just being myself and trying to coach as well as I can.

On his relationship with Rajon Rondo:

I’m trying to do with Rondo anything I would do with any player in a leadership position. Sharing YouTube videos, share articles, sharing books that I think he would like or that would stretch him to think- I’ve always done that. Rondo and I have a lot of similarities with things we want to see with our team getting better, with guys getting better, or things that he can do to best impact the guys. Most of it is about process. Being great every single day. Not being too high or too low, but just going after it.

There are some great Celtics leaders of all time, right? I told him in my office the other day that he has a chance- a unique opportunity for him- to be in that mix down the road. There is a clear-cut leader, he is our clear-cut best player, and this is a great opportunity for him. I think he is really anxious about that challenge.

On if Rondo’s acclimation to a leadership role surprised him:

Guys want to get better. Good players don’t become good players because they are not enthusiastic about their job or about becoming better. It doesn’t surprise me at all. I knew from the first moment I talked to him he was going to be a person that would think about not just about what you’re doing but why you’re doing it.

When you run a play there are five guys in five spots. Most basketball players will go to their spot and they’ll do what they are supposed to do… but they won’t know what the other four spots do because they don’t understand why they are doing it. He gets it all. It’s no different in leading, or coaching, or running an organization. He understands the big picture and I think it’s really important that we continue to share and talk about it because he’s a big part of it.