Ballwashing? I don't know if you spend much time in this forum so forgive me if I didn't give the proper context. My Popovich comment was based on this
article by The Globe's Gary Washburn which was then referenced by crystalline
in the "Doc is a Clipper" thread. To be clear, while I do very much like the hire, I know that Stevens has a long way to go before we can even begin to compare him to Pop. That said, the fact that '86 gave Stevens a six year deal speaks volumes about their commitment to the team's long term planning and, ultimately, their faith in the guy.
Regarding your concerns, I think the first is a legitimate issue but Tom Thibodeau never played in the NBA and, more importantly, neither did Erik Spoelstra. These guys (especially the latter) have had a fair bit of success as NBA head-coaches. If you have talented players and can manage the locker-room, that goes a long way. Stevens' track record at Butler suggests that he will be fine in managing his players - and yes, I know that college is different than the NBA. But Stevens will likely be building with a lot of younger players.
As to your second concern - and upthread HRB pointed out that Ainge will probably add some NBA coaching veterans to the bench to help Stevens. I think we have to give '86 the benefit of the doubt on staffing in this area as well.
Finally, regarding your other concerns, its obvious that these are the ones that should keep us up at night. Religion, use of advanced statistics and appearance have been amongst the biggest impediments for an NBA coach to find success. Mark Jackson is deeply religious (he does not even allow swearing in his locker room) and his leadership has been horrific for Golden State. And the aforementioned Thibodeau and Spoelstra have both been severely hindered by their use of advanced metrics and the way they look. In summary, Steven's faith, his affinity for using stats and his youthful appearance will doom him in the NBA.