Brad Stevens named Celtics head coach

Status
Not open for further replies.

usernamedc

Member
Nov 3, 2012
14
wutang112878 said:
Its times like this our media sucks.  Yes Pitino and Calipari hit close to home and that discussion gets a lot of attention, but the lessons learned there dont apply to Stevens.  Dont hire a scumbag who has a huge ego, who generally doesnt look like a great coach without elite talent and slicks his hair back.  As long as Stevens doesnt change hairstyles he is fine.  But all the focus and concern should be around Stevens system and approach, how that projects to the NBA and if NBA players will listen to him.  Thats important stuff to talk about and figure out.
 
And especially don't let them be in charge of player personnel.
 

IdiotKicker

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 21, 2005
11,181
Somerville, MA
The NBA is a sport where more often than not, a coach allows his team to succeed, rather than directly contributing to his team's success.  Because of the nature of the NBA, individual players obviously have a much higher impact on games/seasons than in other sports.  A single player essentially accounts for close to 20% of his team's minutes/production, which is far more than you can get in hockey/football/baseball, at least in terms of direct impact.  Along with the flow of the game and the ability for a single person to truly generate offense, this really makes the NBA heavily reliant on individual players more than other sports.
 
College basketball is different for a number of reasons, the biggest of which is that because of the maximum 4-year playing career, you never see players rise above the program and become the focus of the entire team.  I'm not saying this doesn't happen on a game-by-game basis, but simply due to the fact that players are guaranteed to leave at some point, you always have to be building for next year.  College programs thus do not have the reliance, either in minutes or scoring, that NBA programs do on a single player.
 
As noted in posts above, this is typically why guys like Pitino and Calipari tend to struggle in the pros.  They come from a college culture in which they are the center, and attempt to instill the same setup on the pro game.  I've watched Stevens pretty closely over the last few years, and based on everything I've seen, he appears to be willing to adapt more than most other coaches I've seen.  I have no doubt that he is in over his head at this point, even he has admitted as much.  But I also think he is willing to learn and change his style, and that simple fact will allow him to be successful in the long run.  Both him and ownership appear to be saying the right things at this point about building a long-term strategy, so I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt as to where things go.  Cautiously excited right now, and this has the potential to be a very positive move for the long-run of the franchise, with minimal short-term consequences if it does go badly.
 

wutang112878

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2007
6,066
Just saw some comments from Hayward, and its stuff like this that makes me really like Stevens.  Intelligent, innovative approach (use of stats & metrics) and top notch preparation, thats a solid foundation:
 
 
 
 
 
Obviously, one personality trait that sticks out about Stevens is his poise, his calm.

Where does that come from? From his extreme preparedness, Hayward said.

"He does his research on guys and knows what he’s doing before the ball even goes up," Hayward said of Stevens. "Even if they make an adjustment, he’s already prepared in his mind what he’s going to do, what he thinks is going to work. He’s got a backup for that and a backup if the backup doesn’t work. That’s why he’s so poised, in my opinion, because he had done his homework early. He knows basketball as well. He’s been in it his whole life and he’s been a student of the game. He knows it inside and out."
 
 
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,069
I really wonder how the casual fan, the one that makes up over 90-95% of the fanbase, will react when Stevens utilizes substitution patterns that are contrary with a casual fans thinking and more importantly with the players who must gain confidence in their leader. Keep in mind that this will be occurring during a "transition" year (read: lots of losses).  I wonder how long the honeymoon will last. It will be an interesting ride for sure.
 

Nick Kaufman

protector of human kind from spoilers
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Aug 2, 2003
13,473
A Lost Time
HomeRunBaker said:
I really wonder how the casual fan, the one that makes up over 90-95% of the fanbase, will react when Stevens utilizes substitution patterns that are contrary with a casual fans thinking and more importantly with the players who must gain confidence in their leader. Keep in mind that this will be occurring during a "transition" year (read: lots of losses).  I wonder how long the honeymoon will last. It will be an interesting ride for sure.
That s the biggest problem i see with the hiring as well. Plus, i dont think this is a coach who s failed and i think he s in for some of that too.
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2006
8,089
SS Botany Bay
smokin joe wood said:
As kuncklecup mentioned, Drew Cannon is going to Boston with Stevens. The rest of the Butler staff staying put. 
 
http://blogs.indystar.com/butler/2013/07/08/butler-keeping-johnson-lewis-losing-drew-cannon-to-boston/
Too bad he's from Duke. In other news, Mike Barnicle just released a book about an NBA team's coach who hires this nerdy math guy who uses unorthodox statistical methods to evaluate basketball players to gain an advantage over other teams.

I remember a discussion here a while back about the difficulties of applying sabrmetrics to basketball, but that was some time ago. Is it possible that this guy has truly made a breakthrough or has enough in the works to be a worth investing in? Would any models he developed at Butler be proprietary?
 

PedroKsBambino

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Apr 17, 2003
32,395
HomeRunBaker said:
I really wonder how the casual fan, the one that makes up over 90-95% of the fanbase, will react when Stevens utilizes substitution patterns that are contrary with a casual fans thinking and more importantly with the players who must gain confidence in their leader. Keep in mind that this will be occurring during a "transition" year (read: lots of losses).  I wonder how long the honeymoon will last. It will be an interesting ride for sure.
 
I think Boston is uniquely positioned on this, given the Red Sox success and overt use of metrics and the Patriots less-vocal but still explicit use of more objective tools.  So yes, a bunch of fans will gripe but 1) Celts ownership isn't going to care and 2) there'll be more people explaining reality to those fans than in any other sports city right now
 

page 2 protege

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2005
235
NYC
The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa said:
Too bad he's from Duke. In other news, Mike Barnicle just released a book about an NBA team's coach who hires this nerdy math guy who uses unorthodox statistical methods to evaluate basketball players to gain an advantage over other teams.

I remember a discussion here a while back about the difficulties of applying sabrmetrics to basketball, but that was some time ago. Is it possible that this guy has truly made a breakthrough or has enough in the works to be a worth investing in? Would any models he developed at Butler be proprietary?
 
I think advanced metrics have been around for a bit of time now, there are several who utilize more or combined statistical measures to evaluate situations/players ratings now. I think Hollinger and Morey are the most well known for applying it to their current basketball teams (though Morey I feel is more respected). 
 
For a long time at Butler, Stevens "subscribed" to what Ken Pomeroy was putting out there, and has publicized in general his use of stats, so I don't know if it's an invention of anything but more so just using all available data so make the best decisions. It appears that at least it was worth investing enough in for the Celtics to hire Drew Cannon. 
 
Also, though I am clearly no expert, any models Cannon would have developed with Stevens would be theirs to use, I doubt their contracts would cover that (but again I can't be sure of that), the more important question would be how does it transition to the next level.
 

Grin&MartyBarret

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 2, 2007
4,932
East Village, NYC
page 2 protege said:
I think advanced metrics have been around for a bit of time now, there are several who utilize more or combined statistical measures to evaluate situations/players ratings now. I think Hollinger and Morey are the most well known for applying it to their current basketball teams (though Morey I feel is more respected). 
 
For a long time at Butler, Stevens "subscribed" to what Ken Pomeroy was putting out there, and has publicized in general his use of stats, so I don't know if it's an invention of anything but more so just using all available data so make the best decisions. It appears that at least it was worth investing enough in for the Celtics to hire Drew Cannon. 
 
Also, though I am clearly no expert, any models Cannon would have developed with Stevens would be theirs to use, I doubt their contracts would cover that (but again I can't be sure of that), the more important question would be how does it transition to the next level.
 
I actually think the entire Thad Matta coaching tree which includes the staffs at Butler, Dayton, Xavier, Ohio State, and now Illinois are all very stat driven. I know that when John Groce was at Ohio University he was very metric driven, and he was an assistant at Ohio State, Xavier, and Butler.
 

page 2 protege

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2005
235
NYC
True, now they do, but a few initially adopted, K and Stevens being one of several,I was more just pointing out that Stevens has thought this way for a long time and seems to be putting more and more weight into statistics and basketball and that the Celts I am sure realize that and it factored into their choice. Not really saying anything that hasn't already been already touched on, so i'll stop 
 

wutang112878

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2007
6,066
That article is awesome, thanks for posting it.
 
Some highlights:
 
 
explaining how he studies a game between two of the NBA's better squads. Stevens narrates the action, succinctly summarizing various sets, options and movements by the defense. "Right here," says Stevens, pausing the video, "I'm watching how [Team A] defends [Team B's] different actions. Already there are three actions: [Player 1] sets a down screen for [Player 2], [Player 3] goes off a fake handoff, and there's a stagger for [Player 4] down here. What is [Team A] doing to defend this? Do you go under the down screen? Do you leave [Player 4] open when he's a very good shooter? You've got all these issues. It's a [defensive] system, and I think I've got a pretty good feel for what their system looks like."
 
 
This type of advanced thinking and scouting make me very happy he is our coach
 
 
"Playing defense at Butler was the hardest thing I ever had to do as a basketball player," says Hahn. "Not really because there was so much thinking, but because we were moving for the entire 35 seconds. We zoned up certain people, we recognized tendencies in other people, and a lot of it was getting into gaps early and often, just to discourage a guy from making the next pass or trying to dribble into the lane after he catches a pass."
 
 
Stevens kept his players in situations—offensively and defensively—where they had a high probability of success. Shelvin Mack, a thick 6'3" guard, was seldom asked to guard an explosive dribbler (a duty that usually fell to Ronald Nored or Shawn Vanzant); Matt Howard, a 6'8" forward on both Final Four teams with a propensity for overplaying and fouling, was usually assigned to an opponent's weakest forward (while Hayward or Willie Veasley would guard more athletic players). Hahn, strong and slow, sometimes guarded players who were six inches taller but not highly skilled.
 
 
 
"We're young," he says, "so developing as a team and as individuals is paramount."
 
 
Reading between the lines a bit but it sounds like he really understands that development is more important than wins.
 

cardiacs

Admires Neville Chamberlain
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
3,024
Milford, CT
wutang112878 said:
That article is awesome, thanks for posting it.
 
Some highlights:
 
 
This type of advanced thinking and scouting make me very happy he is our coach
 
 
 
 
Reading between the lines a bit but it sounds like he really understands that development is more important than wins.
 
It actually made me worry that he would employ defensive schemes that wouldn't work in the NBA like Pitino did. 
 

wutang112878

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2007
6,066
cardiacs said:
 
It actually made me worry that he would employ defensive schemes that wouldn't work in the NBA like Pitino did. 
 
Pitinos problems were 2 fold, he employed the press which no one bought into and then he was so hated by players they didnt listen to him when he tried to run an NBA system.  Remember his 'if we are not better I will quit' speech and promptly after that the players completely quit on him? 
 
As for Stevens, if you watched Butlers defense it wasnt gimmicky (like Pitinos press), it didnt look great because of elite talent, and it wasnt a zone system that cant be run in the NBA.  Plus, if you read the article and see how much of a student of the game the guy is, even if he doesnt employ the right system early on, I am pretty sure he will be smart enough to modify and fix it.
 

cardiacs

Admires Neville Chamberlain
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
3,024
Milford, CT
wutang112878 said:
 
Pitinos problems were 2 fold, he employed the press which no one bought into and then he was so hated by players they didnt listen to him when he tried to run an NBA system.  Remember his 'if we are not better I will quit' speech and promptly after that the players completely quit on him? 
 
As for Stevens, if you watched Butlers defense it wasnt gimmicky (like Pitinos press), it didnt look great because of elite talent, and it wasnt a zone system that cant be run in the NBA.  Plus, if you read the article and see how much of a student of the game the guy is, even if he doesnt employ the right system early on, I am pretty sure he will be smart enough to modify and fix it.
 
This is fair; I never caught an entire Butler game and admittedly don't know much about their playbook outside of clips I have watched on the web. 
One of my not-so-fond memories of the Pitino area is him yelling "Illegal!!!!" every other possession and always being ignored. 
 

wutang112878

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2007
6,066
As much as I want to crap on Pitino, I cant let a thread about my 2nd favorite Celtics coach ever turn into a discussion about my least favorite coach ever
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,069
wutang112878 said:
That article is awesome, thanks for posting it.
 
Some highlights:
 
 
This type of advanced thinking and scouting make me very happy he is our coach
 
 
 
 
Reading between the lines a bit but it sounds like he really understands that development is more important than wins.
I like Stevens but god i hate fluff pieces like this. Everything here from scouting the opposition to proper defensive matchups are the basics of coaching. Nothing revolutionary here.
 

wutang112878

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2007
6,066
I have to stick up for my man crush here, I think some of this stuff is more sophisticated than the norm:
 
 
Green letters in the lower corner of the screen specify the action Stevens is breaking down: SIDE PNR VS. SMALLS (side pick-and-roll plays against guards and small forwards).
 
 
He isnt just debating 'do we go under the screen or blitz it or fight through it', its much more detailed than that because he is looking at such a small subset.  "Side pick and rolls against smalls, there are 3 actions, and there are choices to defend each of those actions" and thats where the advanced stuff comes in.  Thats where the advanced numbers come in and make simple defense much more intelligent. 
 
The strategy turns into 'When Deron Williams runs a pick and roll with Paul Pierce, do not leave KG open because he is a good shooter.  Paul is a good slasher and popper from the top of the key but not from the side anymore, he also isnt a great spot up shooter.  So we will blitz the pick and roll because we can temporarily leave Pierce as long as we dont give him enough time to spot up for the 3.  This is our best option because when Deron runs a pick and roll and ends up being guarded by a 3 their point per shot for those possessions is 1.1 vs 1.02 when he is blitzed'
 
Yes this is conjecture on my part but its based on info like this:
 
 
After a few more movements on the screen, Stevens closes the program and pulls up an Excel document, into which he has typed notes on every possession of another game involving a team that Boston will face early this season. The notations are copious, in a dense hoop-centric shorthand. One might reference the options off an offensive set, another might describe a particular player's movements in a very specific scenario.
 
 
My take is that as the notes track all the individual options during a play, and then within those options he dissects the subsets and analyzes the subsets to build the best strategy for each of them.  So he isnt deciding 'lets blitz the p&r against the Nets', its 'lets blitz the screen when run by these 2 players with player x at the 4', 'lets go under the screen when run by these 2 players with player z at the 4'
 
Here is a different example from the tourney against Bucknell, where they threw a defense that they almost never run at Stevens, and he knew exactly how many times they ran it and what their defensive call was for it. 
 

teddykgb

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
11,268
Chelmsford, MA
I am almost as high on Stevens as you are, but I think the open question is whether his players will be students of the game.  In college, he apparently was able to get his student athletes to try to learn this stuff, and it obviously helped quite a bit.  Will pros listen to him if he starts asking them to drill to learn to play these situations differently on a player by player, team by team basis? It's a lot to learn.
 
I have no doubt that Brad Stevens is capable of breaking down film like a madman.  I bet most NBA coaches can.  The open question will be whether he can get his players to execute what he learns from the film.  When players are making this much money, with an 82 game season, and scant practice time due to constant travel, Stevens is of course going to find himself in a different environment than he had in college.  How he adapts will be the story of the 2013 Boston Celtics (aside from what trades they make).
 
And I'd repeat that I'm super high on him, and think he will adapt.  I'm not sure how much of this film breakdown super coach stuff will be part of that adaptation, though.
 

Montana Fan

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 18, 2000
9,140
Twin Bridges, Mt.
teddykgb said:
I am almost as high on Stevens as you are, but I think the open question is whether his players will be students of the game.  In college, he apparently was able to get his student athletes to try to learn this stuff, and it obviously helped quite a bit.  Will pros listen to him if he starts asking them to drill to learn to play these situations differently on a player by player, team by team basis? It's a lot to learn.
 
I have no doubt that Brad Stevens is capable of breaking down film like a madman.  I bet most NBA coaches can.  The open question will be whether he can get his players to execute what he learns from the film.  When players are making this much money, with an 82 game season, and scant practice time due to constant travel, Stevens is of course going to find himself in a different environment than he had in college.  How he adapts will be the story of the 2013 Boston Celtics (aside from what trades they make).
 
And I'd repeat that I'm super high on him, and think he will adapt.  I'm not sure how much of this film breakdown super coach stuff will be part of that adaptation, though.
This is why I think Rondo is part of the long term plan. Everything I've read indicates Rondo is cerebral and I think he could be an extremely good PG match for Stevens. If Rondo is the team leader and buys into Stevens' program similar to Rose/Thibs, it will help both of them and the team overall.
 

wutang112878

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2007
6,066
This is a legit concern for sure, but I think he can work around the NBA player problems.  I also cant envision Brooks and Green and Humphries being study buddies and quizzing each other on the different defensive scenarios for each of the Nets key plays. 
 
I think Stevens can handle most of the micromanaging from the bench.  Say the opponent has a certain 5 man unit out there, he knows 80% of the time they run 4 sets, so he tells them exactly how he wants each of those guarded with a few small nuances for each scenario.  Then he can either make his adjustments on the fly from the bench 'side P&R dont blitz, fight under, help off the C'  Those types of adjustments arent revolutionary, but its the numbers and advanced work beforehand that Stevens would be doing that is what would give us an advantage
 
This also reminds me of this story from Education of a Coach about the Giants Bills superbowl:
 
 
So he (Belichick) told the defensive team that he did not care if Thurman Thomas gained a hundred yards on them that day.  Better, he said, that Thurman Thomas gained a hundred yards, and Kelly passed for a hundred fifty, than Thomas be shut down completely, because then Buffalo, frustrated on the ground, would go to the air, and Kelly might pass for three hundred fifty.  What Belichick really hoped was, in effect, to tease Kelly, to offer him the running game in the second half and then at critical moments take it away from him.
 
 
I think thats what Stevens has to transition into.  Do his homework to figure out the nuance strategy, but sell it to his team at the macro level.  I think it was the Rams superbowl where Bill was yelling at the defense on the sidelines 'this game is slants and in-cuts thats it', and the big strategy was 'the offense is predicated on Faulk, hit him and it should throw off their timing....'  If Stevens does stuff like that we should be in good shape, but It will be very interesting to see how this plays out
 

wutang112878

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2007
6,066
Montana Fan said:
This is why I think Rondo is part of the long term plan. Everything I've read indicates Rondo is cerebral and I think he could be an extremely good PG match for Stevens. If Rondo is the team leader and buys into Stevens' program similar to Rose/Thibs, it will help both of them and the team overall.
 
This is the key caveat because Rondo is very stubborn.  A great smart PG is a great thing, but a great smart PG who doesnt agree with his coach just wont work and one of them has to go.  Look at Sloan and Williams in Utah, both are great at what they do but they couldnt work together whatsoever.
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,069
wutang112878 said:
I have to stick up for my man crush here, I think some of this stuff is more sophisticated than the norm:
 
 
He isnt just debating 'do we go under the screen or blitz it or fight through it', its much more detailed than that because he is looking at such a small subset.  "Side pick and rolls against smalls, there are 3 actions, and there are choices to defend each of those actions" and thats where the advanced stuff comes in.  Thats where the advanced numbers come in and make simple defense much more intelligent. 
 
The strategy turns into 'When Deron Williams runs a pick and roll with Paul Pierce, do not leave KG open because he is a good shooter.  Paul is a good slasher and popper from the top of the key but not from the side anymore, he also isnt a great spot up shooter.  So we will blitz the pick and roll because we can temporarily leave Pierce as long as we dont give him enough time to spot up for the 3.  This is our best option because when Deron runs a pick and roll and ends up being guarded by a 3 their point per shot for those possessions is 1.1 vs 1.02 when he is blitzed'
 
Yes this is conjecture on my part but its based on info like this:
 
 
My take is that as the notes track all the individual options during a play, and then within those options he dissects the subsets and analyzes the subsets to build the best strategy for each of them.  So he isnt deciding 'lets blitz the p&r against the Nets', its 'lets blitz the screen when run by these 2 players with player x at the 4', 'lets go under the screen when run by these 2 players with player z at the 4'
 
Here is a different example from the tourney against Bucknell, where they threw a defense that they almost never run at Stevens, and he knew exactly how many times they ran it and what their defensive call was for it. 
The more I read about Stevens the less excited I'm getting. The problem I see isn't getting professional athletes to buy into a defensive system......all teams require their players to do this.....it is that his amount of detail is wonderful when you play 2 games a week. Not so much playing back-to-backs, 3 games in 4 nights, 5 games in 8 nights with constant travel.

Now do this with an ever changing roster which he'll be faced with over the next several years and he has no idea what he's gotten himself into.
 

wutang112878

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2007
6,066
HomeRunBaker said:
The more I read about Stevens the less excited I'm getting. The problem I see isn't getting professional athletes to buy into a defensive system......all teams require their players to do this.....it is that his amount of detail is wonderful when you play 2 games a week. Not so much playing back-to-backs, 3 games in 4 nights, 5 games in 8 nights with constant travel.

Now do this with an ever changing roster which he'll be faced with over the next several years and he has no idea what he's gotten himself into.
 
Lets flip this question around a bit, are we really asking Stevens to be that much different than Popovich?  Pop is a great tactician who has got his players to buy in, and his preparation is what gives SA a competitive coaching advantage every year.  Its not as if Stevens system is college specific, its advanced thinking specific.  Managers use advanced stats for lineup decisions in baseball where they play everyday, why cant advanced stats be used in basketball to make decisions on rotations, blitzing screens, etc.  I just dont see why that will be so difficult for Stevens to implement.  I also cant understand why you cant love Stevens as much as I do, but I wont stop trying to convince you!
 

Montana Fan

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 18, 2000
9,140
Twin Bridges, Mt.
HRB, funny that you mention that. I was thinking the same thing. Enjoy your office time now because it's going to be tough to find the time to study and practice once the season starts.

I do admire this guy's organizational abilities though. He seems to be very thorough.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
54,463
HomeRunBaker said:
The more I read about Stevens the less excited I'm getting. The problem I see isn't getting professional athletes to buy into a defensive system......all teams require their players to do this.....it is that his amount of detail is wonderful when you play 2 games a week. Not so much playing back-to-backs, 3 games in 4 nights, 5 games in 8 nights with constant travel.

Now do this with an ever changing roster which he'll be faced with over the next several years and he has no idea what he's gotten himself into.
 
Or you could say that he's just a smart basketball guy and adapted to whatever the team/schedule/talent demanded...
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,069
wutang112878 said:
 
Lets flip this question around a bit, are we really asking Stevens to be that much different than Popovich?  Pop is a great tactician who has got his players to buy in, and his preparation is what gives SA a competitive coaching advantage every year.  Its not as if Stevens system is college specific, its advanced thinking specific.  Managers use advanced stats for lineup decisions in baseball where they play everyday, why cant advanced stats be used in basketball to make decisions on rotations, blitzing screens, etc.  I just dont see why that will be so difficult for Stevens to implement.  I also cant understand why you cant love Stevens as much as I do, but I wont stop trying to convince you!
I do like Stevens a lot.....he's a great college coach. Unlike another great young college coach the Celtics hired years ago who was ahead of his times using advanced metrics I hope that Stevens is able to adapt to the lack of preparation time he will have. There are a TON of similarities between Stevens and Pitino that should be learned from.....not ignored.
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,069
DrewDawg said:
 
Or you could say that he's just a smart basketball guy and adapted to whatever the team/schedule/talent demanded...
We "could" say that.....and we'd be completely guessing whether he is capable of adapting. His struggles will be having zero experience coaching an NBA schedule, little buy in from veterans who know they are being moved over the next 12-24 months, high roster turnover, and below average talent. These are all issues that Popovich isn't facing so yeah he's being asked to coach quite differently than one of the most successful head coaches the game has ever seen.
 

Nick Kaufman

protector of human kind from spoilers
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Aug 2, 2003
13,473
A Lost Time
The biggest problem Stevens is going to face is having a team that's tanking maintain discipline while most of the players realize that they got to put in their numbers for their next contract/non-sucky destination. The second problem is that no matter how high you re on Stevens, fans will get tired after at most after a couple of years, so he ll have to endure some sniping from the press too.

If he survives those first couple of years and the Celtics draft and rebuild well, then, and only then, he will have a chance to show what he can do at the NBA level.

Until then, I am pretty positive it's going to be a frustrating and learning experience for Stevens on a multitude of levels.
 

wutang112878

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2007
6,066
HomeRunBaker said:
I do like Stevens a lot.....he's a great college coach. Unlike another great young college coach the Celtics hired years ago who was ahead of his times using advanced metrics I hope that Stevens is able to adapt to the lack of preparation time he will have. There are a TON of similarities between Stevens and Pitino that should be learned from.....not ignored.
 
Hey, hey, hey, lets not link Stevens to the antichrist just yet.  They are similar in that they arrived as young coaches with great success in college, but there are significant differences.  Pitino tried to implement a defensive system that was never successfully implemented in the NBA, and he was immediately given full control of basketball operations.  He also had an ego so large that he demanded that the President of Basketball Operations title be removed from Red once he walked in the door. 
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
49,774
Thus far, the only similarities between Rick fucking Pitino and Brad Stevens are that they are coaches whom the Celtics hired from the college ranks.  Pitino, as we now know, has some personality traits that make him a difficult guy.  He was not very adaptable.
 
Most of us here don't know Brad Stevens but his track record and articles like this suggest that, if anything, he is very adaptable.  I have no illusions that this trait, alone, will make him a successful NBA coach but it will certainly help.
 
Nick and others have pointed out the challenge of managing NBA players.  They are certainly real but I think Stevens is going to have more leverage than your average coach for a few reasons.  First, Ainge clearly is building around him and not the players by virtue of the six year deal.  This, and the fact that the C's are essentially dreck, will allow the team to quickly cast aside anyone who isn't pulling in the right direction.  There is no one on the current roster more important than him. This will change as the Celtics start getting cornerstone players but by then he will have some NBA seasoning.  If the organization does its job, these players will be the kind who are talented enough to win in the NBA but also support their coach (as a side note, how many teams, aside from the Heat have won championships of late while still undermining their coaches?  And I would even characterize LeBron/Wade's relationship with Spoelstra as complex rather than contentious).
 
Finally, Stevens should also be empowered by the fact that if the Celtics ever decide to part ways with him, he will have several suitors lined up to hire him almost immediately.  Brad Stevens' family won't go hungry.  Knowing that alone is pretty liberating
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,069
DeJesus Built My Hotrod said:
Thus far, the only similarities between Rick fucking Pitino and Brad Stevens are that they are coaches whom the Celtics hired from the college ranks.  Pitino, as we now know, has some personality traits that make him a difficult guy.  He was not very adaptable.
 
Most of us here don't know Brad Stevens but his track record and articles like this suggest that, if anything, he is very adaptable.  I have no illusions that this trait, alone, will make him a successful NBA coach but it will certainly help.
 
Nick and others have pointed out the challenge of managing NBA players.  They are certainly real but I think Stevens is going to have more leverage than your average coach for a few reasons.  First, Ainge clearly is building around him and not the players by virtue of the six year deal.  This, and the fact that the C's are essentially dreck, will allow the team to quickly cast aside anyone who isn't pulling in the right direction.  There is no one on the current roster more important than him. This will change as the Celtics start getting cornerstone players but by then he will have some NBA seasoning.  If the organization does its job, these players will be the kind who are talented enough to win in the NBA but also support their coach (as a side note, how many teams, aside from the Heat have won championships of late while still undermining their coaches?  And I would even characterize LeBron/Wade's relationship with Spoelstra as complex rather than contentious).
 
Finally, Stevens should also be empowered by the fact that if the Celtics ever decide to part ways with him, he will have several suitors lined up to hire him almost immediately.  Brad Stevens' family won't go hungry.  Knowing that alone is pretty liberating
Pitino, like Stevens, was an innovator at the college level who was highly sought after.....how do you not consider this a similarity? Nobody in the college game set game and scrimmage goals of "deflected passes" or "3-point attempts" while holding his players accountable for achieving these goals. Jeff Van Gundy was his lowest level asst at Providence who tracked these stats daily.

Yes, Pitino was an arrogant prick who later acknowledged the mistakes he made in Boston but you are missing a lot of the Stevens similarities here. He also transformed a 15-win team that was starting Marty Conlon and Brett Szabo into a .400 competitive team immediately upon arrival with limited talent. We have yet to see if Stevens is capable of making his limited talented team competitive.
 

wutang112878

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2007
6,066
HomeRunBaker said:
Pitino, like Stevens, was an innovator at the college level who was highly sought after.....how do you not consider this a similarity? Nobody in the college game set game and scrimmage goals of "deflected passes" or "3-point attempts" while holding his players accountable for achieving these goals. Jeff Van Gundy was his lowest level asst at Providence who tracked these stats daily.

 
 
Ricky's innovative scrimmage goals might have worked had he not been such a prick who did not accept feedback from anyone but himself.  Stevens is neither a prick and from the sounds of it is an adaptable 'learner' not a know it all.  Those are huge fundamental differences.
 
 
HomeRunBaker said:
Yes, Pitino was an arrogant prick who later acknowledged the mistakes he made in Boston but you are missing a lot of the Stevens similarities here. He also transformed a 15-win team that was starting Marty Conlon and Brett Szabo into a .400 competitive team immediately upon arrival with limited talent. We have yet to see if Stevens is capable of making his limited talented team competitive.
 
This is factually correct but you left out a lot of history.  Ricky decided to release Rick Fox, and trade Eric Williams to start anew, which is understandable, but it was his decision to empty the last few items out of the cupboard.  Meanwhile, when camp broke he also had the #3 and #6 pick in the draft in Billups and Mercer, and while they werent great they did give him some clay to mold. 
 
As for Stevens, the guy has a track record of getting results with limited talent.  Look at those 2 teams that go to the title game, Mack (not in NBA), Hayward (average NBA player) and Howard (not in NBA) were the stars, and he got them to the title game twice.  Not a one time "the team is hot and playing well together" tourney run, but twice got that team to the title game.  His career winning % in college was 77%  If you want to say 'we dont know if he can coach in the NBA' fine, but it seems excessive to say he cant squeeze results out of subpar talent.  Furthermore, we dont want him to do that this year anyway, we want him to win less and develop players more.
 

Montana Fan

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 18, 2000
9,140
Twin Bridges, Mt.
I'd say that anyone who has seen Pitino and Stevens coach can see a huge difference. Sideline demeanor. Stevens is Larry Bird stoic and Pitino's mouth never stops. I found Pitino's micromanaging yelling from the sideline incredibly annoying and think most NBA players did as well. Stevens will do his coaching in practice and on the bench. Not at full tilt while the games are going on.
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,069
wutang112878 said:
 
Ricky's innovative scrimmage goals might have worked had he not been such a prick who did not accept feedback from anyone but himself.  Stevens is neither a prick and from the sounds of it is an adaptable 'learner' not a know it all.  Those are huge fundamental differences.
Might have worked? They did work which is why he was courted so hard by Boston. Look, I get why there is such an extreme bias against Pitino here however to ignore his success while putting aside the "noise" isn't productive to comparing two coaches with very similar paths to Boston in being young, successful innovators at the college level.
 

wutang112878

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2007
6,066
HomeRunBaker said:
Might have worked? They did work which is why he was courted so hard by Boston. Look, I get why there is such an extreme bias against Pitino here however to ignore his success while putting aside the "noise" isn't productive to comparing two coaches with very similar paths to Boston in being young, successful innovators at the college level.
 
What I meant to say was that innovative style of specific goals per practice to create the right habits might have worked over the long-term in the NBA if he wasnt such a prick. 
 
I think you highlighted where we differ on this.  You are concerned with the similarities of their path, and their paths are similar.  Whereas I am looking at their style and approach, and its there that I dont see that many similarities.  They were both successful innovators at the college level, but thats a vague term.  The 'hows' behind their successful innovation are worlds apart.  Using Pitino to project Stevens is like using Bobby Petrino's NFL career to project Chip Kelly's because they are both offensively successful college coaches.
 

Brickowski

Banned
Feb 15, 2011
3,755
What amazed me about Pitino is how truly terrible he was as a general manager.  He wanted to press, but he let players like Bruce Bowen, Rick Fox and David Wesley (just to name three) go who might have made that style work.  The only decent thing he did was to draft Pierce, and even then it was a consolation prize because the guy he wanted was Nowitzki.
 
Stevens has Ainge.  That's a huge difference IMHO.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
31,624
Brickowski said:
What amazed me about Pitino is how truly terrible he was as a general manager.  He wanted to press, but he let players like Bruce Bowen, Rick Fox and David Wesley (just to name three) go who might have made that style work.  The only decent thing he did was to draft Pierce, and even then it was a consolation prize because the guy he wanted was Nowitzki.
 
Stevens has Ainge.  That's a huge difference IMHO.
 
I am not a Pitino apologist but Pitino the GM and Pitino the coach would have a much greater place in history if they had gotten the #1 pick and not the #3.
 
There is another universe out there where PItino gets Duncan and is considered one of the greatest coaches of all time and Popovich is just a footnote in history.  Amazing how random it all is somehow.
 

Brickowski

Banned
Feb 15, 2011
3,755
wade boggs chicken dinner said:
 
 
There is another universe out there where PItino gets Duncan and is considered one of the greatest coaches of all time and Popovich is just a footnote in history.  Amazing how random it all is somehow.
 
Very true, although there may also be a universe where Pitino gets Tracy McGrady at #7 instead of Ron Mercer.
 

radsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 9, 2009
14,013
Brickowski said:
Very true, although there may also be a universe where Pitino gets Tracy McGrady at #7 instead of Ron Mercer.
Not that it matters, but Mercer went #6. The 2 players taken in front and behind him (all before McGrady)...

4. Antonio Daniels
5. Tony Battie
7. Tim Thomas
8. Adonal Foyle

Good lord that's some regrettable drafting.
 

RG33

Certain Class of Poster
SoSH Member
Nov 28, 2005
7,317
CA
radsoxfan said:
Not that it matters, but Mercer went #6. The 2 players taken in front and behind him (all before McGrady)...
4. Antonio Daniels
5. Tony Battie
7. Tim Thomas
8. Adonal Foyle
Good lord that's some regrettable drafting.
The truly amazing part is this:

Antonio Daniels career earnings: $49.3 million
Tony Battie career earnings: $57.6 million
Tim Thomas career earnings: $97.9 million
Adonal Foyle career earnings: $63.4 million

And that's just NBA salaries, not including outside earnings. Its very profitable to be a Lottery Bust.
 

radsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 9, 2009
14,013
RGREELEY33 said:
The truly amazing part is this:
Antonio Daniels career earnings: $49.3 million
Tony Battie career earnings: $57.6 million
Tim Thomas career earnings: $97.9 million
Adonal Foyle career earnings: $63.4 million
And that's just NBA salaries, not including outside earnings. Its very profitable to be a Lottery Bust.
Good point. And close to 100M for Tim Thomas.... Unreal.
 

Major Offense

New Member
May 13, 2013
98
Back on Stevens, I had a question to throw out about prep in college vs. NBA (I don't follow college at all, so this is really a question, not trying to make a point).  It looks to me like teams will play around 30 games, but depending on how far they get in tournaments, it can be closer to 35-40.  And they seem to play some teams multiple times in a season, but maybe not more than twice?  So conceivably they may play 20-25 different teams in a season, which is not dramatically different than the 29 other teams you see at the NBA level.
 
So how does the preparation differ?  It seems like there is generally more time between games at the college level, so they could probably work on plays that are specific to the next game or really drill the strategy beforehand.  Are college teams also more similar in terms of their offensive and defensive sets/approaches?  Does roster turnover happen much in college, or are teams potentially more stable year-to-year than at the NBA level?  Does the "student athlete" title not really matter in terms of practice time, or are the players also cramming for their Intro to Statistics final between scrimmages?
 

bowiac

Caveat: I know nothing about what I speak
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 18, 2003
12,945
New York, NY
Theoretically a team could play another team in their conference four times (twice in the regular season, once in the conference tourney, and once in the NCAA tourney). Realistically, it's less than that.
 
There's almost certainly significantly more roster turnover in college, because of graduation, early entry into the draft, and high recruits being blocked at their position (while in the NBA you just become an expensive bench guy).
 
Practice restrictions are a real thing. Besides the somewhat nebulous academic responsibilities which vary by school and by player, there are also NCAA imposed practice time restrictions. In season its 20 hours/week, and 8 hours/week the rest of the time. While players can work out/practice beyond that without coaching supervision, that element certainly matters with respect to Stevens' participation. On the other hand, as Allen Iverson pointed out, that's probably a more time than NBA teams spend substantively practicing. 
 
Status
Not open for further replies.