“A lot coaches are down here evaluating the players and I’m down here getting a feel for not only the players, but also the game, the discussion points in the game some of the things that might be difference between college and pro. There’s a lot of studying to do and I’m passing on a lot of social activities just to go back to my room and watch and continue to learn.
“[Danny Ainge] was great. We had a lot of similar thoughts. That’s been really the case over the past 10 days.
We really exchanged a lot of ideas. We’re not talking about what to do in each situation, its more about ‘this is what we might have seen before, what do you think about this, this, and this.’ He’s a really good guy to throw ideas off of. One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed about him is he’s an outside the box thinker and is not necessarily dead set on right or wrong ways but maybe what the best way is for their particular team.”
Those are some of the words from Brad Stevens after yesterday’s game. Stevens watched the game from across the court, seated next to Danny and Austin Ainge.
For Stevens, this is all part of the learning experience, which seems to really excite him. Here are a few other quotes from the new coach given to us yesterday afternoon:
“I’m going to study as hard as I can. I saw my wife studying for the bar for 2 months like it was going out of style. My stuff’s a lot more interesting than that. it’ll probably be a similar summer to what she had.”
I actually like the comparison to the bar exam. That’s how complex it is being a head coach.
“You have to pinch yourself still, right? But at the same time, we’ve had a lot of great opportunities in my young career at butler to experience things that I do think translate. Now there are other things that won’t and I think I just have to be cognizant of that. I think I’m comfortable with a lot but i’m also comfortable with the culture side of things, with the team side of things, with the people side of things and getting the right people on the bus around me. I think that will be a critical part of this.”
I’ve heard the “getting the right people on the bus” thing before. I believe that’s a reference to “Good to Great,” an inspirational business strategy book that I’ve had thrown at me before. Actually, one of the best bosses that I’ve had was a big believer in its message. The message is pretty simple: surround yourself with the right people, and the right things will happen. It sounds simple, but we’ve seen the “wrong” people coddled and kept around in sports and in life. Get the right people on the bus and the bus will keep moving forward.
“I’ve spoken to multiple people who have been coaches in the league. I have spoken to a couple of coaches via phone. I have not caught up with anybody yet. I’m sure I will. But right now I’ve got a pretty good idea from the people I’ve talked to what I need to do and how to best transition. One of the things I can’t do is get over inundated with advice. I think I got to reach out to the appropriate people and learn as much as I can, but I’ve got a lot to learn. I’ve got to spend my hours doing that.
I think I’m pretty process oriented. I think I”m as enthralled about the learning as I am about necessarily getting there. I’m not worried about when I get there, I’m really enjoying just the talk, I’m enjoying the learning, I’m enjoying the transition and I think that’s the way I’ve got to do it because it’s the right way looking forward to move.
This is something that just shows how smart the guy is. Most of us would seek out everyone’s advice and try to piece together the best of it, thinking a bunch of great advice combined would make the greatest advice ever. But Stevens is seeking out a few bits of advice, and trying to see how it fits into the things he’s learning.
I’m legitimately excited by this guy. I love his approach. I don’t know if he’ll succeed or fail, but if he fails, it won’t be for lack of preparation. Like the rest of the guys out there, this is summer league for Brad Stevens too. He’s doing the same thing Kelly Olynyk (who officially signed his rookie deal last night) is doing: taking everything he’s learned in basketball his whole life and trying to apply it to the pro level. He’ll make mistakes, but just like Olynyk, you can see the promise in the guy.
We spent two hours talking about this stuff on Celtics Stuff Live last night, and there was such a positive tone to the show. There are things to be happy and exciting about, even at this time of transition. Brad Stevens is one of them.
Herald: Brad Stevens ready for summer school | Globe: Stevens praised by former players | Stevens trying to return Celtics to normalcy | CSNNE: Maxwell on Stevens: A good hire for Celtics | Stevens getting “feel” for the game in Orlando | ESPN Boston: Stevens already digging in | Smith thinks Stevens will thrive
The rest of the links:
Herald: Kevin McHale high on Dwight Howard | Celtics look to ignite Kelly Olynyk | Globe: Olynyk dazzles in summer league debut | CSNNE: Melo hopes to make most of “fresh start” with C’s | Celtics urge Olynyk to be more aggressive | ESPN Boston: Summer notes: Keep shooting, Kelly | Sullinger doesn’t like rebuild, tank chatter