I had a quick opportunity to catch up with new Celtics head coach 1-on-1. He’s a busy guy, but he was nice enough to carve out 5 minutes to talk to me about a few things like his first exposure to the NBA game as head coach, Rajon Rondo, Kelly Olynyk, and the one play in basketball that gets him the most excited.
JK: What are your overall impressions of summer league since this is your first taste pro ball?
BS: It’s been great, it’s been great because I’ve been able to get to the gym and sit, and listen, and talk, and evaluate and then I can go back to my room and work. So it’s been a great balance. I’ve gotten a chance to spend time with a lot of our guys individually and a lot of the staff as well which has been really important. There’s more numbers than I’ve been used to with regard to staff and responsibilities and trying to get a pulse on who does what so it’s been a fantastic couple of days for me. Really, really beneficial.
JK: One thing I’ve noticed is that you seem to have a general excitement about this whole thing, not just ‘I’m the head coach of the Celtics’ but the whole process of getting to know these guys.
BS: I love getting to know them. Like I sat down with Kelly yesterday for a good 45 or 50 minutes just really talked about him growing up and being the son of a coach and all of the decisions that went into his career at Gonzaga, and ultimately the decision to decide to leave, and then going to the pros. That’s the fun stuff… getting to know people and what makes them go and what makes them excited, what they’re passionate about. I enjoy that. I’m excited about getting to the office next week and sitting down with our staff that’s already in place and start talking ball. That’s the fun part.
JK: Continuing with that, when you mention Rondo, I see you as like a car guy that’s been appreciating a vehicle from afar and now you get a chance to look under that hood.
BS: Yeah. You know what, it’s really just a chance to know an intelligent guy and great basketball player, and I’m really looking forward to that. And I’ll get a chance to sit down here with him soon and that’ll be great. He is a guy that I’ve certainly admired from afar with the way he plays basketball, and I’m really looking forward to meeting him and, more than anything, I’ve been lucky enough to coach guys where I was but also then participate with USA Basketball and do some other things where you get a chance to meet new guys and find out what makes them go, and how they best operate. And that’s what I want to find out about all of our guys.
JK: Just so people get to know you a little bit better as a basketball guy. What’s your favorite play… not something in the past that’s happened… when you’re watching a game, what’s the one play that makes you go “oh, yes, this is why I love basketball.”
BS: I’m a guy that love the guy that dives on the floor and puts it all out there. That is something else. that is the ultimate sacrifice for the ball. That is the ultimate sacrifice for the ball, showing the importance of what the ball means in that game, what it means to win that single possession and what that can mean at the end of the game. Sacrificing for the team… there’s nothing more inspiring than that.
JK: Quick take on Kelly Olynyk, what you see and what you like so far.
BS: There’s two things. Number one, the NBA has really been obviously difficult because you have to guard good basketball players, and when you have good basketball players that are unique to their position, then it becomes even more difficult. I see him as a really unique guy. He has the fluidity of a guard in a lot of his movements, his ease of shot and I just think he’s going to get better.
And I’m really excited about his attitude. I really enjoy him. So he’ll be a fun guy to coach.
Thanks to coach Stevens and the Celtics for the few minutes alone to chat.