Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“Every time we would walk out of that locker room so confident, so Walter, he’s the emotional leader of our team,” Pitino added. “Walter’s the type of guy who never had a bad day and every day is an upbeat day, and he’ll come with a smile on his face. He’ll be great for Brad because when they leave the locker room and you’re in a tough stretch and things aren’t going so well, Walt will say, ‘Hey, keep your heads up, stay upbeat, stay positive,’ and he’ll get them to understand that the NBA is a great life and be appreciative of it.”
After stumbling in his attempt to resurrect the Celtics following a successful run at Kentucky, Pitino said Stevens can flourish after six seasons as head coach at Butler.
“We have talked and I said, ‘Brad, you are more than ready for this game from an X’s and O’s standpoint,’ ” Pitino said. “I said, ‘You run offenses that all NBA teams run, you play pick-and-rolls great, you play post defenses great.’ I said, ‘Just don’t let losing grind you down. Stay positive every day.’ I said, ‘It’s a great organization, a great town, and Danny [Ainge] knows the winning part of it and he’ll be behind you 100 percent. Just don’t let the losing get you down.’ ”
Pitino reflected on how losing affected him during his Celtics tenure (1997-2001) and what curtailed the organization’s progress.
“It was more disappointing that I couldn’t do anything about it,” said Pitino, who was 102-146 in three-plus seasons in Boston. “I think the thing that hurt the most for us when we looked like we were turning things around is when Paul Pierce was stabbed 11 times, that along with the strike [lockout], sort of set us back. It takes time. When you’re young and you’re talented and not as good as the other people, it takes patience until you can make certain deals, until you can get your young players to mature.
“You know, I traded Chauncey Billups and then he was traded two more times. And he eventually landed on his feet and became the point guard he knew he could be. Of all the stops I made, Boston probably molded me into the coach I wanted to become. So for me, it wasn’t a negative experience, it was a very positive one, one that made me complete as a coach.”
There have been several dark times during the deep history of the Boston Celtics. The Rick Pitino years were some of the darkest, especially when you consider how much promise and excitement was created when he was hired. While there is always a big risk in bringing in a college coach to the NBA, most considered the Pitino hire a great one at the time. Then, one of the first things Pitino did when he arrived in Boston was stripping Red Auerbach of his presidency title. Not a good way to start and it actually all went down from there.
So if there is one guy (and I can’t believe I’m typing this) that can offer Brad Stevens some of the best advice, it’s Pitino. Now, he still seems to be a bit delusional by seemingly making excuses (the lockout, etc.) but his overall point is logical and understandable. His patience (or lack thereof) ultimately killed him, over and over again. He didn’t understand the salary cap at all as well as many of the different aspects of the pro game (and culture) vs the college game (and culture). I don’t know much about Stevens but so far he seems nothing like Pitino, other than both being successful college coaches at young ages. Stevens seems much more even-keeled and patient at this point and I’m eager to see just what he can do in the pros, with the most storied franchise in the league.
Another Note from Washburn’s notes:
Add the Celtics’ Jared Sullinger and Oklahoma City’sDeAndre Liggins to the list of players expected to receive multigame suspensions to begin the season for off-the-court transgressions. Both have been accused of domestic violence, joining Denver’s Ty Lawson, Phoenix’s Michael Beasley, and the Clippers’ Lamar Odom as players who have experienced trouble with the law in the past month. The Suns dumped Beasley, while Odom has reportedly entered a rehabilitation clinic. Any increase in player suspensions for off-court issues would have to be approved by the players’ union. Marijuana (Beasley) and DUI arrests (Odom and new Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer) are nothing new to the league but remain embarrassing.
While nothing is concrete in that quote, it should have been assumed that Sullinger would get suspended for a few games. I’m sure we’ll find out sooner rather than later at some point from the league as well as the Celtics in terms of what exactly his punishment is.