With the hiring of Brad Stevens to a reported six-year 22 million dollar deal yesterday by the Boston Celtics, we got the crew together to take a look at what the hire means for the Celtics, and the future of Rajon Rondo in Boston.
1. What was your reaction to the hiring of Brad Stevens?
Michael Pina: Complete shock, followed quickly by intense relief and joy. The Celtics are headed into a definite rebuild. Hiring a young, level-headed, intelligent head coach to teach and develop an inexperienced roster over the next few seasons is the way to go; out of all possible candidates who would’ve also been acceptable, it’s difficult to say any are a better fit than Brad Stevens.
Brian Robb: Shock at first, then utter excitement. It was a bold move no one in the basketball world saw coming after Stevens had just signed another extension with Butler, but that doesn’t take away from how much of a home run this could be. Stevens is smart, has had tremendous success in Butler mixing analytics into his coaching, and does not come to town with a big ego. If he finds the right staff to help him command the respect of the players, this could be the start of a long successful stay in Boston.
Hayes Davenport: Positive! Stevens is a good coach. He made two NCAA Finals with a bunch of players who didn’t do much before or after they played for him. He’s a big analytics guy, that’s refreshing. And he comes with no ego, which saves him the step of losing it when his team is terrible next year.
2. Does bringing Stevens aboard make a trade of Rajon Rondo a stronger possibility?
Pina: “Rondo has to go!” was the Internet’s immediate hackneyed reaction to news that Brad Stevens would be replacing Doc Rivers as head coach of the Boston Celtics, and this makes sense…why? Is it common knowledge that Rondo gets violent with people who wear glasses? Did any reports leak that he’d make multiple attempts to poison Stevens if the Celtics hired him? Have the two ever even had a conversation? Because Stevens was hired, after weeks of repeatedly denying any desire to trade his best player, Danny Ainge would now, all of a sudden, pick up the phone and start shopping Rondo around the league? Probably not since it’s irrational. Rondo tore his ACL roughly six months ago, and his contract is below market value for the next two years. Those are facts, which are useful in analyzing situations like this one. He isn’t going anywhere.
Robb: In the short term, I don’t think it changes much in relation to Rondo. Danny isn’t going to get good market value for him anytime soon until he gets back on the floor, the C’s still need at least one star they can sell to their fans, he’s still on a very solid contract. None of this is altered with the hiring of Stevens. While it may be tough for a young coach with no NBA experience to reach Rondo, both guys are smart. Stevens is open to ideas and I feel like he’ll get a chance to prove to Rondo he knows what he is doing and earn his respect. Will it work? No one knows, but you can bet Danny will let them try.
Davenport: I think so, yes. Rondo sometimes had trouble playing for Doc Rivers and KG, so it’s hard to imagine he’ll really spark to a coach who is A) younger than KG, B) only played in high school (EDIT: Not true, he played in college. Sorry.) and C) looks like Nathan Fielder. Not saying he’ll push for a trade, but this move was definitely not made with Rondo in mind.
3. How does the hiring of Stevens change your outlook on the 2013-14 season, if at all?
Pina: Doesn’t change anything. Gregg Popovich or Red Auerbach could coach the roster Boston is expected to put on the floor next season and they’d still crawl to 30 wins.
Robb: Compared to a retread head coach, I think you can add at least a couple extra wins to whatever ends up being the expectation for this revamped Celtics’ roster. He won’t be able to work magic obviously, but he has a track record of getting the most out of his players. Assuming adjusting to the NBA learning curve doesn’t take too long, he’ll make the best of the guys he has.
Davenport: Not at all. Despite Danny Ainge’s increasingly shameless claims that the Celtics are trying to win now, hiring a coach from the Horizon League is not a thing contenders do. He was hired because he’s good at evaluating players and building up young talent. The plan is for him and his team to grow together (and also to lose 55 games).