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Weekend Notebook: Olynyk, Iverson and Stevens

This notebook of Celtics news and notes discusses some of the Celtics organization’s newer additions.


Earlier this week, the Toronto Star reported that Kelly Olynyk’s plantar fasciitis will prevent him from playing for the Canadian men’s basketball team this summer. Canada head coach and Trailblazers assistant Jay Triano explained the situation:

He’s so keen about wanting to play, but the Celtics had some concerns.

However, that did not stop the 22-year-old from watching practice on Saturday with Canada general manager Steve Nash:


Danny Ainge and company are no strangers to injuries, so they are certainly going to take precautions with the 2013 first-round pick. After Olynyk showcased himself as one of the best NBA Summer League players, it is important for the Celtics to get him ready for a season in which he could be a primary asset to a team that will looking for offense.


There is more international news with the Celtics’ 2013 draft picks as Colton Iverson signed a one-year contract a few days ago to become a member of Besiktas, courtesy of MassLive.com. The Celtics continue to hold Iverson’s NBA rights, but fans will most likely not be able to see him on the TD Garden floor until 2014-15:

The Celtics liked Iverson enough to spend cash to acquire his rights on draft night, but did not have a roster spot to keep the 7-footer. The team has 15 players under contract, the league maximum, even after waiving power forward Shavlik Randolph on Thursday.

After owning both the worst total and offensive rebounding rates in the league last season, the Celtics have made some strides to rectify the situation. They hope Iverson eventually can provide them with an interior presence after his strong performance in the Orlando Summer League:

Especially impressive: He collected 14 offensive rebounds in only 83 total minutes.

It will be interesting to see how Iverson develops over the next few years, but for now the Celtics hope that a full year from Jared Sullinger will be a step in the right direction with the rebounding situation.



In addition to rebounding, Brad Stevens is focusing on many areas for the Celtics to improve this offseason. He recently added another person to his staff to help accomplish those goals, as ESPN Boston’s Chris Forsberg discusses:

The Boston Celtics have hired former Butler guard Ronald Nored in a player development role, a source told ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman.

There are many impressive qualities about the 23-year-old former Butler guard, who has been excited to coach since the final game of his senior year for the Bulldogs:

Despite his age, Nored is considered a rising star in the coaching ranks and spent his post-Butler days as an assistant at the University of South Alabama and coaching high school ball outside of Indianapolis.

Nored, who will also be helping with the Maine Red Claws, is the fourth Celtics hire from Butler this offseason as Stevens hopes to have some continuity heading into this season. However, Stevens’ job will obviously not be easy. Bob Ryan elaborates in his Sunday column:

We all know the primary issue: Can a college coach jump into the 2013 NBA without any kind of NBA experience? Brad Stevens has none whatsoever. He did not play in the league. He has not been an assistant coach in the league. He has not been a video coordinator in the league. He has not even been a “one lump or two?” pick-the-draft-choice-up-at-the-airport gofer in the league. And recent NBA history has not been kind to folks such as him.

Ryan details that the late 1960’s and early 1970’s included many coaches who successfully jumped right from the college ranks, such as Butch van Breda Kolff, Joe Mullaney, Dick Motta, Bill Fitch, Cotton Fitzsimmons and John MacLeod:

So Danny is trying to buck a three-decade run of coaching failure here. Danny is not stupid, I assure you. He had Brad Stevens targeted from the get-go. He doesn’t need to have the list of failed college coaches recited to him. He’s competed in one form or another against all of them. He just thinks Brad Stevens is the Chosen One.


He’s certainly not alone.


Jim Boeheim had this to say. “[Brad Stevens is] the best young coach I have seen in my time.” Consider that the Syracuse mentor is hardly unfamiliar with the NBA. He’s been an assistant with Team USA and its NBA stars and megastars through victorious world championships and Olympics.


Better yet, how about this from Mike Krzyzewski, the head coach of Team USA? “He’ll do great with the Celtics,” says the man who came this close to being coach of the Celtics in 1990 himself. “It’s a great hire by Danny Ainge.”

Of course, the deck is stacked against Stevens, but the Celtics do have some pieces that could lead to postseason wins for Boston in the near future. The lengthy contract for Stevens shows that the organization has confidence in him. Ryan says that it is a great situation even if Stevens does not succeed with the Celtics:

It’s a brilliant move for Brad Stevens, for sure. He pockets the money (more than $3 million per), no matter what. When the six years is up he either keeps going or picks the best available college job.

For more Celtics coverage and pertinent statistics, follow Celtics Hub and Stats Adam Lowenstein on Twitter: @CelticsHub and @StatsAdam

  • skeeds

    This comment about Stevens being able to adapt to the NBA game keeps coming up and it's just a load of crap. Steadily and quietly, while no one ever admits it, NBA coaching has gone down the drain. There are exactly 4 coaches right now (with Phil Jackson retired) who have steadily been actual assets to their respective teams the past 5 years. Thibs, Pop, George Karl and Doc. And what I mean by assets is that they do what a coach is supposed to be doing, make their teams play better than the sum of their parts. Even the reigning champion Spoelstra can't claim any coaching achievement, he plays the simplest of offensive and defensive sets and simply gets away with it because of Lebron's brilliance.
    We look at what teams like the Rose-less Bulls or the Nuggets or pop's old Spurs or the decimated C's of 2012 have done as if it's a miraculous oddity. Useless "coaches" like Del Negro and D'Antoni and Ivery Johnson keep getting chances merely because they "know the game".
    I say bullshit. I can think of dozens of rosters over the past decade that could've had championship potential if they were actually coached. Nothing is right about NBA coaching as it is. Ainge better put faith into Stevens and ask him NOT to translate his style to the NBA too much. He has a premier chance to bring new concepts into play and a really nice young group to test them with. Why should he conform to the way coaches handle minutes in the NBA for example, with their "starters" and "sixth men" and all that crap, instead of using the much more intuitive systems he's been working with thus far?

    • B..

      Mark Jackson, Lionel Hollins and Frank Vogel are pretty good too.

      But, yes. There's a lot of trash coaches.

    • hax

      I agree about Brad Stevens and most of this post. Disagree about those other guys being 'useless' though. :)

    • check12check

      I agree with B's post. I think you have to throw Kevin McHale on that list too, and, as much as it pains me to admit, Spolstra has turned into a decent enough coach after going through a bit of a learning curve

      • skeeds

        For McHale this will be the definitive period that will determine if he's got what it takes. I disagree about Spoelstra. You watch the Heat and you never get the sense that they're playing smart offense. It's pretty conventional and the one and only reason it works is that Lebron is playing out of his mind.

        One could argue that simple, perfect execution is enough or a team as talented as them. I say that if you have Wade and Lebron and haven't managed to combine them perfectly (up until now the Heat primarily call plays for one or the other on offense), you haven't reached full potential. It might be enough to (barely) win, but it lacks in ingenuity…

        • hax

          Their whole offense is LeBron charging into the paint, tackling a guy, and laying it up, then getting 'superstar calls'. And 1! Or passing it to ray allen who actually makes shots for them.

  • hax

    Current and potentially opening night roster!
    PG: Rondo – Pressey
    SG: Bradley – Brooks – Crawford – Lee
    SF: Green – Wallace – Bogans
    PF: Sullinger – Bass – Humphries
    C: Olynyk – Faverani – Melo

    SG & PF is really stacked and open to a variety of starters.

    • YouSerious?

      I wouldn't call SG or PF "stacked". Rather, we have depth at both positions. Brooks might turn out to be another Jordan Crawford, Lee and Crawford are guards who you wouldn't want starting or playing too many minutes on most nights (Lee could bounce back though), Bass has some really bad slumps, and Humphries just came off an awful year.

      This team, if it plays its heart out, would be an 8th seed in all likelihood and probably lose 4-0 in a playoff series. You have to remember, KG isn't around to anchor this defense anymore, and we have nobody who can really protect the paint now.

  • funnypost

    The fact that you didn't mention Carlisle is hilarious. He won a ring with Dallas and constantly competes with inferior talent.

    • skeeds

      The fact that I didn't mention Carlisle is indeed hilarious, he's the guy I was thinking about when I was writing my post. Possession for possession, his coaching through that Mavs run was the best coaching I've seen in the league since the Spurs reigned. He simply ridiculed Spoelstra. You know you have a good coach when the playoffs come around and suddenly his roster seems to be the deepest roster in the NBA, he had Peja destroying the Lakers one gameand Jose Barrea taking over games in the finals. Mavs were a decent team, but no supergroup.
      Just imagine if a guy like that ever got his hands on Lebron's Cavs, or all those teams Orlando built around D12 (and Van Gundy wasted), or Del Negro's Clips. So many crazy talented groups and coaches that simply couldn't put together a solid playbook…

      • check12check

        blah…..i should have mentioned him too. one of the best coaches out there for sure

  • guest

    Hey Olynyk, get off yer butt and hit the weights!