Boxing out a few quotes in these pieces don't do them justice, but here's a few quotes from Paul Flannery's excellent feature on Danny Ainge in Boston Magazine and Baxter Holmes' in-depth look at Brad Stevens' journey to the Celtics. With all the uncertainty surrounding the team right now, it's comforting knowing the team is in good hands for the short and long term.
It's that carefree ease-or, from a less-charitable perspective, arrogance-that forms the popular perception of Ainge as a guy who lives life hitting on 17 while wondering why everyone else is content to stand. But his bravado is balanced with a meticulous, analytical approach, more calculated than impulsive. He may not have a master plan, but he does have a method. And though Ainge is not positive that his method will be able to bring the Celtics another title, he is extremely confident that his method is right.
"I don't do this job because I have to have it," Ainge says. "I'm not afraid of making a mistake. I do have a fear of failure that drives me. At the same time, the people I admire in the business are the people who are willing to take some chances. There are no guarantees. You have to be willing to take the shot."
In his first days with the Celtics, the front office was impressed with how hands-on Stevens was with players, how he was able to communicate information and build relationships. At media day, Ainge said he already knew he had hired the right man but he was so impressed with Stevens since then that "I'd like to give him a four-year contract extension."
During training camp, players remarked time and again on Stevens's attention to detail.
"He works on the little things first, from setting screens the right way to getting to a certain spot on the floor," said guard Keith Bogans.
Said Jeff Green, "He's very smart, very precise. He's a perfectionist."
Said Avery Bradley, "He drills it into our heads. If we go through a play halfway, he'll keep doing it - over and over again until we get it right."
Said Kris Humphries, "This is probably . . . the most detailed I've been coached."
And Brandon Bass said the biggest difference between this staff and that of former coach Doc Rivers was "more attention to detail."
Baxter Holmes also had a Q&A session with Ainge on Brad Stevens and this is why I'm so confident that these guys can restore Celtic Pride:
Q: He said culture is the most important thing. How important is that in the NBA?
A: "I've never been around a coach that didn't value culture. It's just something that you're always weighing, because you can find 12 players at Butler and have a great culture, but they don't have enough talent to win. You can also be a coach at Butler and have a great culture and overachieve and beat teams that have more McDonald's All-Americans. With character and culture, you can overachieve. In the NBA, it's pretty much proven to this extent that there are teams that can overachieve in a great culture. And I think culture is crucial. But it's always a balance of those players that bring great character and integrity and work ethic to the game vs. talent. And often you're making choices like that. If you don't have enough talent, you don't have a chance, either."
Check out all three pieces, CelticBloggers. Definite must-reads before the season kicks off tomorrow night.