Bob Ryan had a nice article in yesterday's Globe about Brad Stevens. There were several glowing quotes from the likes of Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski. He talked about the coaches in the past (recent and distant) that did and did not have success making the leap from college to pros. All good things.
He did, however, point out that it is going to be a challenge for Stevens (which is something that everyone, including Stevens himself understands).
There is so much to learn. Stevens has never coached an offense with a 24-second clock. He has never concocted an offense to combat the NBA's incredibly sophisticated defenses. He has never coached four games in five nights. He has never been in a circumstance where his last practice was a distant memory.
That's before even discussing the personality aspect. He will be tested, starting with his best player, the inscrutable Rajon Rondo. This will all be interesting to watch.
I was trying to think if anyone had produced a negative opinion of Stevens and I remembered that the ever curmudgeonly Charley Rosen wrote a very similar article last week.
He pointed out many of the same obstacles that Stevens will have to overcome that Ryan did. To that list he added that Stevens will be able to lean on NBA veteran assistant coach Ron Adams, but if he does so too much, he'll lose credibility. He also talks about working the referees and managing personalities (especially with guys out of the rotation - perhaps on a losing team).
All solid points, but packaged in a very Charlie Rosen sort of way. Here's his conclusion:
At age 37, Stevens is young enough to maintain his enthusiasm and his sanity throughout the long, grueling season. Even though Stevens is smart enough to be a quick learner, he’ll require at least two full seasons to be up to snuff.
Even Charlie couldn't help but compliment the young wonderkind, even while taking a swipe at him. Don't ever change Charlie.