Here are some choice quotes from the press conference:
Brad Stevens: "It's an honor and a privilege to be here. I am absolutely humbled to be in this room and (to see) the banners that hang."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 5, 2013
"One of the things I am so thrilled about is to work in a place that has such a high standard but also places such a high value on culture."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) July 5, 2013
Stevens: "This was the right thing for our family. It was emotional. I was up early this morning watching film, making notes..."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 5, 2013
If you didn't get a chance to see it, Stevens knocked this press conference out of the park. He absolutely gets it. He understands the Celtics' culture, he respects the tradition of the past, and relishes the opportunity to raise another banner to the rafters. There has been a lot of talk about the cautionary tales of Rick Pitino and John Calipari leaving college basketball for the NBA, but Stevens shouldn't be lumped in with those guys. Boston sports is such a communal experience for the city and its fans. The biggest takeaway from this presser is that Stevens plans on embracing that support and injecting that vibe into the franchise. Everything will be done together. He stressed that he's a "day-to-day process guy" and that he wants everybody to come to work happy and motivated. To skeptics, this may sound like the words of a humbled guy in over his head, but I'm a believer. The dude has already started watching tape and reached out to all the players.
Man, I really like this hire. Admittedly, I know little about Butler basketball. There's the back-to-back trips to the championship game and Stevens' universal reputation around college hoops as a good motivator and X's & O's man, but otherwise, he's a mystery to me. ESPN Insider Tom Haberstroh suggests what the Celtics might look like on both sides of the ball based on how Butler has played during his tenure:
His style of play will be familiar to Boston fans as his squads were notoriously slow-paced teams -- the Bulldogs never ranked in the top 200 in the NCAA in adjusted possessions per game under Stevens, according to KenPom.com.
Not only that, Stevens' teams typically made their hay on the defensive end of the floor. Over the past six seasons, Butler's average rank in defensive efficiency was 38th while its offensive rank stood at 77.6. Stevens has never coached a team that ranked in the top 25 in offense, while his 2010 Final Four team ranked fifth on defense. If there's a weakness on Stevens' résumé, it's that he has yet to orchestrate a juggernaut offensive team.
And Baxter Holmes at the Globe got this great quote from a league source:
"You always have those questions, ‘Does the transition from college to the pros work?' and all that," a league source said.
"[But] he's the anti-[John] Calipari, the anti-[Rick] Pitino. Those guys, they think it's about them. He's going to learn that it's about the players and that's going to help.
"Everything is a risk, but this is a good risk."
One of the words associated with the Stevens since the hire has been "analytics." To some basketball purists, that just screams NERD ALERT, but Boston has long been one of the leading franchises when it comes to crunching numbers and trying to find the most efficient and effective way to win. To those worried about this Moneyball approach, consider how this might differ from Doc's coaching style. Although Mike Zarren was on staff while Rivers was coaching, I always got a sense that Doc had a very narrow view on how the Celtics could win. That tunnel vision led to an over reliance on his veterans, an underdevelopment of young players, and a sometimes unimaginative offense (i.e. last season's playoff series against the Knicks). If you didn't fit in whatever pidgeon-holed role was given to you, you rode the bench.
With Stevens, I think he'll take the summer league, training camp and pre-season, and even the first half of the regular season and open up the court a little just to see what he's got. With a handful of talented yet relatively unproven players on the roster, I expect to see a freer, less regimented style. More Spurs-y, less iso-vet-on-the-high-block. Players will feel less inhibited, his staff will gather data, and they'll collectively start building a winner in Boston. What I love about Danny's decision to get Stevens is that it almost forces this team to grow together. During the press conference, he stressed the importance of relationships with the players and i think that's important for a young team. It won't be a veteran coach like George Karl or Lionel Hollins guiding the way or a veteran squad getting used to an assistant coach finally getting their due. It's a young coach coaching young players.
Grousbeck said he has talked to Rondo recently and Rondo wants to win, be a Celtic and win another title here.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) July 5, 2013
Stevens: "There is no bigger fan of Rajon Rondo than me. His instincts…I can't wait to meet him. Talked to him on the phone yesterday."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 5, 2013
Now, there's the Rondo of it all that has every beat writer and blogger treating the Stevens hire like he's Supernanny. Some see Stevens as a signal that Danny could be looking to trade RR, even though all reports suggest that Rondo is on board and excited to start fresh as The Man in Boston. And as much as people are impressed with Stevens' resume, some worry that he hasn't had to deal with the egos and big personalities of the NBA; although Butler was a small school doing big things, he didn't have to coach blue chip players or big expectations. But honestly, does Rondo strike anybody as a diva? At his worst, he's a guy that wants to win at all costs and thinks his way is best. That's a mindset rooted in equal parts stubbornness and genius, but not celebrity and bravado. Rondo--not unlike Stevens, I would imagine--would rather the spotlight shine on his teammates and players, respectively.