Brad Stevens needed to pick someone’s brain during the trials and tribulations of last season, and it turns out that someone was the man he replaced in Boston and current Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers.
In a recent interview with the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn, Rivers spoke about his relationship with Stevens and how the coaches talked over the phone on multiple occasions throughout a season that was filled with turbulence for the Celtics.
“Brad and I talked several times about team chemistry,” Rivers told Washburn. “Brad had a young team. They have that first year where they go to the Eastern Conference finals and the next year, the assumption of winning is a dangerous thing. Young players assume we’ll be back next year and the same thing will happen and you find out that that’s not so. Experience will be invaluable. You’ll see (Jayson) Tatum and (Jaylen) Brown, those guys will be much better because of it.”
Stevens, who took over for Rivers in 2013 and has compiled a 297-251 record, including the playoffs, in his six seasons at the helm of the Celtics, fostered a friendship with Rivers as the two are involved with the ABCD program, a non-profit organization that serves low income residents in the Greater Boston area.
And while tending to their respective coaching duties on opposite sides of the coast, Stevens and Rivers like to reach out to one another in search of advice.
“He’s a great basketball mind; we call each other during the season,” Rivers said. “I called Brad several times last year to ask his opinion about certain guys, certain players, certain situations. He does the same with me. It’s just one game day. we don’t talk anymore. Once that’s over, we can go back and be friends again.”