|Cosmic relief: Bill Russell’s effect on Brad Stevens||08.29.13 at 11:36 am ET|
Sports Illustrated’s profile of Celtics coach Brad Stevens is fantastic for many reasons, particularly the portions about his complex defensive schemes and in-game offensive adjustments, but one cosmic detail stands above all others: Bill Russell‘s team-first philosophy had a profound effect on Stevens.
In Stevens’s first year at Butler, then assistant and future coach Todd Lickliter would introduce Stevens to Bill Russell’s book Russell Rules: 11 Lessons on Leadership from the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Winner. In it Russell sets forth the concept of “team ego,” writing, “I was the most egotistical player they would ever meet. My ego is not a personal ego, it’s a team ego. My ego demands — for myself — the success of my team.”
Stevens says, “You have a choice to make when you’re not playing: Either you’re invested and a great teammate, or you’re not. There were times, early on, where I wasn’t a great teammate. It’s a difficult concept, learning the we over me attitude. I’m glad I got to that point, because it really helped me as a coach.”
Good stuff from Sports Illustrated. Be sure to read the article in its entirety here.
|Irish Coffee: Meet the new Celtics coaching staff||08.22.13 at 12:32 pm ET|
The Celtics announced the finalization of their coaching staff for the 2013-14 NBA season, completing a two-month overhaul of the staff since trading Doc Rivers to the Clippers for an unprotected first-round pick in 2015.
The C’s surrounded coach Brad Stevens with new assistants Ron Adams, Micah Shrewsbury and Walter McCarty, who join holdovers Jamie Young and Jay Larranaga from Rivers’ staff last season.
“I am really excited about our assistant coaching staff that we have here in Boston,’ said Stevens. ‘In this group, we have successfully assembled a passionate, intelligent, hard-working, and humble staff with a diverse set of experiences in coaching. We are all eager to get to work with this year’s team, and take great pride in being a part of the Boston Celtics organization.”
So, who exactly are these guys?
BRAD STEVENS: By all accounts, he’s a brilliant young basketball mind who led the unheralded Butler program to back-to-back NCAA title games. That much was evident in our half-hour discussion on the Green Street podcast. A calm demeanor, fierce competitive streak and in-depth statistical analysis guided his process-oriented approach that consistently produced steady improvement over the course of a season. Ever aware of the historical evidence against college coaches succeeding at the NBA level, he’s smart enough to know that what worked collegiately doesn’t necessarily translate to the pros.
‘There’s a minimum level of ability that goes into making this thing successful anyway,” Stevens said last month. “All the other intangibles are certainly extremely important and maybe give you an advantage in a low possession game, so you have to have that minimum level of talent, and you coach to those intangibles the best you can.’
RON ADAMS: For the past three seasons, Adams served under former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau on a Bulls team that generated a .683 winning percentage. A defensive guru, Adams began coaching his alma mater Fresno Pacific University before Stevens was even a zygote in 1972 and has served as an assistant on five NBA benches since 1992, providing the experience necessary after the Celtics hired a 36-year-old head coach.
|Irish Coffee: How Celtics might manage minutes||07.31.13 at 9:05 am ET|
The Celtics still have one too many men on the roster, so a decision must be made.
Second-round pick Colton Iverson did them a favor by signing overseas for a season or two, allowing the C’s to maintain his rights while freeing a roster spot. And the writing is on the wall for Shavlik Randolph, who is due $1.1 million if he isn’t cut by Thursday and remains the lone non-guaranteed contract on the team.
Still, Shav proved worthy of a second look last season, producing 4.2 points and 4.4 rebounds in an average of 12.4 minutes. Plus, he has moves like Michael Jackson (see video, obviously). So, let’s take a look at how new Celtics coach Brad Stevens may manage his team’s minutes to figure out how they might keep Randolph around.
|18 things we learned from the Brad Stevens podcast||07.25.13 at 10:48 pm ET|
18. He’s not goal-oriented; he’s process-oriented: “My goal is to win the next game one possession at a time. That’s it. I don’t have any other goals. I’ve never been a goal guy. I didn’t have a goal at Butler. Our goals were always to get better every day and win the next game one possession at a time, and that was it. And so that’s what we’ll try to do.”
17.He really likes Phil Pressey: “Pressey is a guy who can affect a game. If a game is not really going your way, he can spark you. He can get inside the defense, he can make plays defensively. He can his hands on balls. He is a cerebral point guard. I like his game. I think he does a lot of good things.”
16. Danny Ainge inquired about his interest before the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett trade: “After Doc left, he had actually called me and talked about, ‘Are you interested in the job?’ And, ‘This is what I’ve got going on this week.’ It was draft week, and then he said there are some other things that may be coming down the pike as well, so it’s going to be a busy week for me, so we just agreed to talk later on.
“So, that’s when I saw and heard about Kevin and Paul, and obviously they did such terrific things for this place. It’s really amazing what they were able to do and what they were able to accomplish, and they’ll go down as two of the best that ever played here. But I knew that was coming when I accepted the job. I knew that it was a formality by the time I accepted the job, and so that didn’t have any impact on accepting it or not.”
|Report: Jay Larranaga in the running for 76ers head coaching gig||07.17.13 at 8:06 pm ET|
Another Celtics assistant is drawing interest from one of Boston’s arch rivals.
Jay Larranaga, who was considered as a candidate to replace Doc Rivers before Brad Stevens was hired, has been contacted by the Philadelphia 76ers to interview for their vacant head coaching position.
Before joining Boston for the 2012-13 season, Larranaga spent the previous two seasons as head coach of the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League. In two seasons with the BayHawks, Larranaga led his squad to consecutive playoff appearances while posting a regular season record of 60-40. He also established team records for all-time wins (60) and wins in a season (32).
In Larranaga’s two years in Erie, eight different players received NBA call-ups. Prior to arriving in Erie, Larranaga served as an assistant coach at Cornell, and before that he was head coach of the Irish National team for two years. Larranaga spent the summer of 2012 as an assistant for the Ukraine National team under former NBA coach Mike Fratello before joining Rivers’ staff last season.
Yahoo! NBA writer and insider Adrian Wojnarowski was first with the story.
Boston Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga met with Sixers management to discuss head coaching job on Tuesday, league sources tell Y!
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 17, 2013
Larranaga, who reportedly met on Tuesday with the Sixers, is one of a list of candidates the 76ers are considering to replace Doug Collins, who resigned” after the team’s 34-win season that resulted in Philly missing the playoffs one season after losing a Game 7 to the Celtics in the Eastern semis.
Larranaga’s father, Jim, was the AP college coach of the year this past season, leading the Miami Hurricanes to its first-ever tournament title, an ACC win over North Carolina and an appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16.
|Report: Celtics add Ron Adams as assistant coach||07.16.13 at 8:25 am ET|
Adams had been the lead assistant to Tom Thibodeau with the Bulls, but he was not retained this offseason — reportedly a decision by general manager Gar Forman that did not sit well with Thibodeau. Adams has spent 2o-plus years as a coach and scout in the NBA, including stops with the Trail Blazers, Spurs, 76ers, Bucks and Thunder.
In Boston, Adams joins Jay Larranaga and Jamie Young, who were with the Celtics last season, and new hire Micah Shrewsberry, a former Butler assistant under Stevens who most recently was an assistant at Purdue.
Larranaga, who interviewed for the Celtics head coaching position, is said to be in the running for the 76ers head position.
|Living the very un-NBA life that is the Orlando Summer League||07.13.13 at 11:24 am ET|
ORLANDO — There is no glamor in this.
The Orlando Summer Pro League is the player’s equivalent of a physical exam. It’s sterile. Clinical. Sometimes, it’s uncomfortable.
A few dozen young men, many of whom just met, assemble at what must feel like an ungodly hour to perform for the assembled coaches, executives, scouts, agents, and media. For many, it’s a first taste of life as a pro. For some, it’s another in a line of chances to prove they are worthy of an invitation to training camp. For a few, it’s a mandated appearance to hone a skill, or work on something new.
The players are fully exposed on the court. Every squeak of sneakers, every slap of a foul, every curse after a missed shot is heard quite plainly by just about everyone. With no more than three rows of seating surrounding the court, expressions are clearly visible, even winces from coaches who clearly expected something different from a play.
Yes, the environment during these games can be unforgiving.
But most of these guys love it.
‘I’m really having fun out there and having fun with my team,’ said first-round pick (and summer league star) Kelly Olynyk. ‘It’s a great group of guys, a great group of coaches, very encouraging.’
Strip away all the ancillary stuff like crowds and a PA announcer, and what these guys have been doing out there all week is simply playing basketball. For the purists who want to hear and see every little bit of detail, this is a little slice of bliss.
‘It’s been great,’ new C’s coach Brad Stevens told me this week. ‘I’ve been able to get to the gym and sit, and listen, and talk, and evaluate and then I can go back to my room and work. So it’s been a great balance.’