|Brad Stevens on D&C: Rajon Rondo ‘really, really intelligent, insightful,’ will be a Celtics leader||07.12.13 at 10:43 am ET|
Brad Stevens joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, and the new Celtics coach made sure to clear up a couple of big question marks about the organization moving forward: Yes, he expects Rajon Rondo to be on the team, and yes, he expects the point guard to be one of the leaders.
Stevens has spent much of the last week meeting with members of the organization — both staff and players — and Rondo is no exception. The two met up in Louisville, Ky., when Stevens made the two-hour drive from Indianapolis.
Aside from giving a quick talk at Rondo’s youth basketball camp, Stevens spent some time getting to know his point guard.
‘I just enjoyed spending time with him, asking him questions about not only his time with the Celtics but his time before,’ Stevens said. ‘I found him to be really, really intelligent, really, really insightful. I thought he had great ideas. I’m really looking forward to working with him.
‘I think [Rondo is] eager for that challenge [to be the leader] and I’m looking forward to that. I’ve talked to a lot of guys that are on this team already, and I think we have a good, young group that has been great to me. They seem eager, they seem excited, and they all speak very highly of playing with him.’
Another one of the players Stevens spoke with during his time in Orlando — where he watched some summer league action — is first-round draft pick Kelly Olynyk, who has gotten plenty of headlines during his first taste of professional action.
While Stevens was wary of putting grand expectations on the 22-year-old, he is expecting big things.
‘I sat down with him the other day, and I just told him, a lot of people will use their rookie year or their second year or their third year as an excuse for not being the best that they can be because they have this transition/grace period. And then there’s other guys that make the All-Rookie team. And I think that certainly should be a goal, and he’s certainly capable,” Stevens said.
‘He’s a very good player, he’s a very skilled player. He has a great feel for the game, and I just like him. I like him as a person. He’s a very driven young man, so I’m looking forward to coaching him.’
|Rajon Rondo: ‘I am not a coach-killer’||at 10:24 am ET|
As is his custom, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has remained quiet throughout his team’s tumultuous summer, but C’s broadcaster Cedric Maxwell shared a recent conversation between the two about new coach Brad Stevens.
‘On the Fourth of July, I happened to be walking on one of the beaches of Boston, ran into Rajon Rondo’s brother, had him give Rondo a call and I spoke to Rondo personally about this,” Maxwell told Yahoo! Sports Radio. “Rondo said to me, ‘Look, I am not a coach-killer,’ so I think that he wants to get in here, he wants to work hard, he wants to get along with the coach, and he feels like he’s been put into an unfair picture of being such a hard, difficult guy to coach.’
Somewhere along the line, Rondo developed a reputation as a player no coach but Doc Rivers could handle — and even Rivers grew tired of him, or so the rumors go. We tackled how that tale got taller here.
‘He is stubborn and pig-headed when it comes to doing it his way and getting it done his way,” added Maxwell. “And he wants to prove people wrong because he was drafted down in the draft — how good he is, how good he’s become. He’s become an All-Star, and he’s become one of the better point guards in the NBA, so I think he has kind of a chip on his shoulder. That kind of comes into play, but a lot of great players always have some kind of idiosyncrasy that kind of goes along with that.’
|Kelly Olynyk posts a double-double, but Celtics fall to Rockets in summer league||07.10.13 at 5:59 pm ET|
Kelly Olynyk scored a team-high 19 points and hauled in 10 rebounds in 28 minutes, but the Celtics had their two-game win streak snapped in an 85-78 loss to the Rockets on Wednesday afternoon in NBA Summer League play in Orlando. Olynyk did commit five turnovers and seven personal fouls in the loss. Summer league rules allow players to commit an unlimited number of fouls.
The Rockets, who recently signed free agent center Dwight Howard, jumped out to a quick start, leading 24-17 after one quarter.
The Celtics responded by outscoring the Rockets 23-19 in the second period and cut Houston’s lead to 43-40 at the half. But the Celtics offense went cold again in the third as Boston scored just 16 points and trailed 67-56 entering the final quarter.
Trailing 81-73 with 1:38 left in the game, the Celtics made one final push, cutting the lead to three, 81-78, on a Lawrence Hill 3-pointer with 26.9 seconds remaining. But those would be the final points of the day for the Celtics, who finished the scheduled portion of summer league at 2-2. They will have Thursday off before a playoff game on Friday.
The Celtics, who entered the day in third place in the standings, earned two points in the loss by winning the second and fourth quarters. They have 14 points, tying them with the idle Heat for third place. The Heat play Thursday. The Celtics are likely to play in either the third-place or fifth-place game on Friday.
The Rockets are a perfect 3-0, with their final scheduled game set for Thursday. The Rockets are second in the standings now with 16 points after earning five on Wednesday. Oklahoma City leads the group with 20 points after earning six on Wednesday in a win over the 76ers.
Tim Abromaitis (14) and Courtney Fells (10) were the only other Celtics scoring in double figures. Phil Pressey got the start again at point guard for the Celtics. He had an up-and-down game, dishing out a game-high 10 assists but committing four turnovers and making just 2-of-9 field goal attempts.
At halftime, new Celtics coach Brad Stevens spoke to NBA TV. Stevens said he’s not worried about next season’s record as much as he is about the overall approach his new team takes to playing.
“I’ve been a lot less concerned about results [this summer] than playing to a standard. That’s going to be a major emphasis,” Stevens told Nick Cellini and Kendall Gill.
Stevens was also asked about Rajon Rondo and whether he’s reached out to his All-Star point guard.
“From everything I’ve been told, his rehab has been going well,” Stevens said. “Shared quite a few texts, talked on phone. Will talk to him soon.”
|Kelly Olynyk, Phil Pressey lead Celtics past Pacers in summer league||07.09.13 at 1:33 pm ET|
First-round draft pick Kelly Olynyk continued his strong play in the NBA Summer League in Orlando, accumulating 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists Tuesday to lead the Celtics to a 76-74 victory over the Pacers.
Olynyk, who is averaging 19.7 points through three games for the 2-1 Celtics, hit 9-of-19 shots and was a plus-15 in almost 30 minutes of action. Tony Mitchell added 15 points for Boston. Phil Pressey had 11 points, five assists and three steals, and he hit two free throws with 10 seconds left for the winning points.
Solomon Hill led the Pacers with 15 points.
The Celtics led by 11 at the half but allowed Indiana to tie the game at 74 with 38 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Donald Sloan that capped a 9-0 run. On the Celtics’ ensuing possession, Olynyk missed a hook shot in the paint.
Sloan then came up short on a drive as second-round pick Colton Iverson stepped in to cut off his path. Pressey, the son of former Celtics assistant coach Paul Pressey, grabbed the rebound and was fouled in the backcourt. He calmly sank both free throws to put the C’s back in front.
The Pacers had the final shot, but Sloan missed a wide-open 3-pointer at the buzzer that could have won it.
In addition to members of the Celtics front office and coaching staff, veteran forward Jeff Green was on hand to watch the game and came away with good feelings about Olynyk.
“He can play at a high level,” Green said in an interview with NBA TV after the game. “He can really move for a big guy. I’m impressed.”
“It’s all about opportunity,” Green said. “And right now I definitely have the opportunity to showcase what I can do without those guys there. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been working. I’ve been working hard to better my game in all aspects. So, I’m looking forward to the challenge I have upon me, and I’ll be ready.”
Green also had the opportunity to meet new coach Brad Stevens.
“We spoke today,” Green said. “We walked over to the gym today, had a great time picking his brain. Just a smart, smart guy. He loves the game. I think he’s looking forward to the challenge. College coaches coming in with the transition to the NBA, it’s going to be tough. But I think he’s up for the challenge. He’s going to do whatever it takes to make us better.”
The Celtics play again Wednesday at 3 p.m. vs. the Rockets, then they have a playoff game Friday to close out their week in Orlando.
|Stephen A. Smith on D&C: ‘Damn lie’ for Danny Ainge to say he’s not tearing down Celtics for rebuild||07.08.13 at 11:53 am ET|
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the Celtics’ hiring of Brad Stevens and the team’s rebuilding process.
“I like the hire,” Smith said. “I think he’s a bright, young coach. I think Danny Ainge deserves a lot of credit, did a phenomenal job in plucking him out of the college game. I think when you consider what he brings to the table, not just in terms of his acumen as a coach but his temperament, I think that goes a long way towards helping the Boston Celtics basically resurrect themselves. Because where they are right now, obviously they’re going to be struggling for quite some time. You’ve got to remember, this is a team that’s been plucked. They’re rebuilding now. [Kevin Garnett] is gone, Paul Pierce is gone. You’ve got all of this stuff going on. In my opinion, even though they’re talking about keeping [Rajon] Rondo, I think Rondo should be gone. You’ve just got to start anew.
“In the end, what it comes down to is that this man knows basketball He’s a bright young mind. He’s not the kind of guy like Rick Pitino — as great as Rick Pitino is as a coach, we all know that he’s the kind of individual that really pushes the envelope to some degree and was screaming and pacing around like a bat out of hell. Trying to do it for 82 games, that kind of stuff wears on professional athletes getting paid millions of dollars. The kind of temperament that Brad Stevens brings to the table I think is incredibly beneficial to the Boston Celtics. And I think they deserve a lot of credit for picking him as their guy to succeed Doc Rivers. I think it’s a tremendous hire.”
Ainge has insisted the team is not tanking, but Smith puts little faith in that statement.
“I think that’s kind of a lie, to be quite honest with you,” Smith said. “Listen, I’m not trying to denigrate Danny Ainge in any way. But the fact of the matter is, you lose KG, you lose Paul Pierce, you go in a different direction even though Rondo is here. You’re clearly in rebuilding mode. There’s no way around this.
“And if you didn’t think you were in rebuilding mode, Brad Stevens would not have gotten a six-year deal. This is a guy you plucked out of college, you gave him a six-year deal worth about $22 million. He’s getting pair nearly 4 million a year. There’s plenty of coaches in this league who have coached in this league, who have a modicum of success, that are not getting paid the salary that Brad Stevens is getting paid. You know why you had to pay him those dollars? It wasn’t just to pluck him away from a mid-major like Butler. It was to ask him to stay the course, because you know this is going to be a long way back to prominence. That’s what this is.
“So, Danny Ainge can tell you what he wants to. I respect the man, I respect what he’s accomplished. And I certainly am not trying to denigrate him in any way. But that’s a damn lie, what he just said right there. I’m sorry.”
ESPN/ABC basketball analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to discuss the Celtics‘ offseason maneuverings.
The C’s pulled off a surprise move last week when they named Butler’s Brad Stevens their new coach.
“I think he’s a great, great basketball coach,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t think there will be too big an adjustment — or too big of an adjustment basketball-wise. This guy is really, really smart. I think their players will respect his confidence, his sincerity, his reliability and his trustworthiness. He’s a quality person and coach.
“Now, the difference is, you’re going to lose some, and maybe a lot, depending on the construction of the roster. That, coupled with the length of a season, is always a challenge in the NBA when you go through a rebuilding situation. But I think his demeanor and his poise, along with his contract, will serve him well through the rebuilding situation.”
Added Van Gundy: “I honestly think that this is not a risk. People say it’s a risk. I don’t think it’s a risk for anybody. When Brad Stevens is done with the Celtics in six years, 10 years, 15 years, he can always go back and get a great, great college job. And for the Celtics, it’s not a risk because this guy’s a great person and a great basketball coach. How they do record-wise over his tenure there is going to be not based on his coaching ability. His coaching ability will be fine. It’s going to be their roster. Can they get him a good enough roster to work with and win with? If they do, they’ll win there.”
Asked if he or his brother Stan were contacted about the Celtics’ opening, Van Gundy said: “I have no idea about my brother. I know I wasn’t. Hey, listen, I have such respect for the Celtics that anybody would be interested if the Celtics call. They just have a great, obviously, history, they have great ownership, they have great management. So, anybody would be interested.”
As the Celtics head into a rebuilding period, Van Gundy warned that people need to avoid becoming impatient as the long season wears on.
“There’s very few people — teams, fan bases, organizations, coaches, players — who really have the stomach for a long rebuild,” he said. “It sounds good in theory. But Boston was tiring of rebuilding until Danny Ainge pulled off the Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett trades. No one likes losing 18 straight games. This is where I thought Doc Rivers took unnecessary criticism. That he didn’t want to go through a long rebuild? He’d already done that. He’d already gone through that purgatory time in Boston. So, that he wouldn’t want to redo it again in Boston? I completely understand.
“There’s got to be a stomach for this rebuilding. And it really starts with the media, the management, the ownership. Because they’re so used to winning, that this may be a period of mediocrity. It may be that 41-40 record last year, that may be the norm. Or maybe they get a few more wins or maybe they get a few less wins, or maybe a lot less wins. You can’t just believe that in theory. You’ve got to be able to live through the dreary nights that are coming to the Boston Garden. And accept that this is part of the NBA, that you can’t stay great forever.
“I think that’s going to be the toughest adjustment for everybody. They’re coming off such a great period of winning, where they had the ultimate competitors in Garnett and [Paul] Pierce. So, to see them go, to see them go into the Eastern Conference. The whole thing is going to be difficult. And that’s where I think Brad’s demeanor will really help him. He’ll focus on trying to get better every day, incremental improvement. And if he can do that, I think he will have fulfilled his obligation to the Celtics very, very well.”
|Brad Stevens on M&M: ‘If anybody’s going to be impatient, it’s going to be me’||07.05.13 at 1:48 pm ET|
Stevens joins the Celtics after 13 years at Butler, the last six as head coach of the Indiana school. He received a six-year contract from the Celtics and said he’s eager to put his stamp on the program.
“If anybody’s going to be impatient, it’s going to be me,” Stevens said. “I love to compete. I love to prepare. And I can’t wait for the first practice. I’m a big believer in the day-by-day process, I’m really excited about it.
“The only way I would have considered leaving Butler was for the greatest situation. And it’s all about people. When I got a chance to sit down with the people in the room, it reminded me of the people that I was leaving. It’s been emotional, because it’s hard to leave a place that you’ve been for 13 years. But it’s also very exciting.”
Stevens said he wants “outside-the-box thinkers” on his coaching staff as he makes the transition to the pro game.
“The things I’ve written down for a great staff are humble, hard-working and searching for answers,” he said. “I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I love being around people searching for them. It’s kind of motivating for me.”
Stevens’ Butler teams were noted for their intelligence and toughness, and he said that’s the same type of team he wants in Boston.
“I hope we play hard and play together,” he said. “And then I hope as time goes on, as we learn the people on our team and we learn whatever system we choose to put in that we are a very detail-oriented, tough-minded group. That’s what I’ve always enjoyed about coaching, is when you get people to all play not only to their strengths and enhance themselves individually but collectively go after it and achieve something, you can see that sense of purpose together.”