Brad Stevens Rumors
The Boston Celtics, with entries in both the Utah Jazz and Las Vegas summer leagues next month, will split their coaching duties between assistants Jay Larranaga and Micah Shrewsberry. Larranaga will be head coach for Boston’s three-game stint in Salt Lake City, while Shrewsberry will take the baton for the duration of the Celtics’ stay in Las Vegas. The reason for the split? Celtics head coach Brad Stevens doesn’t want to burn out Larranaga. “I was actually worried about [Larranaga] coaching this year because he coached last year, then he went to the Ukraine [for work with the national team], so I don’t want to burn anybody out,” said Stevens. “He hasn’t had as much time maybe as the rest of us had to recharge last year. So I actually didn’t want him to do more than the first one.”
The Celtics, already at full capacity with Brad Stevens’ on-bench staff, simply couldn’t offer Erman a bench position. That doesn’t mean his unique talent wasn’t valued. “We had a full staff before he showed up,” said Ainge. “I had enough faith in him that I brought him in (last summer) not knowing how we were going to use him. I was going to use him on my staff, or Brad could use him on his staff.
“I wasn’t going to put any pressure on Brad, because Brad didn’t really know Erm,” he said. “I was doing it until we found something. It took about two or three weeks when Brad gobbled him up. But we have a full staff, and we’re not in a rush to add anyone. “He was part of our defensive staff. Brad, Micah (Shrewsberry) and Erm are our three defensive coaches. Micah was doing it all before, and Erm brought in a new taste and opinion. We may just replace him from within now. It’s not that we have to replace him. There’s only so much air in the room.”
One other staff update: former Butler player Alex Barlow has been added as a video assistant. Stevens listed some of the 22-year-old’s previous honors — he was an Academic All-American and two-time Big East Scholar Athlete of the Year — before cracking, “I guess he’s probably not as smart as his accomplishments if he wants to coach.”
Once the Erman departure becomes official, Stevens will need to replace a talented assistant for the second consecutive offseason. Long-time veteran Ron Adams left for Golden State last summer. “I’ve done it pretty much every summer I’ve been a coach,” Stevens said. “If you’ve got a good staff, you’re going to lose them at times. And that’s great. It’s great for the opportunity for upward mobility for your staff and for your environment. I think that’s a positive feel when guys get a chance to move on, grow, and do other things. I think that’s all good.”
Brad Stevens did not directly address word the Boston Celtics will lose assistant coach Darren Erman to the New Orleans Pelicans, but implied he knows he will need to fill a hole on his bench. “I’ll take my time in figuring out what’s next (with the staff),” Stevens said Tuesday afternoon after a pre-draft workout. “I’m in no rush, certainly.”
Bill Oram: Bobby Portis says he would be able to relate to Brad Stevens “because he’s in my age group.“ Cmon, Brad isn’t that young.
A. Sherrod Blakely: R.J. Hunter said Brad Stevens, then at Butler, was the only offer he had besides playing for his pops at Georgia State. #Celticstalk
But Stevens doesn’t give the process that much thought. In fact, he’s rather calm and maybe even a little fatalistic about his future with the Celtics. The club is clearly overjoyed with his performance and happy he has four more years left on his contract, but Stevens is assuming nothing. In the case of the tweets, he’s not going to be hindered by those who reply. “I don’t ever really read the responses,” Stevens told the Herald. “I’ll check the people I’m following, but . . . I haven’t changed anything. I still follow the same people. I tweeted the one time, as you know, and I might here and there. But I don’t have a whole lot of desire to do it, but maybe if my owners tell me I need to or Danny (Ainge) says I need to, maybe I will.”
This season, the Celtics improved their net rating in late-game clutch situations from -25.4 to -7.5, and they lowered their turnover ratio from 16.1 to 12.6. Stevens’s offseason focus was not solely on his players. He also identified about 35 stars from around the league whose games he admired. Then he assigned groups of them to his staff — also taking five for himself — and asked his assistants to dig in. “We studied them inside and out,” Stevens said. “What made them great? What were their flaws?”
Stevens is a numbers guy who heavily utilizes analytics. However, Zeller said that Stevens and his staff do a good job providing the necessary information to the players without overwhelming them. “He tells us the pertinent information, but not too much to overload us,” Zeller said.
What are the primary reasons for his success? “He’s the consummate teacher,” one general manager said. “He has great sideline poise.”
NBA executives will seldom praise another team’s coach on the record. But behind the scenes, a large number of decision-makers around the league are raving about Stevens. “What he’s done with that group this season, to get them into the playoffs and compete with Cleveland in the first three games, is awfully impressive,” a high-ranking executive said. “Just think of what he’ll do if he can get some actual high-level talent.” “He completely outcoached [Cavaliers coach] David Blatt in that series,” another exec added.
Marcus Smart wasn’t sent to the bench because he overslept and was late for the shootaround. As Stevens explained to the rookie, he planned to start Crowder anyway. But Smart, who finished with 11 points and six rebounds, accepted his punishment without any excuses. “I overslept, my alarm didn’t go off. By the time I looked at my phone clock, it was time to be here. I had to push it. I was 15 minutes late,” Smart said. “The coach is doing what he was supposed to do. It’s not acceptable when you have everybody here, especially for a rookie. .?.?. Coach made the right decision. I apologized to the team and coaches. I have to take it like a man. “It actually is my first time, but that doesn’t excuse it.”