Stevens' assistants provide support system

Stevens' assistants provide support system
September 9, 2013, 11:45 am
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(AP Photo)

WALTHAM, Mass. — Brad Stevens comes to the NBA with an impeccable coaching resume, the kind that on paper at least, gives one a sense that it's a matter of when - not if - he will succeed with the Boston Celtics.

But for all the uncertainty that awaits him in what will be his first season as an NBA head coach, an often overlooked component in any team's plans for success - the assistant coaches - will be crucial during this transition period the C's are entering this season.

"The better part of the first month was hiring and getting up to speed," Stevens told CSNNE.com. "I tried to balance everything as much as possible, but hiring was really critical. In hiring coaches, I wanted to prioritize guys that were really humble, really hard working and really intelligent. I really think we hit a home run. All of these guys have been great. They all have great demeanors, great personalities and ... you can tell they're all very much in it for the good of the cause."

Jay Larrananga and Jamie Young were assistants under Doc Rivers previously. Stevens has added veteran assistant Ron Adams (most recently in Chicago) as well as Michah Shrewsberry, a former assistant coach of Stevens at Butler and one of his former players, Ronald Nored, who will serve as a player development coach.

In addition, Stevens rounded out his coaching staff with the addition of former Celtic Walter McCarty.

The humility that Stevens speaks of can be seen in how he deals with his assistants, all of whom have more experience in the NBA than he does.

Stevens is often praised for his intelligence and knowledge of the game, but those who know him well acknowledge he doesn't come across as a know-it-all.

"And that's going to serve him well in the NBA," Cavs coach Mike Brown told CSNNE.com. "He's a very smart coach who knows he doesn't have all the answers but smart enough to know how to seek out those answers from others."

Stevens' predecessor Doc Rivers has also sung his praises.

"Brad and I talked before he took the Celtics job and it was about another job," Rivers said recently. "And he just wanted my thoughts, should he come to the NBA? I said absolutely. He has the right make-up. I can tell you, he does. He's not one of those coaches who thinks it's all about him. And I just think if you watch his teams play and his demeanor, he'll be a very good NBA head coach."

In a recent interview with CSNNE.com at the Celtics' practice facility, Stevens spoke of the many challenges that would be on the horizon in his first season as the Celtics' head coach.

But those challenges will be aided by a staff that he believes compliments him and the players well.

"Because whenever I have a question, it's like, 'Hey Ron,' or I'll walk around the corner, 'Hey Walter, Hey Jay! ... they come in and I ask them, or Jamie, 'What were you doing in this situation here?' Was that a plan of attack or was that something that happened out of the blue? Was that an adjustment?"

Stevens added, "The mix and diversity of experience in that group is really good. And it's been very helpful thus far. That's been my main focus thus far; learning our team, learning the game from the little nuances of the NBA that's different. And figuring out how we can best be successful. We all know and we all believe it's going to be a process of daily growth. We have to have complete buy-in to that."