Stevens Hire Beyond Risky for Celtics

200px-Boston_Celtics.svgBrad Stevens being hired away from Butler to coach the Boston Celtics was a curious move at best.

I mean sure, Stevens brings to the table a VERY successful college coaching career.  During the past six years coaching Butler, he led the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championship games in 2010 and ’11.  He has a career winning percentage of .772 and never won fewer than 22 games in a season.

However, I think the combination of the lack of NBA coaching experience and his age (dude is only 36 years old) are potentially HUGE roadblocks to a successful NBA coaching career.  Stevens is five months younger than the recently traded Kevin Garnett!

And here is one more nugget to ponder: if Rajon Rondo was so bull-headed and stubborn with a universally respected coach in Doc Rivers, how would he jibe with a young dude fresh from the college ranks?  Do we REALLY expect Rondo to diligently accept Steven’s leadership and become more coachable?

My money is on “no” and “hell no”.

There is a reason why only a handful of college coaches – if that – are successful in the NBA.  Specifically I only know of ONE who has been successful in the NBA: Larry Brown.

Most college coaches fail miserably in the NBA.  The list of successful college coaches who failed in the NBA is stunning.  Jerry Tarkanian: fired from San Antonio.  Rick Pitino: fired from Boston.  P.J. Carlesimo: fired from two teams and choked by one player.

Hell if Mike Krzyzewski, the Hall of Famer who coaches Duke and USA Basketball, hasn’t made the leap to pros (though it has been reported that he came THIS CLOSE to in the past), what does that say for college coaches’ ability in the NBA?

Pro players are not going to listen to a college coach.  And I hate to say this, but Stevens will suffer the same fate.

I expect this experiment to last no more than two years.

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2 replies

  1. I disagree that it is a risky move. I think it is a “win-win” for both parties.

    The Celtics get some star power on a team that may have little more than Kris Humphries very soon, Face it, the Celtics are in full-on rebuilding mode, which means Rondo is gone. This team will be building through the draft, which means nobody should have any realistic expectations about this team for a while.

    Meanwhile, Stevens gets to put the NBA on his resume, which will help him get a “big time” college job when the Celtics fire him in three years because Boston fans will give him a honeymoon only so long.

    To answer your point about Krzyzewski, there’s NO WAY he was ever leaving Duke after he became the de facto King of Durham, N.C. A guy like Stevens can’t fail, because nobody expects anything from him and a team comprised of bench players. Any NBA job Krzyzewski takes wouldn’t be that way. Coach K would invariably be labeled some sort of “savior,” and when he couldn’t do it, that would be a major failure, and having major failures at the end of your career screw up your legacy.

  2. The best players in the NBA (Kobe, LeBron, KD, Melo, etc.) played their butts off for Coach K on Team USA. Don’t think it’s not possible for this smart, young coach to earn his players’ respect.

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