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.