Early yesterday evening the Boston Celtics dropped a bombshell on the basketball world by announcing the hiring of Brad Stevens from Butler. Two days after Danny Ainge told reporters the Celtics were in no rush to hire their next head coach, they quietly met with Stevens and his reps Wednesday afternoon, and agreed upon a 6 year $22 million deal shortly thereafter.
The move was a shocker to most pundits and fans alike, and although I was shocked initially, I think it is a brilliant move for Boston. The 6 years given to Stevens signifies Ainge's confidence in the young coach, and shows his commitment to Boston's rebuilding effort.
Stevens will bring an analytical approach to Boston's young roster, which is surely something Ainge loved about him. Advanced statistics and metrics are gaining steam in coaching circles in the NBA and Stevens is known to incorporate those into his coaching. He should be right in his comfort zone with a roster of players mostly in their 20's, and many of his players should be receptive to his calm demeanor on the sidelines.
If Stevens fails early in his tenure, then Boston will be able to utilize its high draft picks to acquire major young talent which he can use to bring the Celtics back to their glory days. Seeing that they already have 9 first round picks in the next 5 drafts, that may not be as difficult a task as it seems.
I also think that Stevens is the perfect coach for Rajon Rondo. Even though Stevens is only 8 years older than Rondo, they have similar basketball minds. Rondo is known for breaking down the game and being able to diagnose opponents' plays before they happen. From his days in college, Stevens is a film rat and can scout opponents with the best of them. I'm sure Rondo can appreciate his work ethic and will be receptive to Stevens' laid back coaching style.
The Celtics are receiving rave reviews so far for this hire, and hopefully in plays out the way Danny Ainge plans. He certainly is swinging for the fences when it comes to this hire, and already has endorsements about Stevens from Jim Boeheim of Syracuse and Coach K of Duke. Regardless of what happens in the next year or two, I think this will turn out to be a great hire long term. Is age a question? Just ask Celtics fans of the 50's how Red Auerbach worked out when he was hired in 1950.