BOSTON (CBS) – Brad Stevens is set to become the 17th head coach in Boston Celtics history, a move that caught nearly everyone by surprised when it was announced on Wednesday.
The Indianapolis Star’s Bob Kravitz is close with Stevens after covering him at Butler for the last six years, and had no idea the coach was making the jump to the NBA.
“This comes completely out of the blue. I stay in regular touch with Brad, and I think this came out of the blue for him as well,” Kravitz told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show shortly after the Celtics made the announcement. “I don’t think he even saw it coming. These kinds of opportunities don’t come along very often in life, and you’re nuts if you don’t grab them.”
While Stevens has no NBA background or experience, Kravitz thinks he will do well in Boston.
“He’s an NBA-type of guy – he’s more into analytics and statistics than most college coaches. He has an NBA mindset,” said Kravitz. “He is the best game-coach I’ve seen at the college level. He’s the most prepared college coach I’ve seen at that level. I think he’s a super star; I think he’s going to struggle in Boston, but I think Gregg Popovich would struggle in Boston given the state of that team right now.”
Kravitz says those struggles will be based on the roster, and will have nothing to do with Stevens handling the pressure of an NBA gig.
“(He’ll struggle) just in terms of wins and losses because it’s not a good team right now. After that trade they made you could put anyone, Phil Jackson or Red Auerbach, and they’d struggle,” he said. “He’ll handle the media just fine. He doesn’t have a lot of media exposure here in Indianapolis but he handled it on the big stage at the two final fours they reached. He’s got the kind of personality that lends itself to handling a large media market. I don’t think that will be an issue for him.”
“I think it makes sense to go with a young, growing coach to pair him up with a young, growing team that is rebuilding,” said Kravitz. “Give Brad a little time to take his lumps, but I think over time he is going to do just fine.”
Kravitz says where a lot of NCAA-to-NBA coaches fail is their ego — making themselves the most important piece to the puzzle. But that isn’t going to happen with Stevens.
“A lot of them, they’re so used to coming from situations where the coach is the program. I think Brady does not have that kind of ego. He doesn’t need to be the show or the program,” he said. “He would have no problem dealing with guys, who are maybe his own age making millions of dollars. He’s a very low ego guy, and I think he’ll fit in very well in the NBA. He reminds me of Frank Vogel here with the Indiana Pacers who is very positive and doesn’t put himself above the program.”