Adam Jones Show: SI’s Pete Thamel On Brad Stevens’ Analytical Approach
BOSTON (CBS) – In hiring Brad Stevens, the Boston Celtics not only have the youngest head coach in the NBA, but one with a fresh new approach to the game.
Stevens is a huge numbers guy, breaking down everything to get an edge. He will bring that approach to Boston, something that Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated — who wrote a big piece about Stevens’ analytic approach in March — said will help Boston form the new identity they’re looking for Tuesday night on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show.
“I think it’s a pretty inspired hire for the place where the Celtics are right now. This Celtics team is clearly a team in transition and a team that is going to need a completely new identity. By giving Stevens a six-years, Danny Ainge has sort of handed over the keys to the franchise and they’re going to forge their identity around Stevens,” said Thamel. “Its a good hire in the fact that hes young and he’ll be able to endure any transition period and put his own stamp on the franchise. Its a bold hire because the NBA is such a re-tread league.”
“He’s an intense guy, but he has the right way to deal with players. I wrote about him a lot covering college basketball the last couple years, and the one thing everyone says about Brad Stevens is he’s a great communicator,” said Thamel. “He is clear and concise, and guy that can take all these all this complicated math and numbers and analytics and boil it down to the simplest ways and have everyone understand their roles and do their job. That’s going to the be the key to Brad Stevens succeeding.”
Coming with Stevens to Boston is Drew Cannon, who was Butler’s statistical guru last year.
“Drew grew up as a pure numbers cruncher,” said Thamel. “He’s merged the evaluation side of things with the numeric side of things. Over the year with Brad last year, as a graduate manager making the robust salary of $1,000 a month, Brad really came to trust him. He told me he would take Drew anywhere he went, so it’s not surprising that Drew is coming with him.”
Thamel wrote in March that Cannon would send Stevens a 10-page e-mail breaking down and analyzing the numbers after every Butler game.
“A lot of it is lineup analysis. If your backup 2-guard tends to play better with your starting forward, theyre going to have lineups,” explained Thamel. “Brad loves numbers. He always swore by analytics. That’s not all he is, but it’s a piece of what he does to analyze and prepare for opponents.”
“He’s so calm on the sidelines because he is confident he has reviewed every scenario in his head and he’s prepared,” added Thamel.