BOSTON (CBS) — Isaiah Thomas won’t be alone at this year’s NBA All-Star festivities, with Brad Stevens and his staff manning the Eastern Conference bench.
During his weekly interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand on Wednesday, Stevens said he hasn’t spent much time thinking about the opportunity, instead focusing on Boston’s remaining six games before the break.
“It’s a great honor because of where the team sits, but that was accomplished by the players in the locker room,” said Stevens. “I think everyone on our staff would trade our coaching spots for one or two more of our players to be in the game.”
Asked if he’ll be limiting Thomas’ minutes in the exhibition, keeping Boston’s lone All-Star fresh for their second half run, Stevens joked that managing players minutes is about all a coach has to do in an All-Star game.
“I haven’t even thought about minutes or anything else, but I’ve heard that’s the biggest challenge that comes along with it. I’m not sure what else a coach does in an All-Star game, to be quite candid,” he said. “We’re going to have one open practice for 25-30 minutes, and then these guys just get a chance to showcase what makes them all so unique. I’m just going to sit over on the sideline and put my thumbs up occasionally, make it look like I’m doing something.”
While many fans are hoping Stevens uses the gig to show off how great it would be to play for him — a recruiting trip, if you will — the coach promises there will be no tampering during his time in New Orleans.
“I can tell you two things: there will be no tampering and I will be myself. This game and weekend is for the players,” he reiterated. “We’re going to focus on making it all about the players that are there, and that’s all we’ll do.”
Of course, there is another game that is still on everyone’s mind, and Stevens said he actually watched the entire Super Bowl, which is a rather unique situation for a man who devotes his life to basketball.
“It was special,” he said of the Patriots 34-28 comeback win over the Falcons. “It’s funny, because I watch championship games through a different lens, because I’ve lost two of them. Literally, I’m rooting hard for the Patriots to win that game because of the connections you have with the team, the fact you live in New England, and because it has become so fun to follow how special they are and [Tom] Brady’s greatness and everything else. But you also have a small part of you that says you hate when they interview the losing coach after the game, because I’ve been that guy. It’s a tough thing to go through, but the Falcons handled it with class.
“It was special for the Patriots, just an incredible comeback,” he said. “It’s true; all 48 minutes of a basketball game and all 60 minutes of a football game, every single snap and minute, matters. It’s amazing.”
Stevens also touched on the Bruins firing Claude Julien. Listen to the full interview below: