Q&A: Brad Stevens

Courtesy of The Ringer NBA Show podcast

On spending time with Tom Brady during the attempted recruitment of Kevin Durant:

So I didn’t even know that he was going for sure until that morning. We were actually, the players and I flew together from Atlanta because we had met with Al [Horford] the evening before and our owners and Danny had actually flown back to Boston to basically pick up Tom. So they flew to Boston first and then hopped over to the Hamptons. We met them in the Hamptons, so I wasn’t with them for any of that, but we quickly went out to eat lunch before the meeting. And I think it was a great example of a guy that is obviously incredibly high achiever, has won at the highest level, is totally committed to being the greatest that he can be and loves being a part of Boston sports. He loves living in Boston. He talked about how much his family enjoys Boston, how good he feels raising his kids here and everything else. He really came across as just a normal guy. I was really impressed with him. It’s the first time I’ve really spent any time with him. I had been to a practice of there’s before where I got a chance to meet him real briefly, but he was great. I think that people respect not only that he’s accomplished what he’s accomplished, but he’s just a really down to earth person.

Similarities with Belichick in coaching mentality:

I think the hardest part is not getting into the emotional roller coaster. And I think no matter how process oriented you are. No matter how focused on the next task you can be, that’s one of the biggest challenges in this game in my opinion, and I’m sure it is in football too. And I’m sure he’s walking into that room it’s that you’re starting a year and you’re thinking, okay, number one is this validates the work that we’ve done up to this point. And number two is: ‘But this won’t mean anything unless we keep doing it.’

What kids want to be like as young players determines the future style of the NBA:

Inevitably, everybody will be forced to play a little bit differently if multiple great low-post players are back in the game, but that’s not the way that kids are growing up wanting to play. And I saw that first-hand, having watched kids from late middle school into high school. Very rarely did I recruit a kid that was a four, in fact I don’t think I ever recruited a kid that was a four that said ‘I want to play the five,’ even though it would’ve been totally beneficial for his career to play the five because he would’ve been playing against slower people that he would’ve exposed. It was always a combo wanted to be a one. A three wanted to be a two, a four wanted to be a three, a five wanted to be a four. That’s just the way that, for whatever reason, we’re in an era that kind of feels that way.

Could he ever coach his son like what Doc Rivers has done with Austin Rivers?

No. I did get asked the other day who’s my favorite player that I’ve ever coached, and even though my son is 10 I have to say my son.

He asked to work out. We’re doing shooting and all that stuff. And I said ‘Alright, we’ll just drive a few off of the catch and maximize your steps and maybe take a long step and finish on the other side of the rim.’ He was struggling because it was a unique concept. He kind of muttered under his breath ‘Hey I’d rather workout with somebody who knew what he was talking about.’ And that was an eye-opening thing that even with my favorite player that I’ve ever coached I’m going to have days where I’m a little frustrated with him. So I learned once again that coaching can be a challenging profession.

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