Brad Stevens is officially in full swing as the new head coach of the Boston Celtics. After making the jump from the college ranks to the NBA, the rookie coach is now busy meeting with players and prepping rookies. The moment Danny Ainge opted to hire a coach from the NCAA to replace Doc Rivers, the question of how the point guard Rajon Rondo would handle him immediately came up. The two have now officially met and Stevens had nothing but praise for the point guard.
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Stevens made a special trip down to Louisville to break the ice with Rondo. The Celtics have been insistent in their stance that Rondo would not be traded following the departures Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The team is aiming to build around the talented point guard instead of sending him elsewhere. The first step for the Celtics to be successful next season is Rondo and Stevens getting along.
"Meeting Rondo was great," Stevens said. "What an insightful, intelligent, neat person to sit down with. I've got a chance to meet a lot of his teammates because we were down at the summer league and some guys would come by, so it's been great to meet him and the other teammates. I think it's been a really good situation thus far. It's been a little bit of a whirlwind for me."
Stevens made it a point to play up the positive exchange between the two. Their relationship will be one of the more publicized headlines throughout the offseason. Rondo has admitted he is a difficult player to coach at times. Throwing in a rookie coach to work with him could have some dramatics.
Stevens insisted that the point guard would be playing for Boston next season, regarding Rondo as "one of the best point guards in the league." Stevens is 36 with no NBA experience, making a good first impression on Rondo is going to be key to his success with the team.
The hiring of Stevens came as a surprise to some. The young coach will be looking to hire a few assistants with several years of experience to pair alongside him. It appears Stevens has one big fan, Doc Rivers. When asked about the Celtics' recent coaching hire, Rivers had nothing but kind words for his former team.
"I think the Celtics have done a hell of a job," Rivers said. "I'm a big Stevens fans, have always been. It's funny, I talked to him about a month ago about another NBA head coaching job where somebody else was thinking about hiring him and the GM from there called me to talk to Brad to get a feel if he wanted to coach in the NBA."
Stevens will certainly have his hands full with the Celtics this season as the team enters into a rebuilding year. With Rondo on his side, his job just became a lot easier.