Celtics’ attention to detail on defense won’t change under Brad Stevens

Jared Sullinger Celtics
Celtics forward Jared Sullinger D’s up Tyson Chandler last season. Credit: Getty Images

NEWPORT, R.I. — After being around Brad Stevens for a bit, you get the impression that everything he does is calculated.

As far as he’s concerned, there’s a mathematical equation for everything. There’s a way to achieve perfection, no matter how many tries, or how long it takes. Call him particular. Call him a stickler. A nit-picker. A mad scientist pouring over film and statistics with his staff, searching for the right formulas.

His Celtics players have quickly become aware of the type of coach and staff they’re playing for – and they’re on board with it.

Playing on his sixth NBA team, Kris Humphries has seen a lot of coaches, but this C’s staff is unique to him.

“I love the fact that the coaching staff [pays] attention to detail,” Humphries said. “We’re doing a lot of drills that may seem like, ‘Ah, why are we doing this?’ But it’s important because it’s one or two plays in a game that decide the game usually at the end. If you have the fundamentals and you’re making the right plays, it’s important.


“This is probably in terms of coaching and stuff the most detailed I’ve been coached in terms of techniques on certain things. I think it’s great. I’m still refining my game and I think it’s great for the young guys too.”

The Celtics were known as a strong defensive team under Doc Rivers. With Kevin Garnett barking out orders on the defensive end, you could easily see it. Those two are gone, but the defense doesn’t look to take a hit – not if Stevens has anything to do with it.

“He wants to make sure we’re in the right spots, the right angles on defense,” Avery Bradley said of Stevens. “He wants you to do everything perfect. He drills it into our head. If we go through a play halfway, we’ll keep doing it, keep doing it, over and over again until we get it right.”

While Stevens’ coaching ways may seem new to the C’s, it’s business as usual for his assistant coach Ronald Nored, who played for Stevens for four seasons at Butler.

“That’s the first thing,” Nored recalled, “When I was a freshman in 2008 and we had our meeting, that was the deal, like we were going to be efficient and we’re going to be detailed in everything that we do. So no surprises about that.

“I think it’s like every little thing is like detailed and scripted to flow the way that he wants it to go.”

So maybe at first glance this Celtics team isn’t all that talented. But look a little closer – it’s all in the details.


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