Rondo's Intellect Piques Stevens' Interest
WALTHAM, Mass. – Usually it’s the player who’s excited to play for a new coach. Brad Stevens made it clear on Friday that in his case, it’s the other way around.
Stevens, who on Friday was introduced as the 17th head coach in Boston Celtics history, singled out one player during his introductory press conference. That player goes by the name of Rajon Rondo.
Although many outside of Boston’s locker room peg Rondo as a difficult personality to deal with, Stevens can’t wait to meet the guy. Boston’s new coach doesn’t care about the Rondo Rumors. He cares about what he knows, and that’s the fact that Rondo is an incredible basketball player.
“As far as Rondo, I will say this, there is no bigger fan of Rajon Rondo than me,” Stevens said. “I think the way he plays, his instincts, his ability to make other people better, he sees plays ahead of the play. He is an incredibly, incredibly talented person.”
Rondo’s greatest talent of all may be his intellect. The guy is pretty much a genius when it comes to the game of basketball. Anyone who has coached him or played with him will echo that sentiment. That may also be the attribute that allows Rondo and his new coach to click.
Stevens, as many have pointed out over the last two days, is a basketball nerd. He loves to study the game, and that’s something he and Rondo truly have in common.
“Everyone I’ve talked to has just raved about how intellectual he is and how great he is,” said Stevens, shortly after admitting that he has already spent time studying tape of his players. “I’m looking forward it. I’m looking forward to meeting him.”
Stevens is anxious to meet his All-Star point guard and kick-start a new relationship. As much as he loves basketball, Stevens tends to enjoy the social side of coaching more than anything.
“I love the relational side of making sure that everybody has a great experience and this is a really fulfilling experience,” he said. “Rondo and everybody else, I will be very focused on that.”
Boston’s new coach made it sound as if he got off to a great start in his relationship with Rondo. He gave Rondo a call on Thursday to introduce himself, and he began that discussion by praising the point guard’s unique abilities.
Here’s how Stevens summed up the discussion: “I told him exactly what I just said: I have so much respect for how he sees the basketball court, how he plays the game, his instinctual feel and his intelligence.”
Added Stevens, “I’m looking forward to sitting down and learning from him.”
Make no mistake about it: this is genuine excitement. Brad Stevens can't wait to get to work with Rajon Rondo.