The Boston Celtics summer league team practices started on Saturday, a crucial step in identifying young talent in what will be a much-scrutinized rebuilding year for a team that made it to the Finals twice from 2008 to 2010. Summer league play gives young players a chance to bone up on NBA rules, acquaint themselves with NBA talent, and allows for a huge scouting opportunity for a team’s staff.
New Celtics coach Brad Stevens badly needs help in all those areas. It’s not that he doesn’t know the game inside-out, he does, but he has to get used to important NBA coaching factors, right down to when you can and can’t call a timeout. All that, plus the 400-some players he has to learn the traits of, all by October.
So what is Stevens doing on Saturday? Leading a parade, half a country away. Lazybones.
Stevens refused to renege on his promise to Stan Howard, father of his former player Matt Howard, and will be one of the featured guests in a Bicentennial parade in Connersville, IN. From the Indianapolis Star:
After this week’s events, Howard naturally assumed Stevens wouldn’t be able to make it. Stevens accepted the Celtics coaching job Wednesday and flew to Boston on Thursday for Friday’s introductory press conference. The parade is Saturday in Connersville.
On top of that, Stevens will head to Orlando this weekend for the start of the NBA Summer League. To say he’s busy wouldn’t do justice.
But Thursday, as the Howard clan gathered to celebrate Independence Day, Stan got word from Matt that Stevens would be there.
“He’s going to honor his commitment,” Matt told his father.
“There’s one side of me that was like, there’s no possible way he’ll be able to make it,” Stan said. “But there’s another side, the side that knows Brad Stevens. If you’re loyal to him, he is loyal to you. Part of me just said, ‘That dude’s going to find a way to get here!’
That’s fantastic. All we can ask for is clear skies, Indiana.
Stan Howard went on to say that the residents of Connersville will be “pretty pumped” to see the former Butler head coach in a slow-moving car, and while this won’t serve as the perfect sendoff from the state of Indiana to the new Boston Celtics coach, at the very least it’ll be one last relaxing Saturday before Stevens takes to that six-year, $22 million contract and the daunting task of rebuilding one of professional sports more storied franchises.
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