Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Friday, the morning after the 2022 NBA Draft. Listen to the podcast above for the full interview, as part of the final hour of Friday’s show.
Stevens seems like he’s settled in to his role as President of Basketball Ops – meaning he’s not about to jump ship to another team. The Utah Jazz, whom Danny Ainge recently came out of “retirement” to join as CEO, parted ways with head coach Quin Snyder earlier this month. Naturally, that leads to throwing the “Ainge-Stevens reunion” poop against the proverbial wall. But Stevens says don’t believe the rumors. Might want to keep throwing them out there, though, because Stevens seems amused by them.
“I will say this, the one thing that I hope that I’ve been over the course of time [is] I keep my circle pretty tight,” Stevens said. “And so, I would say that [the media’s] rumors over the years, I would say, have been probably not all that right. I’ve basically worked at two places for the last 24 years.
“My intent is to do this job [with the Celtics] as well and as hard as I can. I’m really enjoying it.”
Jan 25, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens (right) watches warm-ups with player development staff member Steve Tchiengang before their game against the Sacramento Kings at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Stevens did comment on Ainge and the Jazz’ head coach opening. Stevens knows for a fact that Ainge is hard at work talking to candidates – and that he is not one of those candidates. He also noted that Ainge was good at keeping their conversations private, which helped block outside noise while he was still coaching at Butler.
Either way, Stevens confirmed to T&R that he’s certainly not going to be coaching the Jazz next season.
“When Danny and I talked about coming to Boston, we talked for nine days, and one of the things that I loved about it was nobody ever knew,” Stevens said. “It was one of those things that I trusted him from that. There’s a confidentiality factor, especially when you’re coaching in college. You can really be impacted if you’re constantly in rumors and constantly swirling around, being asked questions about recruiting and all that stuff. I always appreciated that [confidentiality] about Danny.
“I can tell you for sure – because he’s talking to several people that I know well as part of his interview process – that I am not part of it, and I hope one of my connections gets the opportunity to be the head coach there.”
L-R: Utah Jazz alternate governor and CEO Danny Ainge; Celtics President of Basketball Ops Brad Stevens. (Credits: Tim Bradbury/Andy Lyons, Getty Images)
Stevens had a funny reaction late in the call, as the discussion turned toward reflecting on his first year leading Boston’s front office after leaving the head coaching post. Rich mentioned at one point that the Celtics “have a good coach now,” referring to Ime Udoka – Stevens’ replacement for himself. He certainly didn’t mean that to take a shot, but Stevens took it in stride.
“Finally!” joked the former C’s head coach. “We’ve been looking for eight years, we finally got one.”
Stevens also reacted to the NBA Draft, in which the C’s selected Alabama guard J.D. Davison in the second round.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celtics draft guard JD Davison with 53rd pick in 2022 NBA Draft
It wasn’t until after midnight that the Celtics got on the clock in the 2022 NBA Draft. When their turn came with the 53rd overall pick, the team took guard JD Davison out of Alabama.
This time last year, Davison was a five-star recruit, ranked the 15th best player in his class and the best player from the state of Alabama. He played mainly as a reserve in his freshman year for the Tide, averaging 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and a steal in 25.8 minutes per game. Davison elected to enter the draft after his lone college season.
At just 19 years old, Davison’s game is still relatively raw. He’s 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, and is at his best in the fast break and driving to the basket. His athleticism is his standout trait right now, although he has shown some progress as a jump shooter (he shot 33 percent on mid-range jumpers last year, and 30.1 percent from three).
Following the pick, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens discussed the pick. “Very young, very explosive, that’s pretty obvious,” Stevens said about Davison. “Has the ability to get inside the paint and make plays and has some things he’ll have to improve on, but he’s a good competitor.”
In college Davison mainly played point guard – a position of depth for the Celtics with Marcus Smart, Derrick White, and Payton Pritchard all under contract for multiple years. However, he projects as a combo guard who could play more off the ball in the NBA.
Davison was the Celtics’ lone pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. They traded their first round pick to San Antonio in the Derrick White deal at the trade deadline. San Antonio used that pick – 25th overall – to take Notre Dame guard Blake Wesley.
For Celtics fans, they’ll only have to wait a couple of weeks for their first look at Davison in green and white. The team’s Summer League schedule begins on July 9.