NEWARK, Del. -- A New Englander, Sixers head coach Brett Brown grew up following all the Boston pro teams. Though he liked the Knicks’ teams from the 1970s with Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier and the Sixers’ clubs with Dr. J, Andrew Toney and Doug Collins, the Celtics were the team to watch in Southern Maine.
“With my background, you couldn't help but not feel different,” Brown said.
And like the Sixers, the Celtics have broken up the veteran pieces from the team and gone into a massive rebuilding mode. That includes hiring new coaches. Perhaps the most surprising ire of the offseason was when the Celtics lured 37-year-old Brad Stevens away from Butler University to coach the team.
It was a big-time coup for the Celtics, Brown says, and not just because Stevens was able to take tiny Butler to two straight NCAA Championship games. Stevens’ coaching style might be a perfect fit for the NBA, the Sixers’ coach says.
“I think it was a great hire,” Brown said. “I think it was a gutsy, clever hire. You understand it -- it’s not so much his success at Butler as it is his offense. His offense could translate to the NBA easily. It was a gutsy, clever hire.”
Stevens will have his work cut out for him. Like the Sixers, the Celtics are loaded with young players. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were dealt to Brooklyn and point guard Rajon Rondo is still recovering from a torn ACL. Expect both teams to take their lumps this year.