Brad Stevens on Jordan Crawford

Stevens does a nice job of giving credit to Crawford for his start. Props to him for putting Crawford in a position to play to his strengths.

"Boston shocked the NBA landscape twice within a two-week period last summer, first dealing Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn, and then hiring Brad Stevens seemingly out of nowhere as Doc Rivers's replacement. No one seemed to even know Stevens was a candidate, or that the Celtics were interested. Boston broke the news itself, a rarity in the Twitter age, even though Butler University's website jumped the gun by a few minutes with a press announcement nobody noticed.

Stevens is already an improbable Coach of the Year candidate, having guided an allegedly tanking squad to the top of the Atlantic Division (don't laugh) behind a stingy defense thriving despite lacking any rim protection. Stevens spent some time with Grantland on Tuesday as the Celtics prepared for the Pierce/KG reunion in Brooklyn.

Was there a "Come to Jesus" talk with Jordan Crawford? Did you sit him down and tell him how he'd have to play in order to save and prolong his NBA career? There must have been a frank conversation.

I never had it.


It was more about talking collectively about: "What do we all do well?" And then thinking about what our teammates on the floor do well, and how we all can make them better at what they do. There are very few guys in the NBA who don't have things they don't do well. Some of the better players don't have very many, but everybody is here because they have a strength. So you just try to find your strengths and soar with them.

[Crawford] has done a good job of recognizing his strengths and recognizing his teammates' strengths.

There was really no conversation? Did he pipe up and tell you he could play this distributor role?

The only thing I wanted to make sure he knew from my standpoint was that it's a fresh start — that we believe in him. I had seen him be almost unstoppable in college [at Xavier], in a game I coached against him. I knew he was a tough shot-maker. The other thing I knew was, he's not scared of the moment. I watched him play us, but also watched him play Kansas State [in the 2010 tournament] from the front row, because we were gonna play the winner. And he made huge shots. And in the NCAA tournament, in that tense of an atmosphere, that takes a lot of guts.

I've been told to ask you to identify the funniest thing Crawford has said to you this season.

[Laughs.] He hasn't been a comedian! He's been pretty serious.

I didn't mean to say he hasn't been serious! He's just a funny dude.

He's received us really well. I can't think of anything funny that he's said — at least to me."

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