NBA players taking notice of Brad Stevens

It’s no secret that Brad Stevens has impressed as an NBA head coach in such a short amount of time. The Zionsville, Indiana native quietly moved on from Butler in 2013 to become the lead guy for the famed Boston Celtics.

Despite not having a great roster to work with, he still manages to wow basketball fans with his out-of-timeout play calls, the way his team plays together, and for getting the most out of his players.

Jared Dudley, who’ll play his ninth NBA season this upcoming year in D.C. after being traded to the Wizards, is very thoughtful and candid when speaking to the media. On Zach Lowe’s ‘The Lowe Post’ podcast — which is a must-listen for NBA fans — Stevens’ name was brought up.

Stevens led the Celtics to the 7th seed in the East last year — just his second season as an NBA head coach.

Stevens led the Celtics to the 7th seed in the East last year — just his second season as an NBA head coach.

“…Besides Pop — who I’ve been hearing great things [about] is Brad Stevens. That’s the buzz going around the league right now,” Dudley said.

The whole discussion got started when the two touched on the inaugural National Basketball Players Association awards in Las Vegas recently. San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich was voted ‘Coach you most want to play for.’

[Click here to listen to the podcast. The conversation on Brad Stevens begins at 42:35]

Lowe: “Really? That’s actually going (around)? The Celtics are counting on that going around the league. So who do you hear that from? Do you hear that from Celtics players?”

Dudley: “Players. Ex-players. I played with Jerryd Bayless, who played with him. Just some guys that have played with him.

“Obviously back then he was a rookie coach, but he was coaching like a vet. He knew when to give rest to guys, not to be in practice too long; his Xs and Os; his confidence he instilled in players; he was playing a lot of different guys. He just knew it.

“Some people just get it at a young age, as you saw with [Steve] Kerr. He had a great team but Kerr got it. He knew when to make little adjustments. Brad Stevens — I keep hearing the buzz on him a lot. He’d definitely be in my top two or three (coaches to play for).”

Lowe then asked Dudley how big of factor a coach can play in a player’s free-agent decision.

“It depends how much how money you’ve made,” he said. “For me personally, it’d be the money first. I’m not going to anyone and say that.

“But yes, the coach does matter if the money’s close. The reason why it does (matter) is because that coach could end up making you more money. I want a coach that is not afraid of the politics, a la [Golden State’s] Draymond Green is going to play over David Lee with the money situation. Some coaches would say, ‘No, he has to play.’ You play the best player. That’s basically how it is. You got to play him.

One-time Pacers guard Evan Turner shared high praise for Stevens during our chat when the Celtics were last in town (in March).

“He’s a very great play-caller,” Turner said. “His attention to detail is great. He’s also a positive guy and has a bigger-picture mentality. He’s very patient and wants to see things through. Obviously that’s two great characteristics.”

This upcoming season will be the third for Stevens, who’s just 38 years old.

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