WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens, removed from the relentless grind of his first 82-game NBA season, seemed relaxed as he met with reporters following the team's latest pre-draft workouts on Wednesday. Stevens remains busy, aiding with individual workouts for veteran players that visit the team's facility each morning, then leading the team's pre-draft workouts as hopefuls audition for team brass.
There simply seems to be something therapeutic for Stevens about the offseason process.
"This has been a fun month," said Stevens. "We’ve got, as you can see, a couple of our younger guys that are around still. We’re getting in the gym with them in the early morning and just working out individually as a small group, and then these [draft prospects] come in later in the morning. It’s fun to be back in the gym like that and to spend time with them."
Stevens noted how veterans like Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger have been familiar presences at the team's morning workouts, while many of the Celtics' youngest players have stuck around the region for additional work (the likes of Chris Johnson, Chris Babb, Avery Bradley, Phil Pressey, and Brandon Bass have all been spotted here at various times). Stevens gets to spend breakfast working with some of the core members of the team's future, then auditions those draft prospects that might also aid the rebuilding process during lunch.
"The thing I like best is being in the gym and working on getting better and working on building your team and those types of things," said Stevens. "It’s fun, because you’ve got the guys that are back in in the early morning and then you come and you see some guys that may be part of your organization moving forward -- or at least you’re evaluating that. It feels like a really high-level camp in the morning for me."
Stevens said he'll throttle down a bit next month, including allowing assistant coach Jay Larranaga to coach the team's summer squad in Orlando. But while many NBA coaches leave the offseason workouts and draft auditions to their staffs, it's been important for Stevens to be part of that evaluation and development process.
"I think as much as anything, I want to be really involved," said Stevens. "And I’ll probably take a step back at some point, but when I’m working with our own guys, it’s great to get out there because you only get so much time. And then when you’re working with [the draft] guys, just seeing how they respond to you, see how they take to coaching, see how quickly they pick things up. That stuff all plays a role. It’s easier to get a feel for that when you’re standing on the court and directing then when you’re watching from the perch."