BOSTON (CBS) -- Brad Stevens knew that when he made the jump from college to the NBA, he'd have to rely heavily on Danny Ainge's ability to build a winning roster.
Together, the duo has formed a great working relationship that they hopes brings Boston to the promised land in the very near future. While Ainge is the one who makes all the final decisions, he's always included Stevens in the discussions, something an NBA newcomer has always appreciated throughout his three years in the league.
"We have great leadership in our front office, and what's really cool about it is this is a place where we all trust each other to do our jobs to advance to good of the whole," Stevens told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Adam Kaufman. "Every day we walk in, there's a great vibe and great attitude towards improving."
It is well known that Stevens' door is always open for his players, and the line of communication between the head coach and man in charge of building the roster is just as strong.
"One thing about Danny is he's been great about running everything by me and taking into account my opinion on things. There have been a lot of things we haven't done because of that and some things we have done as a result," said Stevens. "I spend most of my time on our team and the X's and O's, but Danny has kept me involved in all of those."
Stevens said that all the changing parts the Celtics had his first year in Boston, the product of the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett swap with the Brooklyn Nets, made things a little complicated. It got even more wild his second season, when 22 different players donned a Celtics uniform. It got so crazy that Stevens resorted to writing numbers rather than initials on his dry erase board when drawing up plays. A guy can only learn so many new names on such a tight schedule, after all.
But it's been much smoother sailing since the All-Star break last season, after Ainge gave Stevens a stable roster to work with, not to mention the addition of Isaiah Thomas also helped quite a bit. And when it comes to identifying the players who are right for his system, Stevens and Ainge look for many of the same attributes.
"We share a lot of the same [feelings] and appreciate the same qualities in players. There haven't been many disagreements where we move forward. I appreciate the way he doesn't look at guys as a finished products at age 25 or 26," said the coach. "We're looking more at what a guy can bring to the table, how it fits us and how we can make it work. If it's not the right fit from a personality or basketball standpoint, then it's not, but we always start there. I appreciate that from Danny because it's the glass half full approach. It's obvious who the superstars are, and there are a lot of other people asked to play a role to help their teams be the best they can be. That's most of the league. [It's about] can we find guys that, for whatever reason, have been undervalued because maybe their role is a little different because of the way we would play them."
As for who he would like the team to take if they choose to keep the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, Stevens said he has a lot of homework to do before he singles out his preference. He's now three years removed from his six-year run at Butler, and admits that he isn't as up on the college game as he once was. His contacts and relationships with other collegiate coaches will help, but he's got a lot of film to watch before returning to Ainge with his preferences.
"I'm just starting to watch them more closely. Danny has given me a list of seven or eight guys to really look at. We have so many other guys coming in with other pick opportunities, and we'll see everyone come through. It'll be hard for a true sleeper to get by us. It's really a great opportunity with the number of picks we have, and where we are with that first pick," said Stevens.
Whether Ainge decides to make the selection or include it, and others, in a potential trade for a veteran, Stevens is confident he'll make the decision that is best for the organization.
"Whatever Danny and the front office decides, we'll have vetted out and communicated all of our options, but I really trust them," said Stevens. "My job is to coach whoever is here, and if that's means you're in enhancement mode with young players and helping them get them better, that's what it means. If that means your roster is full of veterans and people have figured out their niche in the league, and have smaller improvements to make but are established players, then that's what it is."
Listen to Adam Kaufman's full interview with Brad Stevens below. The Celtics head coach discusses what he learned in Boston's first-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Isaiah Thomas' impact on the team, and how he reacts to all the adulation he's received for his first three seasons with the Celtics:
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