C's Have High Hopes for New Assistant Coach Evan Turner
BOSTON – During his two seasons playing in Boston from 2014-16, Evan Turner established a fantastic relationship with Celtics coach Brad Stevens, along with the entire basketball operations staff. So, when it came time to add another assistant coach to Boston’s bench this offseason, the front office didn’t have to search long to find the right man to bring in.
Turner, who retired earlier this week after playing 10 years in the league, will soon be joining the Celtics as an assistant coach, specializing in player development. The 32-year-old’s addition, Stevens believes, will be of great benefit for a youthful Celtics roster, which consists of eight players who will be entering either their first or second professional seasons.
“He's a special guy, and obviously a really good player at a lot of places,” Stevens said of Turner Friday afternoon. “He just loves to be around the game, and really loves to help people. He's got a real service-orientedness to him.”
The decision to bring Turner back on board is sitting well with many of his future pupils, including Jaylen Brown, who praised the Celtics for hiring the former jack-of-all-trades hooper.
“I thought that was a great move by the front office, having [someone] who played the game at a high level around, and [he] just finished playing,” said the 24-year-old wing. “I think having him around is an added benefit to this team. We can relate. He can relate to us. He knows what our minds are thinking. And having him in these coaches’ meetings is going to be important. So I think that was a great hire for the Celtics.”
Brown just barely missed having the opportunity to play with Turner, having been drafted by the Celtics just days before Turner’s departure for the Portland Trail Blazers. However, a couple of his teammates, including Marcus Smart and recently-signed point guard Jeff Teague, had the pleasure of having ET as a teammate.
In fact, Teague was one of the last people to play alongside Turner, having shared a backcourt with Turner last season in Atlanta. Their relationship goes back nearly 20 years, so Teague knows exactly what the Celtics should be getting out of Turner from a coaching standpoint.
“ET, that’s my guy, man,” said Teague, who happens to be the same age as Turner. “I’ve known ET since I was 13, so to see him being a coach is pretty weird right now, but he has a lot of insight on the game. Being a No. 2 pick and playing really well, being kind of like a Celtics folk hero – everybody loves him around here, everybody talks so highly of him here, and they should because he’s a really good guy, a funny guy.
“But I’m happy to see him being able to transition in his career to something that he really wants to do. He really wanted to coach, and I think he did enough in his playing career, playing 10 years in the NBA is pretty remarkable.”
Such experience should go a long way in shaping Turner’s career as a coach, from which the Celtics will look to benefit right off the bat.
“He's a team guy,” said Stevens, “and I think that all of our players will love having him around, and our younger players will benefit from his advice, his experience, and all that comes with that.”