“It couldn’t get any better than this” is what Walter McCarty had to say when he was hired by Brad Stevens to be a part of the Boston Celtics coaching staff. He is right; what better than coming back to the organization that made you prosper in your NBA career and where fans fell deeply in love with you? Only a head coaching job could have been better than this.
The important thing is, though, that it can’t get any better than this for the Celtics either. McCarty was a great hire for all that he brings to the bench, and the pairing with the Celtics is nearly perfect.
As a rookie head coach Brad Stevens needed someone who could understand the players. Nobody better than McCarty. “I can think as player at sometimes. When I was a player this is what I thought and I can be pretty sure that’s what they’re thinking right now,” McCarty said in his first media availability since the hiring. “I have a lot to offer. I’ve played in this league, I know what the wear and tear is.” Waltah will be essential for the coaching staff’s relationship with the players. Credibility has to go from both sides, it has to be mutual. If everyone will trust what each other is saying, everyone will need to know why each other is trustable. “More of my experience as a player and a coach had more to do with [the hiring].”
Rick Pitino, who coached McCarty at Kentucky, had a lot of good things to say about the newest Celtics hire. “Every time we would walk out of that locker room so confident, so Walter, he’s the emotional leader of our team,” Pitino said. “Walter’s the type of guy who never had a bad day and every day is an upbeat day, and he’ll come with a smile on his face. He’ll be great for Brad because when they leave the locker room and you’re in a tough stretch and things aren’t going so well, Walt will say, ‘Hey, keep your heads up, stay upbeat, stay positive,’ and he’ll get them to understand that the NBA is a great life and be appreciative of it.”
It sounds like he won’t only be a guy who gets the players, but one who motivates them too. Motivation will be much needed next season. There will be tough stretches, losing streaks, the media will bury each and every member of the organization, but they will all have to live with it. From what Pitino, who was just named to the Hall Of Fame, has to say, Walter McCarty will play a huge role in this department next season and beyond.
It’s good that McCarty really appreciates Rick Pitino, too. The two coaches have the utmost respect for each other. Waltah says he owes a whole lot to Pitino who not only coached him but gave him an assistant position once too. “I wanted to know how he creates the magic. I wanted to know everything. I just really appreciate it. It was just awesome. I saw him as a human being. I saw him enjoying life instead of being a drill sergeant.” While under Pitino’s wing, McCarty learned most of what he would use in his coaching career, and what he will definitely use here in Boston. “I definitely wouldn’t be coaching without him. If I didn’t go to Kentucky, I don’t think I would have learned how to prepare and work hard. Everything I learned, I learned from him. I know I wouldn’t be sitting here where I am now if it weren’t for him. He worked so hard for our dreams to come through to be professional basketball players and to provide for our family. If it weren’t for him, I doubt I would be nearly as successful as I am today,” McCarty said in an interview with ESPN.
The essential relationship Walter will develop will definitely be the one with Stevens. The communication between the two –and the rest of the assistant coaches– will be key for how the new process is established. There can’t be any conflicts of interest on the bench, everyone has to be on the same page. That’s why what McCarty had to say about Stevens is extremely encouraging. “He’s always been a brilliant mind. Best thing I love about him is his humble. He wants to continue to learn every day.”
In the end, fans never really think a lot about who is on the bench with a suit on. We care about those with sweatshirts on. The truth is, though, that everyone on the bench is extremely important for the team. Every single person sitting there, being in the first, second, or third row, has a role with the team. What will need to happen for a successful start to the process is the creation of a “healthy” working environment. People will want to look forward to work and they will want to be sitting there every single second of the entire season.
Brad Stevens will be at the helm. “He wants to make sure everyone is comfortable with what we’re doing,” McCarty said. That bench should have an interesting season coming up.