Celtics lead assistant Ron Adams, who held the same title in Chicago until his dismissal over the summer, made his return to the United Center for Thursday night’s 94-82 Bulls’ win over Boston.
Adams was controversially dismissed last summer by Bulls general manager Gar Forman in a move characterized by observers as furthering the supposed rift between Forman and Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. It should be noted, however, that Adams previously worked for the Bulls under former head coach Scott Skiles, going on to coach in Oklahoma City before returning when Thibodeau, a longtime friend took the job in Chicago.
Regardless of the circumstances, Adams is highly regarded around the league and has drawn praise from Stevens in his debut campaign as an NBA head coach.
“He’s been a longtime friend of mine and he’s been great. When I hired him, he kind of characterized himself as my ‘editor,’ and I thought that was a really good phrase and I’ve found it to be really true,” Stevens explained. “What would work, what wouldn’t work. ‘Yeah, why not try this? This might work,’ and so, it’s been great to have him around. He’s one of those guys in coaching where he’s been doing it a long time. He’s got so many experiences and he’s only doing it to help us all grow, and get better, both staff and players.”
While in his previous position as the highly successful head coach at Butler University, Stevens became acquainted with Adams, whose daughter matriculated at the college. Stevens also got to know Thibodeau, a former Celtics assistant. Thibodeau not only had kind words for Stevens, but related to the rookie NBA head coach, in terms of being fortunate to have Adams’ guidance in his first season at the professional level.
“[Adams is] a great, a great assistant. Great coach, period,” Thibodeau said. “I think Brad has really studied the pro game for a long time. I know he came by a few times to visit with Ron when Ron was here and obviously his record speaks for itself at the college level, and I think he’s done a terrific job with the Celtics. The way he approaches things, he’s very strong on both sides of the ball. I think he understands leadership, understands communication, he understand how to teach and that’s what coaching is.”
Similar to his situation in Chicago, where he was integral in the development of former league MVP Derrick Rose, Adams once again is working with one of the NBA’s elite floor generals, Celtics’ All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo. Rondo, who is in the final stages of recovering from an ACL injury suffered last January, also had high praise for Adams’ basketball mind, comparing him to Thibodeau, who was a Boston assistant coach during the Celtics’ last championship.
“They’re very thorough and detailed in their scouting reports, which you need as a coach,” Rondo said. “They know their stuff and it’s pretty much similar to what Thibs did a couple years back when he was with the Celtics, so I’m very fortunate to have Ron on the staff.”