The Celtics are beginning a brand new period forward of the 2021 NBA offseason. Long-time GM Danny Ainge retired and coach Brad Stevens is changing him in the entrance workplace.
That, in fact, implies that Boston is going to wish a brand new coach. The job ought to be a beautiful one contemplating that the workforce has high-end younger skills together with All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. As such, the workforce ought to be capable of appeal to a few of the finest and brightest obtainable coaches.
One of these choices could possibly be Kara Lawson. According to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, Lawson is a “prime candidate” to look at in the Celtics’ teaching search. The former WNBA star does not have plenty of teaching expertise, however she has been concerned with the Boston group and appears to have a superb relationship with Brad Stevens.
But how did Lawson get up to now so rapidly after her enjoying profession got here to an finish? And will she have an opportunity to be the NBA’s first feminine coach? Let’s have a look.
Who is Kara Lawson?
Lawson has lengthy been concerned with skilled basketball. She got here into the WNBA throughout the 2003 WNBA Draft after a four-year faculty profession at Tennessee. She performed 13 WNBA seasons and averaged 9.5 factors, 2.6 rebounds and a pair of.5 assists per sport whereas enjoying for the Monarchs, Sun and Mystics. She additionally made the All-Star Game as soon as and was an Olympic champion throughout her enjoying days.
While she was nonetheless enjoying, Lawson began a broadcast profession and have become the first lady to function a broadcast analyst for an NBA sport. That got here throughout a Wizards vs. Hornets sport on Jan. 12, 2007. Two years after her retirement from the WNBA in 2015, she grew to become the lead analyst on the Wizards broadcast and remained in that position earlier than she received into teaching.
Lawson received her begin with the Celtics and served as an assistant throughout the 2019-20 season. She developed a terrific relationship with the gamers on the workforce and as Weiss wrote, she was “missed greatly” after her departure.
And why did Lawson go away the Celtics? She received a possibility to function the coach of the Duke girls’s basketball workforce. Her first season was minimize brief because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however the Blue Devils posted a 3-1 file in the 4 video games they performed earlier than opting to cancel the remainder of their season.
Kara Lawson’s tenure with the Celtics
Lawson was a part of a Celtics employees that posted a 43-21 file and reached the Eastern Conference Finals regardless of enjoying in “The Bubble.” She did not coach in The Bubble, as she had already left for Duke, however her footprint was clearly on that squad.
As talked about, Lawson was beloved by the gamers and helped plenty of them to enhance. Notably, she labored with Marcus Smart to assist him enhance his taking pictures potential.
“She became more than just my shooting coach, she became a longtime friend and somebody I know I can talk to if I ever need advice,” Smart said after Lawson was announced as Duke’s next coach, per NBC Sports Boston.
During Lawson’s tenure, Smart shot 34.7 percent from beyond the arc, the second-highest mark of his career, while attempting a career-high 6.6 shots from 3-point range per game.
Beyond her work with Smart, Lawson left a lasting impression on Celtics players with her ability to connect with players.
“Kara is all the time recognized for placing a smile on gamers’ faces,” middle Robert Williams stated after Lawson joined Duke, per Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston. “She stays in your ear, despite the fact that she will not be your private coach she all the time retains asking how I’m doing and if there’s something I would like to speak about, so I really feel like Duke is going to get an awesome head coach. We’re going to overlook her. We don’t desire her to go, however it’s on to larger and higher alternatives.”
Her performance, familiarity with Boston and well-regarded status among the team’s players are part of why former Celtic-turned-broadcast-analyst Brian Scalabrine thinks that Lawson may be the right woman for the job.
“I feel they will rent Kara Lawson,” Scalabrine said. “I do know the group thinks she’s unbelievable. I do know the gamers respect her. When she went right down to Duke to coach the girls’s workforce there — I imply, I’m simply placing A + B = C to me. I feel they rent Kara Lawson. …
“She’s insanely good as a coach,” he added. “It’s not one of those things where ‘she’s good for a female.’ No, she walked into practice and she commanded practice right from the jump. She was giving people tips and people’s jaws were dropping. She’s elite at what she does. … I thought she was head coaching material within five minutes talking with her.”
.@Scalabrine explains why he thinks Kara Lawson is the finest candidate for the Celtics’ new head coach:
“She’s elite at what she does…I thought she was head coaching material after just five minutes talking with her.” pic.twitter.com/uOqYb7tnFQ
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) June 2, 2021
Brad Stevens is ‘a mentor’ to Kara Lawson
Does Brad Stevens share Scalabrine’s opinion that Lawson is “elite” and able to be an NBA head coach after simply two years of expertise? That’s what is going to finally matter throughout the hiring course of.
Stevens made the determination to focus on Lawson as a member of his employees and was capable of lure her out of the Wizards sales space to start her teaching profession. Shortly after she got here aboard, Stevens spoke properly of her throughout her first NBA Summer League expertise.
“She is as sharp as they come,” Stevens stated, per KnoxNews.com. “so we’re excited to have her on board. She’s really excited to get going. … Thank goodness she’s on our staff. I think she’ll do a great, great job for us.”
Later that season on International Women’s Day (March 8) in 2020, Stevens was requested his opinion of Lawson. And he continued to talk properly of his then-assistant.
“I think the world of Kara,” Stevens said. “She’s a special coach. You could always kind of see that when she was playing and you could hear it when she was calling games, but to get a chance to live it every day, she’s as good as there is. She’s really, really good.”
And despite the fact that Lawson left the workforce after the 2020 season, the two nonetheless be in contact.
“He’s still a great mentor for me—I talk to him weekly,” Lawson stated in a press convention final summer time, per the Duke Chronicle.
It actually appears that the two have a superb relationship and Stevens thinks extremely of Lawson. That ought to no less than put her on the radar as a possible choice, particularly if the workforce is trying to usher in somebody who is already conversant in the roster.
Lawson and present assistant Jay Larranaga would characterize the finest choices if Stevens desires some continuity and chemistry at the head coach spot. That might assist preserve issues operating easily as he transitions into the entrance workplace.