Coaching the Boston Celtics could be a much tougher challenge for Brad Stevens than coaching Butler basketball.
Coaching the Boston Celtics could be a much tougher challenge for Brad Stevens than coaching Butler basketball. (Associated Press)

Brad Stevens is going from a mid-major to the major leagues.

There is no debate within basketball that he can coach, having taken Butler to consecutive NCAA championship games with players who schools such as Kentucky and Kansas weren't exactly lining up to sign.

But coaching in college has hardly ever guaranteed success in the NBA, definitely not lately and certainly not with the type of situation Stevens will be walking into in Boston.

The Celtics are going to be young -- younger even than the boyish-looking Stevens -- and not expected to be competitive. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will be gone, it's unknown when or even if Rajon Rondo will be back, and even a playoff berth might be out of reach for a franchise that had grown used to competing for championships again.

Success at a school such as Butler was easy to judge. If Stevens won 20 games, got the Bulldogs into the NCAA tournament and knocked off a school from a power conference, that was considered a great year.

But in the NBA, where multiple, established coaches just led teams to their best seasons ever and still lost their jobs, Stevens will have to prove he's more than just a guy who can oversee some big upsets.

The Celtics believe he is.

"Brad and I share a lot of the same values," president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement.

Las Vegas certainly wasn't swayed. The Celtics' odds to win a championship remained at 100 to 1, the same as before Stevens was hired, according to the gambling website