So when the Boston Celtics – the team Turner played for from 2014-16 – called and offered an assistant coaching job, Evan couldn’t resist.
“I always wanted to have an opportunity to coach and try to figure out if I wanted to do front office or something like that,” Turner said Tuesday. “When the Celtics came with the opportunity, I thought that was the best situation for me.”
Evan Turner On Joining Brad Stevens’ Coaching Staff: ‘It’s A Super Duper Internship In A City I Like, A Lot’
Turner was ecstatic to be under the tutelage of his former head coach Brad Stevens once again; this time as Brad’s assistant.
“It’s a super duper internship in a city I like, a lot, and to learn under Brad that was just a no-brainer, honestly,” Turner said. “I jumped on it and I took it. I got started work about a week ago and it’s going pretty well besides the little misstep in the preseason – it’s been fun.”
For Evan, learning from Stevens doesn’t get old.
“I trust the hell out of Brad,” Turner said. “When it came to trusting and leaving things up in the air with basketball – I left, and my last situation wasn’t ideal. Trusting Brad to guide me and learn from him, it was an easy situation and transition. I thought it was the best situation for me, that’s what I was looking forward to. He’s given me space to learn and the comfort level to learn, as well and make mistakes.”
Marcus Smart On Evan Turner: ‘We Have A Coach Who Understands The Players Even More Because He Was A Player’
There are perks that come with being a former NBA player-turned-coach. Turner believes players respect former pros, even if it wasn’t Evan calling the shots.
“I think it’s super beneficial,” Turner said. “I guess everybody likes comfort and familiarity and if I wasn’t Evan, (if) I was another retired player, I think those guys would be comfortable and feel very excited in a sense to really learn from another coach who played in the NBA. I’m not looking at it as I’m a coach or whatever, I’m a human, they’re humans and you try and find the right type of ground to get through to them.
“It takes time for me to earn their respect and make sure I’m speaking right and being accountable so I can have the room to hold them accountable.”
Marcus Smart, who for two seasons shared the Celtics backcourt alongside Turner, believes his new assistant coach will be very important this season.
“We have a coach who understands the players even more because he was a player himself not too long ago,” Smart said. “To have that voice in the locker room, where tensions are going to be high and competitive natures are going to be high, to just have that guy on the coaching staff that when everything is really hard or really just locked in, the time of need where you just need that relief to kind of decompress, to have a guy like that who understands it and knows the right time to bring it is something that’s going to be important.”