Brad Stevens knows Shabazz Napier all too well. The Boston Celtics head coach was in charge of the Butler side that reached the National Championship final in 2011. It was Napier and Connecticut that they faced in that match and were ultimately defeated by.
Since Stevens left to join the big leagues Napier has added another ring to his collection, and Stevens hasn't forgotten about the point guard that played so well against them in that loss.
Napier grew up in Roxbury, Massachusetts and was a die-hard fan of the Celtics growing up. On Monday, he returned to Boston for a workout ahead of the NBA draft and his chance at the big time.
And according to Scott Souza of The MetroWest Daily News, Napier would love to play for the Celtics and it seems that Stevens and the Celtics replicate that feeling.
"#Celtics coach Brad Stevens: Shabazz Napier makes big shots when it matters. That's something that doesn't come across in wing-span measure." Souza reported on Twitter. He added "Shabazz Napier said he was asked why fans were crying when Pierce was hurt in 08 Finals: That's just Boston. They love their teams."
Napier made it just how clear he loves the side in his final comment: " bleed green ... It's Boston. This is the city of champions."
If ever there was a player that wanted to join a team then it would be Shabazz and the Celtics.
Napier led the Huskies in scoring with 18.0 points per game, he averaged 5.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists last season. He also recorded 1.8 steals per game and shot 42.9% from the field, 40.5% from beyond the arc and 87.0% from the free throw line.
Napier measured in at 6’1 and 175 lbs. with a wingspan of 6’3.25 at the NBA’s Scouting Combine. He is ranked as the 28th-best prospect in the draft according to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express.
Boston have two selections in the first round of the draft, but if we're going by Givony's ranking then using any of them on Napier would be a big reach. And seeing as they already boast the talents of All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo it seems like it would be a waste to take him with the 6th or 17th pick.
Napier may be dying to join his childhood team, but unless Stevens and co make significant trade moves it looks like his dream won't be coming true.