Will the Boston Celtics retain Joe Mazzulla as their head coach for the next NBA season?
Though there was immediate speculation about his job security, the franchise has now made it clear that they are backing their head coach and that is that.
Considering the manner in which the Boston Celtics exited the playoffs - they went to 7 games with the Miami Heat - there were always going to be questions asked about the future of the head coach of the highly favored team. Now it seems the speculation can end.
Celtics are sticking with Joe Mazzulla
According to the comments of Boston Celtics general manager, Brad Stevens, there is no need to speculate about whether or not Joe Mazzulla will be returning as the team’s head coach. Indeed, speaking with the press on Thursday, Stevens made it clear that the franchise believes Mazzulla is the man for the job. “Yeah, I think he is [the best head coach for this team],” Stevens said of Mazzulla. “I thought he did a really good job with this group. Everybody’s going to overreact to the best players and coaches after every game. That’s always the way it is. We know that going in, so we have to be able to judge things on the whole.”
You may recall, that Mazzulla took over as head coach of the Celtics quite suddenly and more importantly, with no prior experience. His appointment came on the back of the team’s decision to suspend former head coach, Ime Udoka, just before the season started, a suspension that later turned into a parting of company. To be clear, Mazzulla is now the youngest coach in the NBA and as you can imagine, has had to adapt on the go while holding the reins of a team was one of the favorites to clinch the title. This is to say, we can assume that Mazzulla passed the test. “I think when you consider the position he was thrust into and the overall accomplishments of the group, I thought he did a really good job,” Stevens said. “I mean, when you look at it, in the big picture, and having a team that was second in offense, second in defense, won 57 games and has a chance to go to the NBA Finals on your home court, you know, there’s a lot of direction and organization that goes into that. I thought that he did a good job.”
It’s about leadership when it comes to Joe Mazzulla
While there was undoubtedly disappointment in the way the season ended for Boston, it’s interesting to note Stevens’ specific comments about Mazzulla’s ability to lead, while maintaining a willingness to learn. Truth be told, Stevens cited those as the two main factors as to why the franchise has no problems continuing with Mazzulla.
“He’s a terrific leader, he’ll only get better at anything that he can learn from this year, because he’s constantly trying to learn. And he’s accountable,” Stevens said. “Those leadership qualities are hard to find. I know they’re easy to talk about, but when you can show all those through the expectations and the microscope that he was under, that’s hard to do... Our players, our staff, everybody around him believe(s) in him, and we’ve got to do our best to support him going forward.” Ultimately, while we could criticize Mazzulla for various things in his first season, the reality is he came into a situation that was ‘sink or swim’ and he did more than survive, he led his team to the Conference Finals. Keep an eye on him and Boston.