It was first reported on NBC Sports that the Celtics would try to return to the Finals with interim head coach Joe Mazzulla. Bayarea
Joe Mazzulla, the lone survivor of Brad Stevens’ on-the-bench coaching staff, was heavily relied upon by Ime Udoka, the newly hired Celtics coach, to hold down the fort while he traveled to Tokyo for the 2021 Olympics.
With his familiarity with the team’s nucleus and his experience coaching Boston’s summer entry that year, Mazzulla helped the team’s transition to a new coach.
The Celtics will once more rely on Mazzulla because Udoka might now be suspended for the entirety of the 2022–2023 NBA season. In Udoka’s absence due to team policy violations, according to a report on ESPN on Thursday, Mazzulla will act as interim coach.
Before Utah signed fellow Celtics assistant Will Hardy for the position, the 34-year-old Mazzulla conducted an interview for the Jazz opening in June. This season, Mazzulla was anticipated to advance to one of Udoka’s senior coaches, but he will now be given the driving privileges for the coaching staff.
During Boston’s journey to the Finals, Udoka extolled Mazzulla.
“When I was hired, I spoke with everyone of the staff, including the players, and [Mazzulla] received nothing but positive feedback. Going into it, I knew very little about him. I place a huge emphasis on the opinions of the players, Udoka remarked in June. He was a man about whom “yes” was generally agreed. They all closely collaborated with this individual, shared his values, and were aware of his potential.
“I believe that once I met with him and Tony Dobbins, Evan Bradds, and other of the guys we kept, conversations were quite simple to understand why. He managed things while I was away in Tokyo by coaching summer league, like all young guys do. He fit in well with the importance of relationships and value that I placed on my coaching staff.
It’s one thing to keep things running smoothly when Udoka is away or to carry out training when Udoka was on protocol before to the season. Being thrust into the fire only days before the start of training camp while leading a team that has just made it to the Finals is one thing.
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