There’s a new head coach in charge at the Garden. As of February 16th, the President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, confirmed that Joe Mazzulla will be the team's official head coach. He was to be signed as the head coach before the playoff run to clear the “cloud of uncertainty,” according to Brad Stevens, and establish clear leadership in the organization.
Mazzulla was originally hired in 2019 as an assistant coach. He was then promoted to interim head coach after Ime Udoka, the head coach for the past two years and the leader of the Celtics to their most recent NBA Finals trip, was suspended for the 2022-23 season due to a violation of multiple internal, unspecified team rules.
Joe Mazzulla isn’t new to coaching, especially within the Celtics organization. Before he was promoted, he was an assistant coach for the Celtics G-League team, the Maine Red Claws. He has easily acclimated to the position and is not backing down from showing the team who he is. "This is one of the best locker rooms I've ever been in," Mazzulla said. "It's very easy to be confident when you have the group of people and the character that we have and the group of players that we have.”
Mazzulla’s confidence to take the extremely successful Celtics to the playoffs is reassuring after a tough loss in the Finals to the Warriors last year. So far in the season as interim head coach, the Celtics are 42-17, putting them at number one in the Eastern Conference. It doesn’t look like they will cool down any time soon, with their only real competition being the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, and Cleveland Cavaliers.
The change in coaching from Udoka to Mazzulla has had no impact on the star players of the Celtics. Jayson Tatum is having an MVP-caliber season, averaging 30.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. Additionally, Jaylen Brown’s play-making works wonders with Tatum, averaging 26.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. For the icing on the cake, they have great defensive and support players like Marcus Smart who is averaging 1.4 steals and 7.1 rebounds per game. All in all, the Celtics players are efficiently winning games with a team net rating of 6.2. Simply put, they aren’t cooling off anytime soon, and a reason for that is the experienced Mazzulla leading the team to greatness.
All Celtics fans were disappointed about Ime Udoka and what happened within the organization. He brought the team around in 2022 from being a below .500 organization to second in the East and going to the NBA finals. Hopefully Joe Mazzulla can keep up the great work with the Celtics and continue to lead them for the foreseeable future.