Boston Celtics drop temporary card, appoint head coach Joe Mazzulla
When Joe Mazzulla was announced as interim head coach of the Boston Celtics in September, many people do not know who this 34-year-old man is. But I did. Return 2008, he scored 13 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists in 31 minutes off the bench sent my Duke Blue Devils home in the 1950sthe second timethe end of the NCAA Tournament. Everyone knows who Mazzulla is now, as he will coach Team Giannis on Sunday at the 2023 NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City – making him the third first year coach since 2000 to join the big game weekend.
And to make things even better, on Thursday, the Celtics stripped him of his provisional card and officially made him their 19th head coach in franchise history. “As he has shown, Joe is a very talented coach and leader,” Brad Stevens, Executive President of Basketball said:. “He has a unique ability to rock the room around a quest. We are grateful for the work he has done to help us get to this point and are delighted that he has agreed to lead us into the future.”
The Celtics entered the All-Star break in first place in the Eastern Conference with a 42-17 record. At this time last season, under former head coach Ime Udoka, Boston in sixth place with a score of 34-26. They eventually caught on fire as they made it all the way to the NBA Finals before taking a 2-1 lead over the Golden State Warriors, the team that eventually won it all in six games.
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To fully understand why it’s surprising that Mazzulla does so well in his first season, you have to go back to what was going on when it was announced he was taking over – the pandemic. When ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that “Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is facing possible disciplinary action – including substantial suspension – for unspecified violations of the organization’s guidelines. Discussions are taking place in the Celtics about the final decision” in September, no one knew what that was because we had more questions than answers. What happened next was a Celtics public relations disaster that would be taught in universities for years, as rumors spread about who Udoka might be involved with while the aftermath about the family he turned a sports story into a soap opera of pop culture.
“There’s a lot going on,” Jaylen Brown said at the time.
“Really no one knows anything right now,” added smart Marcus.
Udoka is finally suspended for the entire 2022-23 season for violating group policy in an alleged “consensual relationship” with an employee of the group. No one knew what the Celtics would do with him after this season until Thursday’s announcement meant Udoka was officially made in Boston.
Things are currently going well in Boston under Mazzulla, as they get the chance to return to the NBA Finals and head into the weekend with two All-Stars on their rostercompare to one last seasonin Jayson Tatum and Brown.
“It’s one of the best dressing rooms I’ve ever been in,” Blake Griffin says, who joined the team this season and is less than a year younger than Mazzulla. “We have some really close teams in L.ONE., but this team is right there if not more. Everyone comes here with a purpose every day, everyone works really, really hard. Everyone really cares and enjoys seeing others succeed. We’ve managed to keep that up throughout this season, through the highs and the lows.”
A few months ago, no one knew what the Celtics would be like when we discovered that the dressing room chief was doing inappropriate things behind closed doors. A few months later, Joe Mazzulla is hoping to leave Utah with a win on Sunday and a return trip to the NBA Finals in June.