2022 Boston Celtics media day had a surprisingly upbeat vibe despite the fact that less than a week ago, the team suspended Ime Udoka for his role in an intimate relationship with a female member of the franchise’s staff.
With Udoka gone, the team would have likely given the interim role to his top assistant Will Hardy had he not moved on to become the head coach of the Utah Jazz — given Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens’ reluctance to take the role himself.
Without Hardy on the staff still, Joe Mazzulla was the next man in line. Stevens has blessed Mazzulla as the interim head coach given his problematic past, but there are obviously questions Cs fans may still have lingering.
Malcolm Brogdon, the team’s marquee acquisition of the offseason, spoke highly of the 2022-23 Boston Celtics head coach during media day. He also revealed what Mazzulla’s biggest strength as a coach is (h/t MassLive’s Brian Robb):
"“He’s honestly an incredibly impressive guy. Joe I think is only 34 years old, but he’s incredibly disciplined. So he’s a guy that’s paying attention to everything. He’s a guy that’s incredibly locked in and intelligent. I’ve heard from the players’ perspective, they love him. His ability to put together scouts, I heard against Miami and against a few teams last year in the playoffs, were brilliant. He’s gotten that reputation around the league as well as I’ve talked to people. So I think he’s a guy that’s ready for this opportunity and is gonna grab it.”"
Malcolm Brogdon calls the Boston Celtics backcourt the best in the league
During Boston Celtics media day, Malcolm Brogdon revealed that he had the chance to choose his destination. The 2016-17 Rookie of the Year had an answer to why he chose the Cs was music to Celtics fans’ ears:
"“I picked Boston because I want to win. It doesn’t matter if I’m the sixth man, whatever role I’m playing. I’m going to accept it and I’m going to go out there and embrace it. I want to add on to what this team has.”"
Even more exciting than being willing to accept any role was his confidence in the backcourt — one that includes himself and Marcus Smart starting because of Robert Williams’ injury that will keep ‘The Timelord’ out of the lineup for the next two months:
"“I think we be the best defensive backcourt in the league for sure. Offensively, I think we can be great. Our job as a backcourt is to make it easier for (the Jays) to defend when they need to focus on offense and be great defensively and support them offensively.”"
Not all members of the Boston Celtics backcourt are expected to be on the roster come 2023 opening night. Brogdon is currently on an expiring contract, making him the least likely to stick. Still, this confidence is contagious. Perhaps Joe Mazzulla will have this team humming all season, unlike last season when the team climbed from a huge hole after the first three months of play.