Brad Stevens could not have hand-picked a better time to confirm Joe Mazzulla’s status as the full-time head coach.
The Ime Udoka chapter in Boston has officially closed. Right after the Celtics obliterated the Detroit Pistons at the TD Garden to conclude the action before the All-Star break, Brad Stevens and the organization decided it was time to do what many thought they should have done a while ago. There will be nothing hanging over this team post-All-Star break as the cloud disperses, and the sun unveils its true self on the city of Boston.
The interim tag on Joe Mazzulla has been possibly the only cloud hanging over this ball club this season. Nobody wants to head into a potential Game 7 of a playoff series feeling like they are coaching for their job. For the quality work that has been done to put the Celtics atop the NBA standings so far, Boston invested full trust in Mazzulla to lead the charge during a championship window that is going to be wide open for years.
The timing allows not only for the players to play free, but the head coach to coach the rest of the season without any sort of pressure weighing down on him. Imagine being named one of the All-Star head coaches, and having to worry about your job.
Joe Mazzulla can enjoy coaching the world’s best basketball players with the knowledge that his franchise has put its full faith in him for the long term — and Boston can finally turn the chapter.
Before the Celtics embark on a potentially successful post-All-Star break campaign, the former West Virginia guard received a long-term extension as the leader of the Cs on the sideline. Udoka’s suspension just before training camp left a lot more questions for a ball club that made it all the way to the NBA Finals last season than many expected.
His presence has been ruling over the Cs for the first five months of the season. Through conversations with players, and coming in with an open mind, Mazzulla controlled this unprecedented situation with complete professionalism. Many did not know how Boston was going to conclude its situation with a coach that had captained the team to an extremely impressive run in the second half of the season.
Brad Stevens sums up why Joe Mazzulla earned full-time job and the situation the Celtics now live in
Doing this during a stretch of games with just a few weeks before the postseason would not have created the same effect as it has now. Cs fans and the entire organization will have the opportunity to appreciate Mazzulla at the All-Star festivities, and everything he has done for Boston in the few short months he has been the leader.
When the New England native takes his seat alongside the best in the game on Sunday night, the city of Boston can watch in peace as everyone now knows he is theirs. Nobody knows how Stevens dealt with the departure of Udoka, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. The Celtics have their guy, and the push for the No. 1 overall seed will be without any distracting questions about Mazzulla’s status as the coach.