Bonus: I believe in Joe Mazzulla
Every coach needs to be the answer to a pretty simple question: what does this team need?
From a basketball perspective, pretty much nothing. I watch enough basketball to know that when everyone plays their best, the only team that can beat the Boston Celtics is the Boston Celtics. So I’ll ask again, what does this team need?
Mental toughness. Self-belief. Togetherness. Certainty. These are four things I truly believe Mazzulla can provide. Be it in an article about his Jujitsu practice, a post-game press conference, or a pre-game shoulder-to-shoulder huddle in the locker room, Mazzulla is a spiritual guy, and I don’t just mean religious.
He seems to understand that cracking success on the court comes with mastering yourself off it. Learning how to win and lose, to be thoughtful about the difference, and to do so together is what basketball is really about. Mazzulla cares about this, and he cares that the guys believe in themselves, something that Ted Lasso has taught America but what great coaches have always known.
And I know this team believes in Mazzulla. If they wanted him gone, they should have gotten swept, which would have been easier than easy to do. But they fought back, and it’s insane to think they didn’t do it in part to save Mazzulla’s job, especially after Brian Windhorst reported that he would “pay the price” for their collapse. If the players had folded, I’d be singing a very different tune about our friend Joe. But they didn’t.
Most importantly, though, is for the Celtics to be certain about themselves. It’s more than confidence and less than arrogance but is nevertheless the main ingredient in true greatness. The Celtics don’t need a coach who can scheme a side-out play, explain zone defense, and call timeouts. Those things will come. What they need is a guy who will make them certain about who they are, and I believe Mazzulla will do that.
So if you need a fall guy, use me. I promise I can take it.
The roughly 1600 words of pro-Joe propaganda you just read was all written prior to the hiring of new assistant Sam Cassell, and if you want my two cents on that… it’s great.
Slam dunk. Great work to all involved. High fives all around.