Legendary NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy is now a member of the Boston Celtics organization, serving in a senior consultant role on Joe Mazzulla’s support staff. What exactly will the role entail, though?
Locked On Celtics host John Karalis broke down the specifics of legendary coach Jeff Van Gundy’s new role on October 14, hours after it was confirmed that the long-time New York Knicks and Houston Rockets coach was now employed by the Celtics.
“Yes, Jeff Van Gundy is a senior consultant,” Karalis prefaced before saying, “He’s not on the bench, but he’ll be in coaching meetings when he’s here. His role is as an advisor to the entire basketball operations department, including the Maine Celtics.”
As MassLive’s Brian Robb pointed out, Van Gundy has experience with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown from their shared time with Team USA over the last four years.
“The 61-year-old has been active with international coaching in recent years, serving as a head coach during the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup Tournament and as an assistant coach for US Men’s Basketball during the 2019 FIBA World Cup and 2020 Summer Olympics,” Robb prefaced before saying, “Van Gundy worked with Brown and Tatum directly on the 2019 FIBA World Cup team.”
Boston Celtics adding coach who lacks championship experience but has led legendary defenses
Van Gundy complements Mazzulla in one of the most important ways: defensively. While the Celtics improved in scoring in 2022-23, the defensive drop-off from Ime Udoka’s coaching tenure was notable.
If he does nothing else, Van Gundy’s presence needs to help Mazzulla figure out the philosophies behind successful defense; even if it’s less X’s and O’s and more so how to promote a culture that emphasizes that end of the court.
Get that done, and whatever he’s being paid won’t be enough — because that’s more than likely the only thing holding Boston back from Banner 18.