Joe Mazzulla officially named head coach

lovegtm

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But playing an offense that is so heavily reliant on 3s does open the possibility of a cold spell that sinks your season. D’Antonis teams were always vulnerable in the same way. They (the Celtics)had absolutely no other way to score so had to go down with the ship.

In truth I wonder if what we call mental toughness issues or their inability to sustain success is just the natural variance of being such a 3 point oriented team. The numbers are what they are and they will produce wins over 82 games but in the short haul of a 7 game series we keep needing the full 7 and playing with fire because it seems to be impossible to just shoot to your averages every night against playoffdefenses
This is a weird take when you just lost to a team that had no chance to win in games it wasn't hitting like 45% of its 3s.

If anything, the Cs problem was that they couldn't generate enough quality 3s against Miami, not that they shot too many.
 

reggiecleveland

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I think the defensive regression was the undoing…they rely on stops to get in the open floor and create catch and shoot opportunities. When they don’t get stops, the offense is really pedestrian in the halfcourt and they struggle to find looks and often force 3’s.
What bothered me was they didn't run in the playoffs. They had to work so hard to score. It drove me nuts that the less talented Heat players were getting looks in transition and the Cs would outlet it quickly then slow down. I guess they were worried about depth, but teams don't send people to the boards anymore because they fear transition, to be any team, especially a 3point team that doesn't run?
 

HomeRunBaker

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I think CJM underperformed my lowered expectations. Considering the front office chose him to coach one of the NBA Finals betting favorites, instead a recent Finals winner like Vogel, I'd say the Celtics had a high opinion of Mazzulla as the one holdover from the Brad Stephens staff, so I took that into consideration.

There were some very odd decisions that demonstrably hurt the Celtics' win probability such as: holding the ball for the final shot in Philadelphia while trailing, inexplicably playing Blake Griffin against Atlanta, eschewing Grant Williams for multiple games, putting Pritchard on the court against a Butler lineup, and not playing two bigs against Embiid/Tucker. There were also good adjustments, but they often came late, sometimes long after many in the port cellar advocated for them.

I didn't expect Mazzulla to win the coaching matchup against Miami, Philadelphia, and Atlanta (whose coach the Celtics could have hired and is working with a patched together staff including the son of man the organization just fired) but I did not expect him to lose those battles decisively.
You didn't expect Mazzulla to win the coaching matchups against those teams but despite him winning certain game matchups you ignore those and only point out the ones that didn't work and/or you didn't agree on. It's no wonder that for a week you couldn't find a thread where Mazzulla was being criticized when his adjustments against Spo were effective in winning three straight elimination games.


Wow, they gave him $14 million? What on earth for? Talk about bidding against yourself.
It appears that he was among the lowest paid head coaches this season and at the time was the betting odds favorite for COY after his reputation grew over the last two seasons. I don't feel the number matters anyway as I don't believe firing him was ever on the table but that's the reasoning behind the $14m.
 

NomarsFool

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It appears that he was among the lowest paid head coaches this season and at the time was the betting odds favorite for COY after his reputation grew over the last two seasons. I don't feel the number matters anyway as I don't believe firing him was ever on the table but that's the reasoning behind the $14m.
A three year extension still seems a bit generous given his lack of experience at the time.
 

Senator Donut

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You didn't expect Mazzulla to win the coaching matchups against those teams but despite him winning certain game matchups you ignore those and only point out the ones that didn't work and/or you didn't agree on. It's no wonder that for a week you couldn't find a thread where Mazzulla was being criticized when his adjustments against Spo were effective in winning three straight elimination games.
I've pointed out plenty of positive adjustments, but the commonality of all of them is that they came after the first three games of the series. Miami had a major first mover advantage. Scram switches when Jaylen Brown was in foul trouble to deny Miami the matchup they wanted in the ball screen was great stuff and also really hard to coach and execute correctly, but we also saw that way more often with Ime last year. When Spoelstra countered with his own adjustments (banishing Love and Zeller, promoting Highsmith) it resulted in a razor-thin game 6 loss and a blowout game 7.

The gaps between the Celtics and their Eastern Conference peers are astonishingly slim. In series against Heat, Sixers, and Bucks, all have gone the seven-game distance. I cannot definitively say coaching swung any of those matchups, but I do know a great coach like Spoelstra provides tremendous value on the margin. The Celtics need a coach who will maximize their win probability, and although I can't say they need to fire Mazzulla, this current setup is a disaster and a huge failure from the front office for a team squarely in its championship window.
 

Over Guapo Grande

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So.... while huddling with his assistants before talking to the team (which he did all season) -- veteran leaders were being veteran leaders. Yeah, definitely a fireable offense /s
 

Cellar-Door

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Do people really not watch other teams? It's incredibly common for the players to talk among themselves at the front of the timeout while the coach talks to either the refs or the staff then he comes in at the end to emphasize points or draw up a play as the last thing they hear before they go back out there.

Bill "body language doctor" Simmons is a moron who gives these tidbits to advance whatever his agenda is, but mostly to remind you he has courtside seats.
 

Just a bit outside

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Do people really not watch other teams? It's incredibly common for the players to talk among themselves at the front of the timeout while the coach talks to either the refs or the staff then he comes in at the end to emphasize points or draw up a play as the last thing they hear before they go back out there.

Bill "body language doctor" Simmons is a moron who gives these tidbits to advance whatever his agenda is, but mostly to remind you he has courtside seats.
They realize this but it doesn’t fit their opinion and narrative so it doesn’t count on other teams. If you have decided Mazzulla needs to go then you add this in to bolster your case even though it happens with every other team every game.
 

reggiecleveland

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This can be great coaching too. I mean it usually isn't rocket science, and maybe a a different voice is needed. KC Jones was let go because he let Bernie Bickerstaff talk during TO on TV. KC was a big architect of the LAkers finally winning, but never put himself out front.
 

benhogan

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Whatever happens today or the next few weeks CJM is staying. The guy needs a staff.

Frankly after Ben Sullivan, I'm not sure who is an asst coach, a trainer, or the equipment mgr on that bench???
Joe coached with an arm tied behind his back all season and that 95% on IME (& Brad deserves a sliver of blame)
Bill "body language doctor" Simmons is a moron who gives these tidbits to advance whatever his agenda is, but mostly to remind you he has courtside seats.
Bill and most NBA reporters/color/podcasters are schtick at this point, that's their BRAND. Doesn't matter if it's Steven A, Skip, Shannon, the Herd, Charles Barkley, Mark Jackson, the Van Gundy's, or Bill Simmons nobody should take them seriously. They want to say provocative things (KOC with "fake liking each other") to get clicks/attention because that's how they get compensated. #Followthe$$$

They provide some entertainment value but I doubt Brad makes any decisions based on their "reporting"
 

nattysez

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Do people really not watch other teams? It's incredibly common for the players to talk among themselves at the front of the timeout while the coach talks to either the refs or the staff then he comes in at the end to emphasize points or draw up a play as the last thing they hear before they go back out there.

Bill "body language doctor" Simmons is a moron who gives these tidbits to advance whatever his agenda is, but mostly to remind you he has courtside seats.
I agree with all of this. Simmons has been out on CJM for months and I think got on a roll talking about "things that are bad about Joe" and started throwing in stuff that even he knows, if he'd bothered to think about it for 30 seconds, is ridiculous. If Russillo had been involved in the podcast instead of his dad, he would've gotten pushback on this nonsense.
 

jon abbey

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I hate to say it but Simmons really has assumed the role of the new CHB. And its worse because he knows better.
I don’t think he really does anymore, guys like Mike Francesa and Mike Lupica and Tim McCarver were all fantastic early on and turned into horrible jokes later in their careers. I’m not sure totally why, maybe they get to a certain level and just stop trying, but it’s a very prevalent pattern. I loved Simmons early on like everyone else but he has been ignorable for a long time now.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I don’t think he really does anymore, guys like Mike Francesa and Mike Lupica and Tim McCarver were all fantastic early on and turned into horrible jokes later in their careers. I’m not sure totally why, maybe they get to a certain level and just stop trying, but it’s a very prevalent pattern. I loved Simmons early on like everyone else but he has been ignorable for a long time now.
You are probably correct.

Plus as Upton Sinclair famously noted, all those people, including Sprtsguy33 depend on not knowing better for their paycheck.

And its hard to argue that it isn't working. People have spent paragraphs parroting Simmons takes that the Celtics coaching has been overtaken by a Horford/Smart led coup d'etat. Except nobody else who actually has access to the team - not counting bloggers who really don't seem to have much more access than folks here (a question at a presser?) - is reporting anything similar.

My point is that Mazzulla may well have lost control of the team but these days Bill Simmons is likely to be the last and not first to know about it. But its now a fact in some folks brains.
 

Auger34

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CelticsBlog mentioned that Phil Pressey has been around the Celtics facility and is likely to be added to the staff (I am guessing this is a second row/low level assistant). They also mentioned the same about Stephen Silas. I expect they hire him and 2-3 other well known/first row assistants
 

PedroKsBambino

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In terms of timeouts, watching a lot of NBA and some in person (e.g. not relying on TV feed) I really do not believe it is true that other teams ran timeouts or used the time within them the same way Celtics did. I have no idea who was doing what in terms of overall 'coaching', to be clear. In the games I went to (and thus watching both teams at same time) not once---literarally zero times---did I see any other team spend time during a timeout the same way Celtics did....the Celtics had more time with all the coaches out of the huddle than anyone, and less time with the coaches in the huddle than anyone. Very consistently. Whether that is a sign of good or bad, I simply don't have enough knowledge of the insides of the team to say - so I'm not making a judgment on the approach, but they did use the timeout 'time' differently. I also agree with HRB, all teams engage the players (and should). The Celtics had more timeout time where there were no coaches there and it was just players than I have ever seen---whether that's good or bad, dunno.

As to Simmons, he's alluded to his father watching the timeouts several times. So, 1) his dad has probably observed what I and others have about time usage 2) his dad likely has zero idea what the significance of that is in terms of team success and 3) Simmons has some sources and might know something more, but also is quite a threat to simply pontificate (especially if he's relying on his dad for 'analysis')

I certainly think getting Joe his own set of assistants, and a full set, will be helpful. I have zero idea what was going on with their coaching staff, and also it seems clear they were missing an experienced voice especially once Stoudamire departed.
 
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chilidawg

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You are probably correct.

Plus as Upton Sinclair famously noted, all those people, including Sprtsguy33 depend on not knowing better for their paycheck.

And its hard to argue that it isn't working. People have spent paragraphs parroting Simmons takes that the Celtics coaching has been overtaken by a Horford/Smart led coup d'etat. Except nobody else who actually has access to the team - not counting bloggers who really don't seem to have much more access than folks here (a question at a presser?) - is reporting anything similar.

My point is that Mazzulla may well have lost control of the team but these days Bill Simmons is likely to be the last and not first to know about it. But its now a fact in some folks brains.
Wait, Joe "lost control of the team"? Where does that come from?
 

Auger34

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Wait, Joe "lost control of the team"? Where does that come from?
To be fair to him, I don't think that's what Simmons was saying. I think he meant that Joe had more of a deer in the headlights, I don't know what to say or do, so the players stepped in and did more coaching in the timeout than he's seen before
 

Al Zarilla

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The players should have input and nearly all coaches give their players the floor during timeouts. This isn't uncommon nor has it ever been.
Unless you have a Pop, or a Red, or a Jackson, or a Spo as head coach. All the players, even Russell and Jordan types generally STFU during timeouts held by those guys. Can we get somebody like one of them?
 

Auger34

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Unless you have a Pop, or a Red, or a Jackson, or a Spo as head coach. All the players, even Russell and Jordan types generally STFU during timeouts held by those guys. Can we get somebody like one of them?
I honestly can't think of many players in the NBA that have that kind of gravitas that aren't stars...the only one off the top of my head I can think of is Udonis Haslem? And he's basically an assistant coach in a warmup suit
 

RorschachsMask

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There’s A LOT in this story, some good, some pretty bad lol. I’ll post a couple of exerts.

View: https://twitter.com/JaredWeissNBA/status/1664255493655650306?s=20


“Some of the players started to believe Mazzulla prioritized the offense too much, according to team sources. Several veterans wondered why the coaching staff went away from Grant Williams, who had a significant role in slowing down Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bam Adebayo on the way to the Finals last season. Still, in early March, he received his first DNP-CD since the 2020-21 season. Williams’ playing time was sporadic from that point forward and he again fell out of the rotation when the playoffs began.

The coaching staff believed in Hauser’s offensive production and felt that because opponents were going out of their way to target him and abandon their own offense, his ability to hold up decently in isolation made him impactful. Mazzulla also wanted to get Hauser more experience to prepare him for the playoffs, believing Williams would be ready to go if his number was called. But the team’s veterans believed Williams would be crucial in the playoffs, so Tatum and Brown met with Mazzulla in early March to implore him to put Williams back into the rotation, team sources told The Athletic.

“The stars stepped up and told Joe what they wanted and Joe listened,” a player source said.”
“Disagreement over Mazzulla’s approach showed in a film session during the second round that dove into the offense, when Brown broke a huddle by saying, “One, two, three, defense,” according to several sources in the room. Multiple players told The Athletic that while Mazzulla had shifted the team’s identity to be more balanced down the middle between offense and defense, they felt that defense wins championships and that last season proved that should be the priority. Players noted they sometimes would come out of the timeouts uncertain about defensive coverages and Blake Griffin, Smart, and Grant Williams, among others, would help the team work things out heading to the court before play resumed.”
 
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DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Wait, Joe "lost control of the team"? Where does that come from?
Please read this thread and all the gamethreads, especially over the past few weeks. There are more than a few folks around here who believe that to be true. The King piece @RorschachsMask just linked to is unlikely to disabuse people inclined that way imo.

There are absolutely folks both here and in the media who believe that Mazzulla wasn't in control - this is the very origin of "Horford and Smart coaching the team during timeouts" narratives being discussed right here.
 

PedroKsBambino

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I just read that article and I think the only thing that frustrates me is the portion on Hauser. Joe wanted to play him to get him ready for the playoffs.....then literally never played him in the playoffs?
The implication is that after the players pushed him on it, he stepped back expectations for Hauser.

It's an interesting article---a lot of us noticed along the way that the defensive focus and intensity was a lot worse than last year, which lines up with a change in priority from the head coach. And, the offensive spacing and execution was also generally better htis year (certainly not perfect) which also lines up.

At the specific player level I agree it gets messy. Grant is a good spacer---not as good as Hauser, but more offensively versatile and still a good 3Pt shooter....so I don't know on that one. Hauser is a potential impact floor spacer---great, not just good, shooter and extended range.

I suspect the double-big thing is another offense/defense tradeoff...their defense iwth double bigs was better, but at the cost of spacing as they don't have a five-wide double big lineup (at least, they did not often use Grant/Al as the bigs to accomplish that).

The sharp turn in terms of philosophy---not just from Ime's 'defense first or you don't play' to CJM's '3pt attempts is most important stat'---but also literally in a matter of hours right before season...doe sseem like something they didn't get all the way through internally. I just hope the discussion is less binary than presented above (or seen in double-big minutes or grant/hauser minutes). The truth is their defense is their strength against the best teams, imo, nad also that they have lost the last two years because their offense died at critical times...so both need to be there.
 

slamminsammya

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The implication is that after the players pushed him on it, he stepped back expectations for Hauser.

It's an interesting article---a lot of us noticed along the way that the defensive focus and intensity was a lot worse than last year, which lines up with a change in priority from the head coach. And, the offensive spacing and execution was also generally better htis year (certainly not perfect) which also lines up.

At the specific player level I agree it gets messy. Grant is a good spacer---not as good as Hauser, but more offensively versatile and still a good 3Pt shooter....so I don't know on that one. Hauser is a potential impact floor spacer---great, not just good, shooter and extended range.

I suspect the double-big thing is another offense/defense tradeoff...their defense iwth double bigs was better, but at the cost of spacing as they don't have a five-wide double big lineup (at least, they did not often use Grant/Al as the bigs to accomplish that).

The sharp turn in terms of philosophy---not just from Ime's 'defense first or you don't play' to CJM's '3pt attempts is most important stat'---but also literally in a matter of hours right before season...doe sseem like something they didn't get all the way through internally. I just hope the discussion is less binary than presented above (or seen in double-big minutes or grant/hauser minutes). The truth is their defense is their strength against the best teams, imo, nad also that they have lost the last two years because their offense died at critical times...so both need to be there.
It is also worth pointing out the team was still 3rd in defensive efficiency in the league. The league offensive rating went up 3 points this year over last which is a crazy big jump.
 

joe dokes

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Do people really not watch other teams? It's incredibly common for the players to talk among themselves at the front of the timeout while the coach talks to either the refs or the staff then he comes in at the end to emphasize points or draw up a play as the last thing they hear before they go back out there.
They realize this but it doesn’t fit their opinion and narrative so it doesn’t count on other teams.
I suspect its not just an issue on this board or with Celtics fans in particular, but it seems that most of the time, when the team loses, there really was no *other* team playing. Just as when the coach is criticized for doing something, there's no consideration of what other teams do.
 

Cellar-Door

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It is also worth pointing out the team was still 3rd in defensive efficiency in the league. The league offensive rating went up 3 points this year over last which is a crazy big jump.
2nd actually by the official NBA possession tracking, 2nd in offense, 2nd in defense, for all the complaining this team was a regular season juggernaut.
 

Auger34

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In terms of timeouts, watching a lot of NBA and some in person (e.g. not relying on TV feed) I really do not believe it is true that other teams ran timeouts or used the time within them the same way Celtics did. I have no idea who was doing what in terms of overall 'coaching', to be clear. In the games I went to (and thus watching both teams at same time) not once---literarally zero times---did I see any other team spend time during a timeout the same way Celtics did....the Celtics had more time with all the coaches out of the huddle than anyone, and less time with the coaches in the huddle than anyone. Very consistently. Whether that is a sign of good or bad, I simply don't have enough knowledge of the insides of the team to say - so I'm not making a judgment on the approach, but they did use the timeout 'time' differently. I also agree with HRB, all teams engage the players (and should). The Celtics had more timeout time where there were no coaches there and it was just players than I have ever seen---whether that's good or bad, dunno.

As to Simmons, he's alluded to his father watching the timeouts several times. So, 1) his dad has probably observed what I and others have about time usage 2) his dad likely has zero idea what the significance of that is in terms of team success and 3) Simmons has some sources and might know something more, but also is quite a threat to simply pontificate (especially if he's relying on his dad for 'analysis')

I certainly think getting Joe his own set of assistants, and a full set, will be helpful. I have zero idea what was going on with their coaching staff, and also it seems clear they were missing an experienced voice especially once Stoudamire departed.
This.

I am no Simmons fan (check the actual Bill Simmons thread) but he does go to a lot of games and definitely knows how coaches interact with the players. I don't think the question is if it's unique, because I think the extent to which the players were doing it definitely is, the question is does it matter and does it prove anything going forward?

As you said, we have no idea and I don't think anyone does. I think it's definitely unique and definitely worth pointing out but I don't think it's a sign that he lost the team or anything
 

HomeRunBaker

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Do people really not watch other teams? It's incredibly common for the players to talk among themselves at the front of the timeout while the coach talks to either the refs or the staff then he comes in at the end to emphasize points or draw up a play as the last thing they hear before they go back out there.

Bill "body language doctor" Simmons is a moron who gives these tidbits to advance whatever his agenda is, but mostly to remind you he has courtside seats.
100% Bingo. If players aren't engaged and/or leading a huddle in the 4Q, especially in playoff games, they have pretty much checked out. This literally occurs all the time down the stretch of most NBA games.
 

Auger34

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Deathofthebambino

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Whatever happens today or the next few weeks CJM is staying. The guy needs a staff.

Frankly after Ben Sullivan, I'm not sure who is an asst coach, a trainer, or the equipment mgr on that bench???
Joe coached with an arm tied behind his back all season and that 95% on IME (& Brad deserves a sliver of blame)

Bill and most NBA reporters/color/podcasters are schtick at this point, that's their BRAND. Doesn't matter if it's Steven A, Skip, Shannon, the Herd, Charles Barkley, Mark Jackson, the Van Gundy's, or Bill Simmons nobody should take them seriously. They want to say provocative things (KOC with "fake liking each other") to get clicks/attention because that's how they get compensated. #Followthe$$$

They provide some entertainment value but I doubt Brad makes any decisions based on their "reporting"
It appears Ben Sullivan (along with 2 others) are gone:

https://sports.yahoo.com/ime-udoka-reportedly-takes-3-celtics-assistant-coaches-with-him-to-rockets-224942167.html
 

RorschachsMask

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Washburn's kind of a doofus. I definitely don't trust his "intel".

At this point, I think it would be legitimately shocking for Mazzulla to be fired. It would be even more shocking if he was fired for Doc Rivers
I was being nice lol, Washburn is well known to be a glorified mouthpiece.

No fucking chance they bring Doc back, regardless of what happens with Joe.
 

benhogan

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Yea, not altogether shocking. IME created a real mess.

Plus IME's ex-staff was probably less than thrilled to be working under Brad's chosen guy (who leaped Sullivan/Stoudamire in the coaching ranks)

Joe deserves a clean break and a chance to fill out his staff. Must have been an uncomfortable situation for a rookie HC
 

Auger34

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I wonder if Sam Cassell would be interested in coming here as the "bench coach". He was a former player which seems to really matter to this group of players. I also believe he's known as kind of a hard ass/not afraid to call people out
 

PedroKsBambino

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I understand why Doc's agent wants Washburn to say he's a candidate, and can even imagine someone in the Celts front office teeing up the idea as a spitballing thing. But I'd be legit stunned if that idea every got traction with Stevens, Zarren, Wyc.

For me, the question of whether CJM is back is about 80% about what Tatum, Brown, maybe a couple others say to Brad or Wyc and maybe 20% what Brad and Wyc believe. If the stars/vets say they want him gone, he should be gone...and if they say 'no more change' the bar for making one is very high.

I am confident none of us have a clue what either of those inputs (from the players, or the senior leaders of org) is right now, though