Joe Mazzulla officially named head coach

wade boggs chicken dinner

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The fascination with Will Hardy around these parts is something. Hardy may be the best coach in the NBA or yet another guy who is a lifetime front bencher - we simply don't know.

Its fair to wonder what attributes Hardy has that leads some to believe he is a superior coach to Mazzulla.
Well first of all, if Ime's actions were discovered in late May rather than late summer, Hardy probably would have been coach of BOS (and CJM might have been coach of UT). Hardy was the lead assistant and in line for the promotion.

Also, I'm pretty sure CJM has called Hardy a "better coach" at some point (I'm sure CJM was probably being self-effacing here; I can't find the exact quote - the closest I can come is that CJM said no when asked if he was a better coach than Hardy).

P.S. I did not know that CJM was elevated to lead assistant when Hardy left and that Hardy wanted to bring CJM to UT but BOS blocked that.
 

lovegtm

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That CJM listened to the criticisms and explored the issue, had an open mind, and had the ability to change his approach is a very positive trait.
I think he was talking about doing this prior to becoming head coach. He's always been open-minded wrt basketball strategy.

Most of his perceived issues last year were organizational imo, rather than strategy/rotation/timeout stuff.
 

lars10

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That CJM listened to the criticisms and explored the issue, had an open mind, and had the ability to change his approach is a very positive trait.
I’m not sure if he was responding to criticism or he had already thought about it when he created his approach.. did he mention when he started reviewing TOs in the clip? Because he could easily have done that as an assistant. He was already counting possessions… I imagine his approach has been obsessive from the start.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I’m not sure if he was responding to criticism or he had already thought about it when he created his approach.. did he mention when he started reviewing TOs in the clip? Because he could easily have done that as an assistant. He was already counting possessions… I imagine his approach has been obsessive from the start.
CJM simply said that he watched every TO from the last five minutes of a NBA game. I presumed he meant one season but maybe he means he's watched them all. Who knows?

Podcast below; I've tried to start it at the beginning of the TO discussion.

View: https://youtu.be/ioVfp5-fubY?list=PLu1neCd4swuYczHZQs9u-LOCgY2MnMvys&t=1856
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I’m not sure if he was responding to criticism or he had already thought about it when he created his approach.. did he mention when he started reviewing TOs in the clip? Because he could easily have done that as an assistant. He was already counting possessions… I imagine his approach has been obsessive from the start.
I don't think Mazzulla cares about criticism, like at all. He clearly is leaning into his "crazy" persona.

And like you, I suspect his TO philosophy was formulated way before WEEI callers and gamethreaders noticed it.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Well first of all, if Ime's actions were discovered in late May rather than late summer, Hardy probably would have been coach of BOS (and CJM might have been coach of UT). Hardy was the lead assistant and in line for the promotion.

Also, I'm pretty sure CJM has called Hardy a "better coach" at some point (I'm sure CJM was probably being self-effacing here; I can't find the exact quote - the closest I can come is that CJM said no when asked if he was a better coach than Hardy).

P.S. I did not know that CJM was elevated to lead assistant when Hardy left and that Hardy wanted to bring CJM to UT but BOS blocked that.
None of this suggests that Hardy is actually the superior coach.

Also, alternative history is tough but if Udoka's dirt had been uncovered sooner there are lots of variables that may have led to someone other than Hardy or Mazzulla.

The world we live in has Mazzulla as a championship coach in his second season, after getting the job on the eve of his first. Will Hardy may well be a better coach but there is zero actual evidence of that and plenty to the contrary. Yet some people here prefer him. Why?
 

PedroKsBambino

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None of this suggests that Hardy is actually the superior coach.

Also, alternative history is tough but if Udoka's dirt had been uncovered sooner there are lots of variables that may have led to someone other than Hardy or Mazzulla.

The world we live in has Mazzulla as a championship coach in his second season, after getting the job on the eve of his first. Will Hardy may well be a better coach but there is zero actual evidence of that and plenty to the contrary. Yet some people here prefer him. Why?
To your point, while one could easily have preferred Hardy initially (Utah clearly did) today the reality is that we know CJM is a good enough coach to win a championship and we know that Will Hardy is a well-regarded former assistant good enough to go 31-51 on a rebuilding teams.

At this moment, one of those is pretty clearly superior to the other. Sure that could change with more data but it's not really arguable right now is it? The unknown with Hardy remains huge. With CJM, I mean, he has already done the biggest thing a coach can accomplish.
 
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InstaFace

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The world we live in has Mazzulla as a championship coach in his second season, after getting the job on the eve of his first. Will Hardy may well be a better coach but there is zero actual evidence of that and plenty to the contrary. Yet some people here prefer him. Why?
Calm eyes, clearly.

(though I've read the same posts you have, and I don't see anyone saying they "prefer" Hardy as coach. Maybe I missed it, but if not, that's a bit of a strawman.)

We had 3 real good options in Ime, Hardy and Joe….I have a hard time believing any one of them would have screwed this up.
To be faaaaaaaiiir, one of them did, in fact, screw it up bigtime.

(for nothing that had anything to do with his coaching skills, so your point stands, but that line jumped out at me...)
 

lovegtm

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I've never been able to figure out why so many people disliked Mazzulla from the start. It's not a race thing, since they loved Ime, and Doc was popular too.

I almost feels like a "no prophet is accepted in his hometown" thing, where his New England personality rubs people the wrong way, or makes him feel less "professional" than an outsider would feel.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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None of this suggests that Hardy is actually the superior coach.

Also, alternative history is tough but if Udoka's dirt had been uncovered sooner there are lots of variables that may have led to someone other than Hardy or Mazzulla.

The world we live in has Mazzulla as a championship coach in his second season, after getting the job on the eve of his first. Will Hardy may well be a better coach but there is zero actual evidence of that and plenty to the contrary. Yet some people here prefer him. Why?
no one says they prefer Hardy. some people wonder if the Cs would have won if Hardy was the coach. I also wonderes out loud (in another thread) whether the Cs eould have won if Ime was still coaching.

i think - like HRB - that the Cs had so much talent that all 3 would have won. If you don’t want to go down this path that’s cool.

I also think this board has been more pro-CJM than most slices of Cs fans. YMMV.
 

Salem's Lot

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I've never been able to figure out why so many people disliked Mazzulla from the start. It's not a race thing, since they loved Ime, and Doc was popular too.

I almost feels like a "no prophet is accepted in his hometown" thing, where his New England personality rubs people the wrong way, or makes him feel less "professional" than an outsider would feel.
I think it was an age/NBA coaching experience thing. At least it was for me at the time. I was thinking this would be a “handing the keys to the Ferrari to a kid that just got his license” situation, and thankfully I couldn’t have been more wrong.
 

Just a bit outside

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I've never been able to figure out why so many people disliked Mazzulla from the start. It's not a race thing, since they loved Ime, and Doc was popular too.

I almost feels like a "no prophet is accepted in his hometown" thing, where his New England personality rubs people the wrong way, or makes him feel less "professional" than an outsider would feel.
I was never on the get rid of Joe bandwagon I think this quote sums it up.

Crash Davis: Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you'll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press'll think you're colorful.

CJM is idiosyncratic and built differently. Until he won he was going to get criticized for being different. More power to him for sticking with his way.
 

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Calm eyes, clearly.

(though I've read the same posts you have, and I don't see anyone saying they "prefer" Hardy as coach. Maybe I missed it, but if not, that's a bit of a strawman.)
I am not unearthing old posts but up until late this season there was most certainly a group of people here who felt Hardy was superior to Mazzulla and would comment to that effect here regularly (especially when Boston struggled).

In this thread, there is a suggestion that Boston perhaps beats Miami last year with Hardy or Ime in lieu of Mazzulla. It may or may not be correct but some posters have expressed a view that the Celtics lost out on Hardy. Its not a strawman argument to wonder why, especially given that Joe won a championship less than 96 hours ago.

I am open to the idea that Boston left wins on the table - its entirely fair to ask people how they arrived at the conclusion that Hardy would have won more than Mazzulla.
 

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Did I hear Mazzulla say in that Zach Lowe podcast that he also interviewed for the Utah job (that Hardy ended up getting)? Or did I mishear what he was saying? I could have sworn he said something like, "Yeah, after Utah didn't work out ..."
 

PedroKsBambino

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Did I hear Mazzulla say in that Zach Lowe podcast that he also interviewed for the Utah job (that Hardy ended up getting)? Or did I mishear what he was saying? I could have sworn he said something like, "Yeah, after Utah didn't work out ..."
I believe he interviewed and did not get a call back with Utah - Hardy got a call back and was ultimately hired
 

InstaFace

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I've never been able to figure out why so many people disliked Mazzulla from the start. It's not a race thing, since they loved Ime, and Doc was popular too.

I almost feels like a "no prophet is accepted in his hometown" thing, where his New England personality rubs people the wrong way, or makes him feel less "professional" than an outsider would feel.
Simplest explanation is probably correct here: just his youth and relative inexperience at the NBA level.

The same was true of Ime Udoka, we were super nervous with him going into 2021-22, given that he was essentially just pulled from the USA FIBA WC coaching staff by our team's starters, and they told Brad / Wyc "hire this guy". It wasn't until he got the defense to gel and got DPOY-level play out of TimeLord that we decided we really had something here. Having reached the Finals his first season, his respect was then largely ensured. But Mazzulla was given the same roster and awkward circumstances and lacked the cachet that Udoka had - Spurs staff, USA Basketball staff - so he had more to prove. But now, obviously, he's proven it.
 

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Hardy had a better resume than Mazzulla before they both became head coaches. It is not difficult to understand why people thought he might be a better fit in the situation. Particularly after they lost to a Heat team they should have beaten. Thankfully Mazzulla proved he was the guy.

Will Hardy resume before becoming a head coach:
Coach Will Hardy began his career with the San Antonio Spurs as a basketball operations intern (2010) before being promoted to an assistant video coordinator (2011) – he became an Assistant Coach in the 2016-2017 season, under Gregg Popovich. Over the course of eleven seasons (2010-2021) with the Spurs, Coach Hardy made nine playoff appearances (2010-2019), two NBA Finals appearances (2013 & 2014), and won an NBA Championship (2014). Following his tenure San Antonio, Coach Hardy became an Assistant Coach for the Boston Celtics, under Head Coach Ime Udoka. In one season with the Celtics, Coach Hardy helped guide the team to its first NBA Finals appearance since 2010.

CJM resume before becoming a head coach:
[TH]2011–2013[/TH] [TH]2013–2016[/TH] [TH]2016–2017[/TH] [TH]2017–2019[/TH] [TH]20192022[/TH]
Glenville State (assistant)
Fairmont State (assistant)
Maine Red Claws (assistant)
Fairmont State
Boston Celtics (assistant)
 

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That's entirely fair. But the idea persisted through both seasons when Hardy was not guiding his team to even a winning record and Mazzulla went to the ECF last season and this year, beyond.

The before period is understandable but I am more interested in why Hardy was perceived as superior over the past few years. He is the same age so that's not the issue and his record doesn't scream outperformer. What does Hardy do better than Joe?
 

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no one says they prefer Hardy. some people wonder if the Cs would have won if Hardy was the coach. I also wonderes out loud (in another thread) whether the Cs eould have won if Ime was still coaching.

i think - like HRB - that the Cs had so much talent that all 3 would have won. If you don’t want to go down this path that’s cool.

I also think this board has been more pro-CJM than most slices of Cs fans. YMMV.
No doubt. This board has many more critical thinkers compared to other groups. I was reading one of those FB groups just a week or two ago still wanting Cassell or Van Gundy to take Joe’s job. It’s rough seas out there. :D
 

HomeRunBaker

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Did I hear Mazzulla say in that Zach Lowe podcast that he also interviewed for the Utah job (that Hardy ended up getting)? Or did I mishear what he was saying? I could have sworn he said something like, "Yeah, after Utah didn't work out ..."
Yes the Celtics granted Utah ability to interview both. Hardy got a second interview and Joe did not.
 

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I've never been able to figure out why so many people disliked Mazzulla from the start. It's not a race thing, since they loved Ime, and Doc was popular too.

I almost feels like a "no prophet is accepted in his hometown" thing, where his New England personality rubs people the wrong way, or makes him feel less "professional" than an outsider would feel.
I think some of it was circumstances. Ime was popular and then suddenly gone and replaced by a kid who noone had heard of.
 

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Yeah I can only speak for myself, but I wasn't saying Hardy is superior or would be better. If anything, I was implying the opposite... that the Celtics ended up with a great situation.

The timing of it all is just interesting, it's amazing how some things work out based on circumstances outside of everyone's control. I do think Hardy likely would have gotten the job here if Ime was canned before he got the Utah job, but what happens after that and how things work out, who knows.
 

lovegtm

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I think some of it was circumstances. Ime was popular and then suddenly gone and replaced by a kid who noone had heard of.
Yeah, I guess I'm in an extreme minority that wasn't happy with Ime's Xs and Os. Felt like Bud, Spo, and Kerr were all providing more alpha, and that the Cs were a strong attitude/culture/resilience team, but without innovative coaching.

Obviously they had Hardy and Mazzulla coaching for them at that time, but Ime wasn't super flexible in terms of implementing micro adjustments on the fly.

I probably would have been happy with Hardy, and I'm very happy with Mazzulla. Feels like we are usually the one-step-ahead team more often than not now.
 

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I've been thinking about sliding doors recently and what would’ve happened had they gone the Robert Sarver route and simply swept the Udoka stuff under the rug?

My best guess is that it would’ve resurfaced at the worst possible time, causing a distraction during the 23 playoffs, or maybe even after they won the title. But because the organization made the bold (and correct IMO) move when they did, they may have delayed this a year, but the title is all the more sweeter because it’s not tarnished and on a personal level, I don’t have to try to explain or justify a scandal to my daughters.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Yeah, I guess I'm in an extreme minority that wasn't happy with Ime's Xs and Os. Felt like Bud, Spo, and Kerr were all providing more alpha, and that the Cs were a strong attitude/culture/resilience team, but without innovative coaching.

Obviously they had Hardy and Mazzulla coaching for them at that time, but Ime wasn't super flexible in terms of implementing micro adjustments on the fly.

I probably would have been happy with Hardy, and I'm very happy with Mazzulla. Feels like we are usually the one-step-ahead team more often than not now.
You and I are in the same zip code about Udoka. His voice feels like it would be diminished over time as the young guys matured. That rah-rah style seems to work but only for a little bit and then only culturally.

Mazzulla feels way more Xs and Os than Ime ever did - perhaps that's a bad take - but imo that's far more important to sustainable winning than trying to pump the gang up. You can only out intensity good opponents for so long.
 

Auger34

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Hardy is generally regarded as a fantastic coach.

Saying Hardy is a good coach doesn’t mean anyone is fascinated with him or is somehow denigrating Mazzulla.

they are both very good coaches. They clearly think very highly of each other at that. No one is upset with who we have after a championship.
 

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Love this guy. I wouldn't have anticipated him being the next Great Coach of our Boston Celtics - but greatness comes from unexpected places in all shapes and sizes. I'd follow him into combat on a Duck Boat anytime. LFG!
 

lovegtm

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You and I are in the same zip code about Udoka. His voice feels like it would be diminished over time as the young guys matured. That rah-rah style seems to work but only for a little bit and then only culturally.

Mazzulla feels way more Xs and Os than Ime ever did - perhaps that's a bad take - but imo that's far more important to sustainable winning than trying to pump the gang up. You can only out intensity good opponents for so long.
Yeah, and it's not like the Spos and Kerrs of the world have trouble generating intensity once the 16-game season starts.
 

CreightonGubanich

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You and I are in the same zip code about Udoka. His voice feels like it would be diminished over time as the young guys matured. That rah-rah style seems to work but only for a little bit and then only culturally.

Mazzulla feels way more Xs and Os than Ime ever did - perhaps that's a bad take - but imo that's far more important to sustainable winning than trying to pump the gang up. You can only out intensity good opponents for so long.
Maybe I'm selling Ime short, but part of me thinks he's destined for a John Tortorella-like career as a turnaround artist. A guy that's revered for his ability to preach about toughness, but whose act ultimately wears thin everywhere he goes, especially for a veteran team.

I don't think there's any question that Mazzulla is doing some really cool stuff, tactically. Sometimes you worry about the ability of those mad scientist type coaches to connect with their players, but Mazzulla seems to have done that. He employs his tactical changes in ways that free guys up to try stuff on the floor - I'm thinking of Jrue and White being given the green light to pick guys up full court whenever they want, or Jrue playing free safety. And credit too to Tatum and Brown; with all the criticism that Joe took last year, all it would have taken was a lukewarm endorsement here and a passive aggressive comment there, and Joe might have been gone. But they embraced the process that Joe had to go through the same way they embraced their own. They didn't pass the blame onto someone else, and everyone was rewarded for it.

This is the ultimate "trust the process" championship. Do things the right way, even when it's hard, and trust that the result will be there.
 

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I'm not big into counter-factual alternative histories-- so haven't had much of a thought about the 'would we have been better off with Hardy rather than Mazzulla' debate-- but think that @Just a bit outside surfaces a pretty key thing that the former had: the implied endorsement of Pops and the Spurs organization.

Hardy came in at the lowest possible rung in San Antonio, repeatedly excelled at every job in a coaching staff, and was then consistently promoted by Pops to the next rung. He then got to be a key player on several deep playoff runs including winning the 2014 championship from the front bench.

I think a bunch of people were, in effect, willing to give Pops their proxy and say 'If this dude is good enough for him, he's good enough for me'

Mazzulla didn't have that same kind of endorsement. Obviously, Brad liked him. But Brad's track record of GM decision-making had less to say for it two years ago than it does now. Obviously.
 

InstaFace

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Yeah, I guess I'm in an extreme minority that wasn't happy with Ime's Xs and Os. Felt like Bud, Spo, and Kerr were all providing more alpha, and that the Cs were a strong attitude/culture/resilience team, but without innovative coaching.

Obviously they had Hardy and Mazzulla coaching for them at that time, but Ime wasn't super flexible in terms of implementing micro adjustments on the fly.
Maybe this isn't the thread for it, but I think any displeasure with Ime's Xs and Os has to reckon with the fact that we were the #1 defense, with essentially the same personnel, and a def rtg 6 points below the final Brad-led squad. And then he goes to Houston after a year of sitting in his ass and has those guys playing defense far better than they used to, too. Now, yes, a lot of defense is just effort and focus, but you also need a variety of schemes that everyone buys into and can run on an instinctual level. Ime had Marcus gambling less, and TimeLord helping more intelligently, etc.

I dunno, I'm happy with CJM and think we probably ended up with the best of the three of them, but part of that might be the residue of having 5 all stars on the team.
 

NomarsFool

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This is not to diminish CJM at all, but as was mentioned above, a big component of his success was the attitude of the team. All top 6 players on the Celtics just seem like very coach able, no ego players, who would be willing to respond and give CJMs strategies a try. I can’t imagine the same would be true on, frankly, most NBA teams. For example, just even thinking about that Irving/Rozier/Morris team - I think CJM would have struggled.
 

lexrageorge

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This is not to diminish CJM at all, but as was mentioned above, a big component of his success was the attitude of the team. All top 6 players on the Celtics just seem like very coach able, no ego players, who would be willing to respond and give CJMs strategies a try. I can’t imagine the same would be true on, frankly, most NBA teams. For example, just even thinking about that Irving/Rozier/Morris team - I think CJM would have struggled.
Those player attitudes don't happen in a vacuum. Coach Joe had to get the buy in from his players last season, and he had to do that in borderline impossible circumstances that went beyond the Ime mess.

And there were some similar parallels between that 2019 Celtics team and last season's. In 2019, you had Rozier and Morris needing minutes to get paid and Hayward returning while still clearly not close to 100%. Last season, you had guys like Grant and, to a lesser extent, Pritchard, that wanted playing time so they could get paid. Pritchard, IIRC, was at one point openly unhappy about his role last season; hard to blame him given he was played some serious minutes for a team that went to the Finals the prior season. Meanwhile, you had Brogdon, White, and Smart all needing their minutes in the backcourt. And Mazzula had to integrate a hobbled Rob Williams into the rotation as well. Despite those difficulties, Coach Joe had his team a game away from the Finals.

Stevens recognized some of these issues, having dealt with them himself. And he clearly made trading at least one of Smart or Brogdon a top priority for the offseason.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Sometimes you worry about the ability of those mad scientist type coaches to connect with their players, but Mazzulla seems to have done that. He employs his tactical changes in ways that free guys up to try stuff on the floor - I'm thinking of Jrue and White being given the green light to pick guys up full court whenever they want, or Jrue playing free safety. And credit too to Tatum and Brown; with all the criticism that Joe took last year, all it would have taken was a lukewarm endorsement here and a passive aggressive comment there, and Joe might have been gone. But they embraced the process that Joe had to go through the same way they embraced their own. They didn't pass the blame onto someone else, and everyone was rewarded for it.
The connectivity part was made much easier since Joe was a player and one that these guys remember from March Madness as it was not too long ago. He played against Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder on the biggest stage. I’m pretty sure based on the age that he played either against Jrue or against one of his brothers. This connection as a player builds equity.

Those player attitudes don't happen in a vacuum. Coach Joe had to get the buy in from his players last season, and he had to do that in borderline impossible circumstances that went beyond the Ime mess.
One advantage that Joe had which we don’t speak about was his prior relationships with our core. He was the 2nd row Asst working with Jayson, Jaylen, Marcus, et al….but THEN he was the lone holdover when Ime brought in his new staff and everyone knew that this was one of Brad’s conditions for whoever the new coach was so the players had “their guy” with them to go into the Ime era. Very unique but that one season led to them bonding into the “us against the world” mentality of last season. Joe may not have survived without these relationships from his core as this leads to buyin from the next guy (White) and the offseason guys, and so on.
 

lovegtm

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Maybe this isn't the thread for it, but I think any displeasure with Ime's Xs and Os has to reckon with the fact that we were the #1 defense, with essentially the same personnel, and a def rtg 6 points below the final Brad-led squad. And then he goes to Houston after a year of sitting in his ass and has those guys playing defense far better than they used to, too. Now, yes, a lot of defense is just effort and focus, but you also need a variety of schemes that everyone buys into and can run on an instinctual level. Ime had Marcus gambling less, and TimeLord helping more intelligently, etc.

I dunno, I'm happy with CJM and think we probably ended up with the best of the three of them, but part of that might be the residue of having 5 all stars on the team.
To be clear: any dissatisfaction I had with Ime's Xs and Os + execution was on the offensive end.

I think he would have gotten similar defensive performance out of the current group, although Mazzulla did a great job letting them pace themselves in order to have an extra gear in the playoffs, which matters for older vets like Jrue and Al. CJM also nailed the offense/defense symbiosis, where they were the best team in defensive transition in large part because of executing their spacing and avoiding tough layups.

My current take on Ime:
- very good defensive coach
- very good effort/floor-raising coach
- meh to bad on the offensive end
- not strong at multi-variable planning: offense->defense, game->season, etc
 

HomeRunBaker

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Maybe this isn't the thread for it, but I think any displeasure with Ime's Xs and Os has to reckon with the fact that we were the #1 defense, with essentially the same personnel, and a def rtg 6 points below the final Brad-led squad. And then he goes to Houston after a year of sitting in his ass and has those guys playing defense far better than they used to, too. Now, yes, a lot of defense is just effort and focus, but you also need a variety of schemes that everyone buys into and can run on an instinctual level. Ime had Marcus gambling less, and TimeLord helping more intelligently, etc.

I dunno, I'm happy with CJM and think we probably ended up with the best of the three of them, but part of that might be the residue of having 5 all stars on the team.
It’s been awhile since mentioned but it was Mazzulla who was in charge of the defense for that team. Players rarely mention behind the scenes stuff and of course the media rarely does deep dives like this but it was an interview with either Derrick or Malcolm last year where they said (paraphraing), “When I got here I didn’t know anything about Coach Mazzulla. Every player I spoke to though said that if there is anything I needed to know about the defense he’s the guy to go to and is the mastermind behind our defense.”

Here is one of the quotes from Brogdon:
https://celticswire.usatoday.com/lists/was-joe-mazzulla-the-mastermind-behind-bostons-defense-last-year/
 
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Eddie Jurak

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The connectivity part was made much easier since Joe was a player and one that these guys remember from March Madness as it was not too long ago. He played against Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder on the biggest stage. I’m pretty sure based on the age that he played either against Jrue or against one of his brothers. This connection as a player builds equity.


One advantage that Joe had which we don’t speak about was his prior relationships with our core. He was the 2nd row Asst working with Jayson, Jaylen, Marcus, et al….but THEN he was the lone holdover when Ime brought in his new staff and everyone knew that this was one of Brad’s conditions for whoever the new coach was so the players had “their guy” with them to go into the Ime era. Very unique but that one season led to them bonding into the “us against the world” mentality of last season. Joe may not have survived without these relationships from his core as this leads to buyin from the next guy (White) and the offseason guys, and so on.
I thought it was the players who wanted him back as opposed gto Brad forcing him on Ime?

I think he would have gotten similar defensive performance out of the current group, although Mazzulla did a great job letting them pace themselves in order to have an extra gear in the playoffs, which matters for older vets like Jrue and Al. CJM also nailed the offense/defense symbiosis, where they were the best team in defensive transition in large part because of executing their spacing and avoiding tough layups.
Yes, this is an underappreciated point in Joe's favor.
 

lexrageorge

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Jul 31, 2007
18,731
I thought it was the players who wanted him back as opposed gto Brad forcing him on Ime?
The players certainly liked Mazzula, but when it came to hiring a new coach, it would have been Stevens that set the boundaries for which assistants Ime would be required to keep on staff.
 

lovegtm

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Apr 30, 2013
13,513
Yeah, I think everyone is saying the same thing: the players liked Mazzulla, so Stevens made sure Ime kept him on.

@HomeRunBaker I remember seeing that reporting on Mazzulla wrt Xs and Os early in his tenure, and it's a big reason I was bullish on him from the start, particularly combined with the fact the players liked him.

One underappreciated thing here: it's a lot easier to make on-the-fly strategy adjustments when you're the head coach, as opposed to having good ideas and having to then filter them through the head coach's approval. I think that showed this year in how fast the team made some playoff adjustments: the critical Finals game 3 stands out, where they came out in the 3rd quarter and just eviscerated Kidd's (fairly creative) defensive gameplan.
 

NomarsFool

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Dec 21, 2001
8,817
I don't think Mazzulla cares about criticism, like at all. He clearly is leaning into his "crazy" persona.
I actually think he does quite a bit. Doesn't mean that he changes because of criticism, but he definitely has had to learn to have a thicker skin as a head coach (as anybody would - there are a lot more arrows pointed at you than as a second row assistant). I remember some of his early interviews with Abbie Chin he came off as extremely defensive. There's also the recent dustup over Perk and his comments. Scal talked about how Joe was angry at the NBC SportsBoston and Scal had to explain to Joe that Perk wasn't associated with that station anymore.