It might only be two games into the NBA season, but Joe Mazzulla has already made a big impression on Boston Celtics fans and media.
Of course, it helps that Boston has won their opening two games of the season, and have looked fantastic while doing so. Still, despite all the uncertainty surrounding Boston’s head coaching position, Mazzulla is doing himself no harm with the team’s hot start.
In fact, when speaking on an October 21 episode of NBA Countdown, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted how Mazzulla could potentially earn himself the full-time coaching job before the end of the season.
“The outlook for Joe Mazzulla and the Celtics is that he’s got every opportunity, I think even a likelihood, to shed that interim tag at the end of the season and be the Celtics’ long-term head coach. Brad Stevens certainly believed in him when he put him into the job,” Wojnarowski said.
Since taking over as Boston’s head coach, Mazzulla has overseen a slight overhaul of the team’s offensive approach, with the Celtics now looking to play at pace on every possession, using their elite defense to generate fast break opportunities.
Mazzulla Putting Faith in Jayson Tatum
If you’re a first-time head coach in the NBA, the best bet is to always lean on your stars, and give them the freedom within your system to impact games as they see fit. Following Boston’s October 21 victory over the Miami Heat, it would seem that Tatum is enjoying the Celtics’ improved offensive style, and is reaping the rewards of playing in a broader role.
Speaking to the media following the game, Mazzulla noted how he’s trying to let Tatum play his natural game because he believes that’s when the St. Louis native is at his incredible best.
“I let Jayson be Jayson … a huge growth with him … was reading the game … he did a great job making the right play,” Mazzulla said.
Malcolm Brogdon Praises Celtics Defense
One thing that hasn’t changed since last season is the Celtics’ commitment to being an elite defensive team. Sure, we might be seeing some different coverages, but overall, Boston is going to make it difficult for their opponents to score on them throughout every possession.
“I haven’t played on a team like this where one through five, everybody that’s on the floor takes pride in the defensive end. It’s a championship characteristic for sure,” Brogdon said.
Luckily, Brogdon was acquired to help resolve one of the Celtics’ biggest needs off the bench – shot creation and scoring, so, with his help Boston will be hoping to challenge for their 18th NBA championship this season. Of course, the playoffs are still a long way off, and anything can happen between now and then, but still, the Celtics are proving why they’re the reigning Eastern Conference Champions.