Throughout the summer, nothing has gone to plan for the Boston Celtics, from the injury to recently acquired big man, Danilo Gallinari, to the one-year suspension of second-year head coach Ime Udoka.
Yet, as the Celtics begin to come out the other side of a turbulent September, there are encouraging signs taking place on the parquet – both in training and in pre-season. Speaking to the media following Boston’s October 3 134-93 pre-season win over the Charlotte Hornets, Malcolm Brogdon heaped praise on interim head coach, Joe Mazzulla.
“I thought he was excellent. I thought he was composed [and] I thought he had some great out-of-timeout plays,” Brogdon said on Mazzulla, “He’s not a yeller. He’s not a screamer. He’s very deliberate. He’s very direct. He’s not a guy that’s going to over-talk you and tell you too much because he wants you to go out and have a clear mind. He’s going to be very direct and very honest with what he expects from you, which I think is everything an NBA player wants in a coach.”
In what was his first game as Celtics head coach, Mazzulla had his team playing at breakneck speed, as he looked to utilize the enormous amount of offensive talent at his disposal – and with a heavy emphasis on making the extra pass, the Celtics ended their contest with 41 assists on 48 made buckets.
Brogdon Impresses on Debut
Playing his first game in a Boston Celtics jersey, Malcolm Brogdon showed why the Celtics made him their first addition of the summer. In 24 minutes of play, the veteran guard provided his team with 11 points, nine assists, and five rebounds while shooting 33.% from deep and 44.4% from the field.
Shortly after the game, Jaylen Brown addressed Brogdon’s impact for the Celtics off the bench, noting how the versatile guard is going to have a significant impact for his team in the upcoming season due to his ability to force defenses into tough decisions.
“He makes the right plays, he’s a threat at all times, and he’s definitely going to make us better overall. He’s more than capable of being a go-to player in this league. For him, being able to come in, run things, and also get us all going, as you saw tonight he had a well-balanced game…He makes it easier for me, he’s a threat out there, he’s able to score the ball, get to his right hand, he’s able to make the right read. So you’ve gotta respect him, each and every night. And that makes us harder to cover because you’ve got to pick and choose who you want to stop,” Brown said on October 2.
As the Celtics fell to the Golden State Warriors in last year’s NBA Finals, it was clear the team needed another shot creator off the bench, preferably one with size and an ability to generate his own offense – with Brogdon now in the fold, Brad Stevens has resolved his team’s biggest area of need, and that should bode well for a team that’s attempting to compete for a championship.
Brogdon Has Confidence in His Game
It can’t be easy joining a new team that is already littered with talent throughout the roster. But, Brogdon knew what he was walking into when he was traded to the Celtics, and now, he’s looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
Following his impressive debut for his new team, Brogdon addressed the media and was poised when asked about the difficulties he faces in getting acclimated with his new team and teammates.
“There are definitely challenges…Of course, there are challenges because there are so many good players. There are so many versatile players who do a lot of really good things at a high level on the floor. But the key is not to worry about that but to do what you do best. I think that’s going to be my strength this year is the confidence in my game and being able to do a lot of things well,” Brogdon said.