3-Time NBA Champ Thinks Joe Mazzulla Could Be Key to Celtics Championship

Joe Mazzulla

Getty Joe Mazzulla could be the key to a Boston Celtics championship says Danny Green.

The Boston Celtics remain the favorite to win the 2024 NBA title. They own the league’s best record at 46-12 and are in the midst of a nine-game win streak. The Cleveland Cavaliers are the closest competitor in the Eastern Conference and are eight games behind them.

Boston boasts arguably the best starting five in the NBA, led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The emergence of Derrick White, and the additions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday have turned the Celtics into a powerhouse. Former NBA champion Danny Green fully expects the Celtics to reach the NBA Finals, and he said then it might come down to coaching. If so, he likes Boston’s chances with Joe Mazzulla.

Danny Green Says This Could Be Joe Mazzulla’s Time to Shine

While the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks will likely be Boston’s biggest tests in the Eastern Conference, many believe the Celtics will make a return trip to the NBA Finals. The Celtics fell to the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals and then fell to the Miami Heat at home in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago.

Green, who won three championships in his 15-year NBA career, recently was a guest on WEEI’s “Gresh & Fauria” radio show in Boston. He said Mazzulla could be the reason why the Celtics hoist Banner 18.

“I think this is their year,” Green said. “I think it’s their championship to lose this year. They should be in the Finals for sure.

“I think it should be them and Denver in the Finals. They have the team and the depth to do it this year. It’s going to come down to coaching, and I think Joe Mazzulla might be ready this year with the experiences that he’s had in the past couple of years in the playoffs.”

Mazzulla Gets Praise From Brad Stevens

Mazzulla has just one year of postseason experience as a head coach, and that came last year after taking over for Ime Udoka, who coached the team in the 2022 NBA Finals. Mazzulla was an assistant under Udoka.

Last year under Mazzulla, Boston rallied from being down 3-0 to the eight-seeded Heat before winning three straight games and forcing a winner-take-all Game 7 in Boston. The Celtics were blown out in front of their home crowd, falling 103-84.

Mazzulla certainly has his share of critics, but Green isn’t the only one who believes Mazzulla can get it done in the playoffs. Team president Brad Stevens believes Mazzulla is the right man for the job.

“When he took over, it was obviously a hard situation,” Stevens said this week on WEEI. “Obviously, in that moment, there were a lot of qualified people in the building, but he’s just such a great leader. He’s good at galvanizing the room. He knows the game at both ends of the floor, and he sees the game in real time, which I think is important.

“Listen, I’m not the best cap guy in the world. I’m not Mr. Analytics, and I’m probably not qualified to do any of our nutrition or sports science or any of that stuff, but I guess my professional background is in coaching. I hope I can at least see a good coach and know a good coach when we see one.”

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