Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla was in the spotlight the entire postseason, and especially in the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat.
There were plenty of people calling for Mazzulla’s job after the Celtics fell into a 3-0 series deficit and were blown out in Game 3, which he took blame for. But even though Boston didn’t complete its historic comeback by falling flat in Game 7, just getting to that point reportedly will give the 34-year-old Mazzulla, who was the youngest coach in the league this season, another opportunity to guide the Celtics next year.
“Given how this year went, yes, if he got swept I think there would be a lot more questions,” Stadium’s Shams Charania said on FanDuel TV on Tuesday. “But the fact that it did go to Game 7 I think it allowed the Celtics to see there is a little bit of runway, some potential here.”
But Charania added that while the Celtics plan to bring Mazzulla back — Jayson Tatum also supported this after the season-ending loss — his coaching staff won’t be the same. The Celtics want to surround Mazzulla with experienced coaches, something they didn’t do this season. Even when Damon Stoudamire left in March to take the helm at Georgia Tech — his alma mater — the Celtics never found a replacement for him.
And it appears Boston believes strengthening the coaching staff around Mazzulla is necessary if the Celtics want to get back to the NBA Finals.
“The impression that I’m getting right now is the Celtics and Mazzulla will look more toward stacking and elevating his bench with more veteran assistants,” Charania said. “They need some depth on that staff. I think they’re going to look more toward that this offseason. There definitely was momentum built in this series. You win three in a row, make this a series where you go into Game 7 at home, chance to make history.
“After everything that went into this, Joe Mazzulla didn’t find out he was going to be head coach until literally a day or two before media day when all the Ime Udoka stuff happened. So, there is something to be said there as far as having a full offseason to have to your own and really build the right way.”