After the end of the Boston Celtics season, there was some speculation as to whether Joe Mazzulla would return as head coach or not, but Celtics general manager Brad Stevens put up such speculations by confirming that Mazzulla will actually be back for a second season.
“Yes, I think he’s [the best head coach for this team],” Stevens of Mazzulla told a press conference on Thursday. “I thought he did a really good job with this group. Everyone will overreact to the best players and coaches after every game. It’s always like that. We know this is happening, so we need to be able to judge things as a whole.”
“He’s a great leader, he’ll only get better at everything he can learn this year because he’s always trying to learn. And he’s accountable. These leadership qualities are hard to find. I know they’re easy to talk to, but if you can show all this through the expectations and the microscope he was under, it’s hard to do.
“Our players, our employees, everyone around him believe in him, and we have to do our best to keep supporting him.”
Stevens and the Celtics can support Mazzulla by reshuffling his staff. Following the departure of top assistants Will Hardy (Utah Jazz) and Damon Stoudamire (Georgia Tech) last year, three more assistant coaches – Ben Sullivan, Aaron Miles and Mike Moser – are scheduled to meet with Udoka Houston Rockets this summer.
Stevens said the team tried to fill in Stoudamire’s work when he left the team in March, but that during the mid-season there were challenges.
“These times are hard for people to get up and move or join a team they don’t know anything about,” Stevens said. – But it was simply to supplement, because we believed in the people who were here.
Stevens confirmed that he would hire “at least” one new assistant coach this off-season, although this number is likely to be higher if Sullivan, Miles and Moser all take off. Stevens also stressed that he would seek candidates with abundant NBA experience, although he noted that Mazzulla had won a lot since joining Stephen’s staff as an assistant in 2019.
- First, Joe’s experience now, you can probably measure the year of dogs, right? Stevens said. “Because now he participated in three Eastern Conference Finals and the NBA Finals, and he was now the head coach during one of these races. I mean, it’s an experience in itself.
“… I think he has a ton of it, but we’ll look for at least one addition to the bench – and (Mazzulla) will lead the charge – we’ll look for someone who has a lot of NBA experience, for sure.”
Former Houston Rockets chief, who met with Stevens during the first round of the playoffs, is a “leading candidate” to join Mazzulla’s Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, he reported Thursday.
Silas only lasted three seasons as head coach of a horrible Rocket team, but he spent the last two decades as an assistant to six different NBA teams. He’s also from Boston and son of Paul Silas, who won two championships with the Celtics during the 1970s.
The addition of Silas must be one of several measures Stevens and Co. They do it to strengthen their training staff. Although it’s possible that Mazzulla has a bright future as head coach — he took Boston to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals after taking office a week before the pre-season — he could benefit from a strong support system with veteran coaches.