Poll: Is it time for C’s to remove ‘interim’ tag on Joe Mazzulla?
In the span of roughly 5 1/2 months, Joe Mazzulla has gone from the second row of coaches, behind the Celtics' bench, to leading the Giannis Antetokounmpo squad at the All-Star Game next month.
That last bit was made official last night as the Orlando Magic knocked off the 76ers in Philly, securing the best record in the East will belong to the Celtics at the break, and thus sending the team's coaching staff out to Utah, February 17-19.
The Celtics entered the regular season as the betting favorite to win the championship. So it's not like Joe Mazzulla is making chicken salad out of you-know-what, but the situation he entered back in September was pretty chicken (expletive).
We all know what happened, and it's the reason the interim tag is still next to Mazzulla's name. Ime Udoka is still technically the head coach of this team that sits atop the NBA through 51 games, yet has nothing to do with the team or organization at this point. His time in Boston is over, though due to legal ramifications following the internal investigation last summer, the club has simply removed him from the picture without a formal firing as of yet.
Mazzulla has done admirably on the job thus far. Sure, one can quibble with his timeout usage, but ultimately the dude knows more about basketball than anyone who gets riled up that he leaves a few timeouts in his pocket. Just listen to the way the players talk about him and you'll hear that Mazzulla has full command of that locker room. Which in the NBA is not something that should be taken for granted.
You can't blame the Celtics for being patient with it. We all saw how quickly the good times can unravel last summer, and after three straight seasons with a different voice in charge, they desperately want to avoid going back in that direction.
Chances are, when it comes time for the C's to make it permanent, Mazzulla will be the guy to lead this team into the future. All we're asking is, would you be ready to give him that responsibility now?