There was a time when the Boston Celtics were 4-3 and many were questioning how this was all going to look in wake of the news that Ime Udoka would be suspended for the year after taking the team to the Finals.
The Celtics are 14-1 since then, and Joe Mazzulla is being rewarded for his efforts in building the “Sand Castle Celtics” with a Coach of the Month nod for October/November 2022.
Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams and Boston Celtics interim head coach Joe Mazzulla have been named the NBA Western and Eastern Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in October/November. pic.twitter.com/AZChGTllil— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) December 1, 2022
It’s hard to imagine a better start for the Celtics considering all of the last-minute noise in the offseason. What was supposed to be a focused start to try to return to the Finals led to a media circus. Thankfully, Joe Mazzulla has stepped right in admirably, and it feels like he’s been doing this job for 2-3 years instead of 2-3 months.
Mazzulla is the architect of the No. 1 offense in NBA history in terms of points per possession, and he’s unlocked deep bench talent in players like Luke Kornet and Sam Hauser – two valuable members of the rotation. The Celtics have been far and away the best team in the league all without their starting center, Rob Williams, who’s set to return some time this month. Boston has beat all manner of opponent. They don’t let their guard down against lesser teams, and they get up and play really well against elite competition. They have four losses to two teams – the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls.
Basically at this point in the season, if you’re not in the Central Division, you don’t have a chance at beating Boston (please do not come back to dunk on me if they lose to a non-Central Division opponent anytime soon).
Mazzulla earning Coach of the Month this early with an 18-4 record suggests that he’s got an inside track to winning (interim) Coach of the Year when the season is up. If the Celtics keep the pace, he’ll certainly have deserved it after achieving that level of success with one week of pre-season preparation and all of the noise, drama and narratives surrounding this team. It’ll be interesting to see how that would impact what happens with Udoka at the end of the season.
The Celtics will take on the Miami Heat for a rematch tomorrow night in Boston at 7:30 p.m. ET as Mazzulla looks to help the Celtics be the first team to reach 19 wins this year.