Uncork one: the Port Cellar's opinion on Mazzulla and Udoka

Which option most closely aligns with your views on the Celtics' coaching?

  • Mazzulla is already great, was engine behind '21-22 D, flexible, innovative, got max out of the team

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    204
  • Poll closed .

InstaFace

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We've had a couple months to digest the 2022-23 season, reflect on Mazzulla, get some finality to l'affaire Ime Udoka (even if we wouldn't call it "closure"), and someone in another thread is making passive-aggressive remarks about getting brigaded by imagined squads of coaching supporters or detractors. So let's at least establish what the Port Cellar more or less thinks about it all.

I've done the best I can to distill the range of opinions, while recognizing that it won't capture every nuance. So please pick the closest point to your opinions, the "least wrong" choice, and feel free to clarify your stance below if you want to be on the record in your own words rather than mine.
 

riboflav

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Where is the option for we as posters on SoSH do not have nearly enough information (or expertise in many cases) to accurately judge the job either coach has done with our favorite team?
 

Rusty Gate

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I generally agree with the last option that the relative quality of an NBA coach has much less impact on team success than an NFL coach. However, I would say 80-85% player/roster driven if the last option was a fill-in-the-blank question.

That said, I checked the third option, that Joe did do a very good job in a tough situation with no advance notice under intense scrutiny. He will almost certainly do better with an off season to prepare and a chance to rejigger his support staff. The much bigger factor in determining 2023-2024 success or failure will be how the team adapts to the major roster changes, and the health of the key players. I agree with Grant Williams' assessment in the podcast posted in his thread. Ime's team was stronger defensively because that was Ime's focus while Joe's team was stronger offensively because that was his focus and expertise. They were different in that Ime challenged and criticized the players more while Joe was more patient and allowed them to figure things out for themselves. There are pros and cons to both approaches. Clearly, Joe's team had several poor end game offensive possessions. But Joe seems to be willing to acknowledge mistakes and try other options going forward, specifically in close and late situations, and more generally in player usage, and in weathering the ups and downs of a long season. Of course, ultimate success will be measured by the playoffs (with the in-season tournament a new uncertainty to be navigated).

Joe did a more than good enough job to deserve a chance to lead the team for a second season. It is hard to imagine that bringing in another new coach would be a better option. There will be a lot more data on the relative coaching merits of Joe and Ime after this season. If anyone cares at that point, that would be the time to enter into that discussion.
 

snowmanny

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I voted option two. My opinion is likely flawed and my understanding is inferior to many here, but those first three Miami games were so awful I impulsively wanted him fired and replaced with a veteran coach. I didn’t get the rotations. They floundered against the zone. I thought that their end of game troubles could possibly be fixed by someone else.

They came back to 3-3 which showed something but they should have won that series in 5 or 6

I am unconvinced. He’s probably fine-ish but should have a warm seat.
 

luckiestman

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I have my opinion but my decision now is: he is our coach and I want to win so it doesn’t matter and I want him to succeed. Stevens and the owners picked him and I’ll live with it.
 

bankshot1

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I voted option 1.

Early last year I posted my reservations about a rookie coach and whether he was the guy who could lead the Celts to the next level. And early in the season I posted my reservations about his in-game coaching. Again the hope was he would learn and be post-season ready. And I took some shit for my observations and criticisms.

I think in part he was failed by Brad, who did not give him adequate support staff, but having said that IMO CJM was a fucking disaster last year, particularly in the post-season. And I felt Coach U was and is a better coach.

IMO with a decent HC the Celts should have been in the Finals again and with a coach that could keep the team focused and on same page re D they could have won it all.
This was a deep championship quality team.

I again I hope he learns and with better support staff he can take a leap forward.
 

chilidawg

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Where is the option for we as posters on SoSH do not have nearly enough information (or expertise in many cases) to accurately judge the job either coach has done with our favorite team?
This is the one I'd vote for.

That said, I'd say that I thought Ime did a great job, Joe did as good a job as you might expect given the circumstances, and I wouldn't be surprised if Joe becomes an excellent coach as soon as this coming season.
 

Smokey Joe

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I chose number 3, but I felt that Ime was meaningfully better (but may not be going forward) and I am still pissed at his inability to manage his own “ personality”, thus torpedoing this past season.

Do we have to talk about him?
 

BigSoxFan

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I chose number 3, but I felt that Ime was meaningfully better (but may not be going forward) and I am still pissed at his inability to manage his own “ personality”, thus torpedoing this past season.

Do we have to talk about him?
Yeah, I’m in this camp as well. I’m not very bullish on Mazzulla but am willing to give him another shot with a full offseason and a better staff. He seems to have some stubborn tendencies so we’ll see if he’s willing to listen to his assistants.
 

tbrown_01923

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He has time to grow... like the first half of next season, but maybe not much more.

Idk if u am putting the problem with the zone on CJM - it seems like they have struggled with it for years. The lack of an experienced staff probably hurt. There were some dear in headlights moments, but on the other side, he changed his approach to timeouts...

I don't love Sam and pritch (when he got on the court) not being looked for. They are there to shoot, and many times (brogdon for example) would force his own number as opposed to more involvement of those two (and grant). If they are in they need to get some shots up. Otherwise play better defenders.
 

AB in DC

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Personally I think "don't know" is really the only correct answer here. Mazzula got thrown into the deep end with almost no time to prepare, and then lost his top assistant partway through the season. Seems hard to judge anything based on one crazy year.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I think they're both good coaches. I have no idea whether one is "better".

Ime, though, I think looks better because he got the Cs to the finals and there's no other data. I posted this in the GW thread but while we naturally think the Cs would have taken a step forward with Ime, we'll never know. Two things that aren't mentioned about Ime in these discussions are:

(1) The Cs 2nd half run under Ime in a lot of ways centered around playing TL in the rover spot 25 mpg. In doing so, he basically ran TL into the ground and Ime wouldn't have had TL for the 1st half of the season.

(2) The switching defense also relied on Al being able to guard on the perimeter. Some or another podcast pointed out that Al would never be better than in 2021-22 because he had an extended break from OKC and had all summer to rest. To my eyes, 2022-23 Al wasn't as effective on defense has he was in 2021-22.

That being said, when Gabe Vincent was on Reddick's podcast, they both wondered if there were some internal issue that resulted in a lack of "connectivity." If that's the case, that's probably something Ime would have been more successful in addressing.
 

Jody Barrettson

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Udoka can point to the second half of the regular season last year to support the notion that he is the better coach- that was a great run. However, his team came up small in the big moment just as much as Mazulla's team did. The core players demonstrated the same allergic reaction to success under Stevens, Udoka, and Mazulla, and none of them were able to coach them to the level of sustained focus and effort necessary to win a championship.
 

lexrageorge

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Where is the option for we as posters on SoSH do not have nearly enough information (or expertise in many cases) to accurately judge the job either coach has done with our favorite team?
This is probably the correct answer.

First, there is no scenario where anyone Celtics brain trust would have come off the 2021-22 season and said they would have wanted Joe Mazulla to be coach over Ime Udoka. Literally none. At the same time, there was also no good option available in September when it was clear that Udoka needed to be fired, so Mazulla was at the time the best of a bunch of bad options. Given the situation, both Brad Stevens and Coach Joe did literally everything they could to address a situation that had no real precedent.

I'm willing to trust Stevens' judgement on this one regarding next season. The coaching staff has been shored up and Mazulla will have a full offseason to work with. Yes, he was outcoached by Spoelstra (who way back when was frequently outcoached in similar situations), but Miami also had the players and tools to expose some long standing flaws with the Celtics roster, the same flaws that derailed them against Golden State the previous season.

And the future of Jaylen Brown will likely have 10x more impact on the fate of the 2023-24 Celtics.
 

Royal Reader

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I'm not really bothered by how good a coach Udoka is or isn't, any more than I care about whether Jason Kidd is a good coach, or Greg Hardy was a good football player. I don't want to root for those kinds of guys.

The slightly more interesting counterfactual to me is if the Ime stuff had broken slightly earlier, and they'd been able to promote Will Hardy and kept JM as an assistant.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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@riboflav has the answer if we are being good faith posters. We have very imperfect information so any other answer is, by definition, making a lot of very important assumptions. That hasn't stopped people from generating multi-page threads before here but it certainly tells you about the quality of the content.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I'm not really bothered by how good a coach Udoka is or isn't, any more than I care about whether Jason Kidd is a good coach, or Greg Hardy was a good football player. I don't want to root for those kinds of guys.

The slightly more interesting counterfactual to me is if the Ime stuff had broken slightly earlier, and they'd been able to promote Will Hardy and kept JM as an assistant.
Why do you perceive Hardy to be a better coach than Mazzulla? What did Hardy do to differentiate himself?
 

128

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That being said, when Gabe Vincent was on Reddick's podcast, they both wondered if there were some internal issue that resulted in a lack of "connectivity." If that's the case, that's probably something Ime would have been more successful in addressing.
Redick gently pressed Grant on the "connectivity" issue, but there were no revelations.
 

lexrageorge

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Why do you perceive Hardy to be a better coach than Mazzulla? What did Hardy do to differentiate himself?
I don't know if Hardy is better than Mazzulla; not sure anyone here has enough info to know that. What we do know is that Hardy was first assistant and was considered to have more overall coaching experience. And had he stayed (a big "if"), the overall depth of the coaching ranks would have been improved.
 

Just a bit outside

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Of course we don’t know everything. What we do know is Udoka got them to the finals and got the best out of Marcus, Grant, and Timelord.. A year later both TL and Marcus were injured for a good portion of the year. Does Udoka repeat the performance with those injuries? We will never know but I think it would have been more difficult.

Mazz was thrown into an almost impossible situation. Make the finals or you failed. He had no time to prepare and had a skeleton assistant coaching staff. I think a downturn on defense was to be expected with the injuries to Marcus and TL. Mazz also, for whatever reason, did not get the most out of Grant. The offense was improved for most of the year and he did a great job getting the most out of White although I wish he let White play more at the end of games.

I give Mazz the benefit of the doubt for last year. Brad certainly seems to have put a roster together that fits Mazz. I think we will get a much better idea of his coaching this year with preparation time, a full coaching staff, and a roster that fits him better.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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For those who suggest we can't vote because we don't know enough to really say.. or that it's too soon to tell... well of course it is! But the question is asking for an opinion at this point, so seems right to me to take a shot.

As for my take, it's a combination of #1 and #4, with a splash of #3.

#1: I think Mazzulla was a mostly bad-to-average coach this season -- definitely exposed in the playoffs as not being up to matching wits with good-to-great NBA coaches like Doc and Spoelstra.

#3: The situation he was handed was undoubtedly tough/unfair, specifically many player's feelings for Udoka and the front office's failure to provide Mazzulla with a more experienced support team.

#4: He seems like a good bet (I guess I'd say "decent bet") to grow into a good coach with a better supporting bench, more time to prep the season, and l'affaire Ime another year further in the rearview. He doesn't panic, which I like.
 

lars10

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For those who suggest we can't vote because we don't know enough to really say.. or that it's too soon to tell... well of course it is! But the question is asking for an opinion at this point, so seems right to me to take a shot.

As for my take, it's a combination of #1 and #4, with a splash of #3.

#1: I think Mazzulla was a mostly bad-to-average coach this season -- definitely exposed in the playoffs as not being up to matching wits with good-to-great NBA coaches like Doc and Spoelstra.

#3: The situation he was handed was undoubtedly tough/unfair, specifically many player's feelings for Udoka and the front office's failure to provide Mazzulla with a more experienced support team.

#4: He seems like a good bet (I guess I'd say "decent bet") to grow into a good coach with a better supporting bench, more time to prep the season, and l'affaire Ime another year further in the rearview. He doesn't panic, which I like.
I guess the question is.. if Mazulla was bad to average.. but still got the Celts to one game away from the finals.. do they win the finals if he’s above average?
 

InstaFace

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Where is the option for we as posters on SoSH do not have nearly enough information (or expertise in many cases) to accurately judge the job either coach has done with our favorite team?
I believe that point of view is expressed by not voting, or by not posting on an internet forum where such things are discussed, due to one's assessment that nobody you'd be discussing it with has a basis for a valid opinion.

If we needed an insider's level of information to have an opinion worth voicing, of course, sports discussion would be rare and not very fun. Which is a reply that has been repeated many times on SoSH over the years, whenever similar objections came up about a critique of a player, manager, or executive. We don't know what they're dealing with in their personal lives. We don't know what's going on over there with team chemistry. We don't know what they're being told to focus on in practice. We don't know who's doing the real work, who's focused vs half-assing it, or what the players' opinions are, what niggling injuries they're fighting through, what options exist that haven't been explored enough to our satisfaction. All true - such caveats could be accurately appended to the bottom of like 80% of SoSH posts. We are all blind men feeling and describing an elephant.

And yet. We hazard it anyway, because (A) it's a lot more fun way to follow a team than just taking a "Jah will provide" kind of attitude with respect to what your team can do on the field or court, and (B) since more of the work product is publicly televised, not to mention reported on by a cadre of journalists, we do know a lot more about the inner workings of the Celtics' coaching staff than we do about, ya know, the marketing team for Podunk Office Products and why sales are down this year. It's under a lot more scrutiny and has a lot more transparency. We might still be wrong, of course. But in my experience, most of us here have the humility to change our opinions when more relevant facts become known. I think that's about as much as you can reasonably ask of sports fans.

It's sorta a variation on the old line in the statistics world: "All models are wrong. Some models are useful."
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Redick gently pressed Grant on the "connectivity" issue, but there were no revelations.
Yeah I listened. I don't know if there were internal issues with the Cs or whether they just took a step back for whatever reason but for those who didn't listen, GW implied that the big difference between Ime and Joe is that Ime would call players out if he thought they weren't executing and with Joe, the execution was more collaborative.

It's interesting that GW didn't mention that Ime's defense was - by other accounts - designed by Joe.

I mentioned this in the other thread but it's interesting that when Reddick was podcasting with Gabe Vincent, the idea that "defense wins championships" came up, and Reddick (and Vincent) basically said that in today's NBA, it's offense - either superstars or team (or both) - that is going to succeed in the playoffs. I think Joe really leans into this idea.
 

chilidawg

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I believe that point of view is expressed by not voting, or by not posting on an internet forum where such things are discussed, due to one's assessment that nobody you'd be discussing it with has a basis for a valid opinion.

If we needed an insider's level of information to have an opinion worth voicing, of course, sports discussion would be rare and not very fun. Which is a reply that has been repeated many times on SoSH over the years, whenever similar objections came up about a critique of a player, manager, or executive. We don't know what they're dealing with in their personal lives. We don't know what's going on over there with team chemistry. We don't know what they're being told to focus on in practice. We don't know who's doing the real work, who's focused vs half-assing it, or what the players' opinions are, what niggling injuries they're fighting through, what options exist that haven't been explored enough to our satisfaction. All true - such caveats could be accurately appended to the bottom of like 80% of SoSH posts. We are all blind men feeling and describing an elephant.

And yet. We hazard it anyway, because (A) it's a lot more fun way to follow a team than just taking a "Jah will provide" kind of attitude with respect to what your team can do on the field or court, and (B) since more of the work product is publicly televised, not to mention reported on by a cadre of journalists, we do know a lot more about the inner workings of the Celtics' coaching staff than we do about, ya know, the marketing team for Podunk Office Products and why sales are down this year. It's under a lot more scrutiny and has a lot more transparency. We might still be wrong, of course. But in my experience, most of us here have the humility to change our opinions when more relevant facts become known. I think that's about as much as you can reasonably ask of sports fans.

It's sorta a variation on the old line in the statistics world: "All models are wrong. Some models are useful."
The bolded here is especially spot on. I will say that there are a lot of opinions thrown around that don't seem to reflect the humility you speak of.
 

Royal Reader

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I don't know if Hardy is better than Mazzulla; not sure anyone here has enough info to know that. What we do know is that Hardy was first assistant and was considered to have more overall coaching experience. And had he stayed (a big "if"), the overall depth of the coaching ranks would have been improved.
Yeah, this is where I was. Hardy was considered a more senior coach, and I recall took at least one other Cs assistant with him to Utah (surprisingly hard to google this a year on). I think it's reasonable to say that he outperformed expectations with the Jazz. Most of the 'middle ground' people on here seem to think that Mazz is a promising coach, who was thrust into an impossible situation primarily due to lack of experienced assistants and high expectations. I think it's conceivable having Mazz on board, but someone else making the final calls, with a bit more depth all around, might have helped.

On the other hand, there was a perception around the Celtics after 2021 that they were too white in leadership positions, where going back to white gm/white coach might not have gone over brilliantly with the players.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Yeah, this is where I was. Hardy was considered a more senior coach, and I recall took at least one other Cs assistant with him to Utah (surprisingly hard to google this a year on). I think it's reasonable to say that he outperformed expectations with the Jazz. Most of the 'middle ground' people on here seem to think that Mazz is a promising coach, who was thrust into an impossible situation primarily due to lack of experienced assistants and high expectations. I think it's conceivable having Mazz on board, but someone else making the final calls, with a bit more depth all around, might have helped.

On the other hand, there was a perception around the Celtics after 2021 that they were too white in leadership positions, where going back to white gm/white coach might not have gone over brilliantly with the players.
BRef has the staffs. I don't think anyone from BOS went with Hardy.

Ime's assistants were:

Kenny Graves Coaching Associate
Art Horne Performance
Tyler Yeaton Strength and Conditioning
Aaron Miles Assistant Coach
Damon Stoudamire Assistant Coach
Tony Dobbins Assistant Coach
Joe Mazzulla Assistant Coach
Ben Sullivan Assistant Coach
Will Hardy Assistant Coach


Hardy's assistants were:

Jeff Watkinson Assistant Coach/Director of Integrated Player Development
Bryan Bailey Assistant Coach/Player Development
Keyon Dooling Assistant Coach/Player Development
Mike Wells Assistant Coach/Director of Basketball Operations
Isaiah Wright Strength and Conditioning
Eric Waters Trainer
Alex Jensen Assistant Coach
Lamar Skeeter Assistant Coach
Sean Sheldon Assistant Coach
 

Royal Reader

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BRef has the staffs. I don't think anyone from BOS went with Hardy.

Ime's assistants were:

Kenny Graves Coaching Associate
Art Horne Performance
Tyler Yeaton Strength and Conditioning
Aaron Miles Assistant Coach
Damon Stoudamire Assistant Coach
Tony Dobbins Assistant Coach
Joe Mazzulla Assistant Coach
Ben Sullivan Assistant Coach
Will Hardy Assistant Coach


Hardy's assistants were:

Jeff Watkinson Assistant Coach/Director of Integrated Player Development
Bryan Bailey Assistant Coach/Player Development
Keyon Dooling Assistant Coach/Player Development
Mike Wells Assistant Coach/Director of Basketball Operations
Isaiah Wright Strength and Conditioning
Eric Waters Trainer
Alex Jensen Assistant Coach
Lamar Skeeter Assistant Coach
Sean Sheldon Assistant Coach
So I found an article on NBA.com from summer 22 lists Evan Bradds as joining Hardy's staff as an assistant/player development coach from the Celtics in summer 2022, and doesn't list Dooling.

A little digging on Dooling suggests he held the title but was on admin leave and fired in January for defrauding the NBA's health care plan.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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So I found an article on NBA.com from summer 22 lists Evan Bradds as joining Hardy's staff as an assistant/player development coach from the Celtics in summer 2022, and doesn't list Dooling.

A little digging on Dooling suggests he held the title but was on admin leave and fired in January for defrauding the NBA's health care plan.
Guess BRef isn't infallible after all!

Thanks for the info. Bradds is also mentioned in this article if you're interested: https://www.nba.com/jazz/news/utah-jazz-finalize-coaching-staff
 

tims4wins

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For those who suggest we can't vote because we don't know enough to really say.. or that it's too soon to tell... well of course it is! But the question is asking for an opinion at this point, so seems right to me to take a shot.

As for my take, it's a combination of #1 and #4, with a splash of #3.

#1: I think Mazzulla was a mostly bad-to-average coach this season -- definitely exposed in the playoffs as not being up to matching wits with good-to-great NBA coaches like Doc and Spoelstra.

#3: The situation he was handed was undoubtedly tough/unfair, specifically many player's feelings for Udoka and the front office's failure to provide Mazzulla with a more experienced support team.

#4: He seems like a good bet (I guess I'd say "decent bet") to grow into a good coach with a better supporting bench, more time to prep the season, and l'affaire Ime another year further in the rearview. He doesn't panic, which I like.
Great post and accurately sums up my feelings as well.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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For those who suggest we can't vote because we don't know enough to really say.. or that it's too soon to tell... well of course it is! But the question is asking for an opinion at this point, so seems right to me to take a shot.

As for my take, it's a combination of #1 and #4, with a splash of #3.

#1: I think Mazzulla was a mostly bad-to-average coach this season -- definitely exposed in the playoffs as not being up to matching wits with good-to-great NBA coaches like Doc and Spoelstra.

#3: The situation he was handed was undoubtedly tough/unfair, specifically many player's feelings for Udoka and the front office's failure to provide Mazzulla with a more experienced support team.

#4: He seems like a good bet (I guess I'd say "decent bet") to grow into a good coach with a better supporting bench, more time to prep the season, and l'affaire Ime another year further in the rearview. He doesn't panic, which I like.
Your post is entirely fair. That said, do you have an example of where Mazzulla was actually out coached by Doc Rivers? As you know, the narrative around Doc from his time in Boston, LA and even Philly is that he was a players coach and not an Xs/Os one. I don't know about that but his former players make reference to that sort of thing regularly. Maybe its not accurate but Doc has never had a great rep for strategy/adjustments.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Your post is entirely fair. That said, do you have an example of where Mazzulla was actually out coached by Doc Rivers? As you know, the narrative around Doc from his time in Boston, LA and even Philly is that he was a players coach and not an Xs/Os one. I don't know about that but his former players make reference to that sort of thing regularly. Maybe its not accurate but Doc has never had a great rep for strategy/adjustments.
Yeah, asking for the example is totally fair…and I confess to not having the memory or expertise to offer them. Seem to recall failure to call times out, and inconsistent deployment of Grant Williams being issues (though possible I’m conflating that with the Miami series), but more to the point I was disappointed that the Celtics were pushed to seven games by a Sixers team that wasn’t as talented.

Doc’s record in the playoffs since Ubuntu speaks (sadly) for itself… but he did get a less talented team to 3-3 against Boston with home court advantage.
 
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lexrageorge

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If Harden showed up in G6 the Celts would have probably lost that series.
And if Tatum doesn't hurt his ankle the Celtics may have possibly won G7 against the Heat. I don't believe in discounting wins based on what the other team did; the Celtics did what they had to do to win that series against Philly.
 

begranter

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Too many times throughout the season and playoffs after tough losses or complete no-shows, Joe's only retrospective was that the team didn't shoot enough 3s and if only they shot more 3s he thinks they would have won. I get the league has evolved and that's a much bigger part of the game but if that's the entirety of your strategy my confidence in the ability to win a championship is low, and even lower for multiple. The statistical variance of 3-point success scares me in any playoff series. I want a coach that helps the team find multiple ways it can win and is creative in doing so when 3s aren't falling.

Needless to say I voted 1.
 

sezwho

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Closest to 2.

I think Ime provided the mental toughness the team (J1 and J2) hasn’t developed yet and would have given them a much better chance to win the Championship last year. I believe they would have done it.

Joe seems good and will grow into the job, and with all parties continued development they should be back to the finals.
 

lovegtm

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I'd say 4. I think that Mazzulla's top-end potential is definitely higher than Ime's, and people forget how impressive games 4-6 against Miami were, particularly defensively.

Joe really had serious issues getting team buy-in, especially in the playoffs, and all the reporting and player comments seem to support this. Players were lobbying for lineups, guys were pissed Ime was gone, etc.

My bet is that with a stronger staff, time to instill culture, and Grant and Smart gone, the team will pull in the same direction much more than prior, and Joe's top-end potential will start to show.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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I voted 3, but 4 would be fine for me as well.

Basically, I think it's a priori that you get better with experience in just about everything you do, until you reach the limit of your potential. It's hard to argue that Coach Joe is closer to his plateau at the beginning of last season than Ime was. Ime had more experience as both an assistant and a head coach, and had already done the exact job for a year, and Joe was thrust into a position no one really thought he was ready for, maybe even him. He would have been some kind of savant if he wasn't making mistakes in high-pressure situations or getting outcoached by guys like Spo. And he frequently admitted mistakes.

This year, Joe's probably still at an experience deficit, but now Ime's been sitting for a year, has new relationships to establish, etc., and Joe is building off a year of experience and has new assistant coaching assets to help him. I would be shocked if he didn't seem better this year in terms of feel for the game and his team. And I think the Rockets are going to be fighting for a play-in spot at best, regardless of how good Ime is.

While I love Marcus, it seems like he was at times working at odds with Joe. And I think Grant, particularly, was a locker room lawyer. Having them both elsewhere will help Joe continue to establish his voice, I think, even if that voice is more collaborative and servant-leadership oriented than Ime's was.
 

TripleOT

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Ime’s team struggled throughout the 2022 playoffs, handing at least one game to Milwaukee, struggling against the Heat, almost blowing the series in the final minutes, and punted away their advantage in the Finals.

Mazzulla’s team struggled through the 2023 playoffs, gifting games to inferior opponents like the Hawks and Sixers, and failing miserable in the first three games of the ECF, until getting it together with their backs against the wall. Once Tatum was injured in the first minutes of Game 7, that was the nail in the coffin.

I am old enough to remember the bubble season, when Brad Steven’s team gave away games to the Raptors, then failed against the Heat in the ECF, giving up a 12 point lead entering the fourth quarter of Game 1, getting outscored by 20 points in the third quarter of Game 2 after being up big at the half, and finally giving up 37 fourth quarter points in the close out loss.

If this team fails in similar fashion, at what point is the failure hung on the core of the team, the Jays, instead of the coach?
 

Red Right Ankle

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Maybe it isn't failure as much as losing to better teams.
It's failure of one sort or another and failure isn't a bad thing if you learn from it. If you just say, "eh we lost to a better team," and then do nothing, you are leaving stones unturned. One of which is, "Do the Jays have what is needed to win or is there something missing that they or the team cannot address sufficiently?"

The questions that I assume Brad, Joe and Co. are asking is:

1) How do they get better than those teams (or play better against them in the playoffs - cause I don't think anyone would say the Heat were a better team on paper, but they outplayed the Cs enough that a Tatum G7 injury put them in position to win a series they should not have)?
2) What are the areas the team needs to improve?
3) Once those are identified, are the Jays doing their part?
4) Are the other players?
5) The coaching staff?
 

lovegtm

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Curious why you think this? Seems like we have way incomplete information on both these guys
It's more of a gut feeling/guess, but were I to interrogate my gut, it would probably point to the offense looking better at its best this year, and also weighting the final Miami games highly in terms of the scheme and player motivation.

It felt like Joe had to break through some rigidity to access his good stuff, but there was more there when he got through that.

Fine margins, however, and as you say, very incomplete information.
 

lars10

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Ime’s team struggled throughout the 2022 playoffs, handing at least one game to Milwaukee, struggling against the Heat, almost blowing the series in the final minutes, and punted away their advantage in the Finals.

Mazzulla’s team struggled through the 2023 playoffs, gifting games to inferior opponents like the Hawks and Sixers, and failing miserable in the first three games of the ECF, until getting it together with their backs against the wall. Once Tatum was injured in the first minutes of Game 7, that was the nail in the coffin.

I am old enough to remember the bubble season, when Brad Steven’s team gave away games to the Raptors, then failed against the Heat in the ECF, giving up a 12 point lead entering the fourth quarter of Game 1, getting outscored by 20 points in the third quarter of Game 2 after being up big at the half, and finally giving up 37 fourth quarter points in the close out loss.

If this team fails in similar fashion, at what point is the failure hung on the core of the team, the Jays, instead of the coach?
How many teams (or any two players at the beginning of their careers) dream about this amount of ‘failure’?
 

Euclis20

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How many teams (or any two players at the beginning of their careers) dream about this amount of ‘failure’?
For what it's worth (and I have no idea how much it's worth), the only other team without a title over the last decade that can claim to be more successful that the Celtics are the Heat. I honestly don't know how proud the team and the participants should be about that.
 

TripleOT

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Maybe it isn't failure as much as losing to better teams.
Boston was, on paper and by regular season record, a better team than Miami, even before the Heat lost Herro and Olidepo. Boston was a better team than the Warriors the year before. Boston was a better team than the Heat in the bubble season. All three victors managed to pull together and do enough to beat the Celtics.

The great Celtics teams from the Bird era were able to impose their will on inferior opponents most of the time. The Jays led Celtics haven’t been able to figure out how to do that yet. Dispatching vastly inferior opponents in early playoff rounds, holding big leads against good opponents, and making plays in crunch time is the formula for playoff success. The Celtics haven’t done enough of these things.
 

TripleOT

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How many teams (or any two players at the beginning of their careers) dream about this amount of ‘failure’?
To me, the Celtics have had a higher standard than just going deep in the playoffs. If the Jays don’t win at least one title, how can that not be seen as a failure?
 

Euclis20

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To me, the Celtics have had a higher standard than just going deep in the playoffs. If the Jays don’t win at least one title, how can that not be seen as a failure?
Right now, they are exactly as successful as the Durant/Westbrook Thunder: Four trips to the WCF and one finals appearance.

I think it's acceptable that they haven't won yet, given that it's really hard to do so when your two best players are in their early to mid 20s (other than the 2015 Warriors, I'm having a hard time finding a recent champ whose two best players were both 26 and younger). Assuming Tatum signs his super max a year from now (no indication otherwise yet), they'll have the chance to be together through their 20s. No excuses if they don't win a title with this group when it's all said and done.
 

TripleOT

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Right now, they are exactly as successful as the Durant/Westbrook Thunder: Four trips to the WCF and one finals appearance.

I think it's acceptable that they haven't won yet, given that it's really hard to do so when your two best players are in their early to mid 20s (other than the 2015 Warriors, I'm having a hard time finding a recent champ whose two best players were both 26 and younger). Assuming Tatum signs his super max a year from now (no indication otherwise yet), they'll have the chance to be together through their 20s. No excuses if they don't win a title with this group when it's all said and done.
Interesting comp to OKC, which made some bad personnel choices after that Finals appearance. Boston seems to be on the right track in surrounding the Jays with the right players. The lack of continuity from the Finals year to last season due to Udoka not able to hold himself to the standard expected of him certainly contributed to the failure to win the title. I’m looking forward to this Celtics team, and excited to see what KP brings on offense and defense. I really like the additions of Charles Lee and especially Banner 17 contributor Sam Cassell to the coaching staff. Not having an experienced NBA former player on the staff, someone who had been through playoff adversity and could help the players handle it, was a detriment