The season-long suspension of Ime Udoka created a public stir that Brad Stevens will perhaps take over again as the chief of the Boston Celtics’ coaching helm.
But Stevens reiterated that other than several factors, he mostly believes that Joe Mazzulla is the best man for the job.
Mazzulla will sit in as the team’s interim head coach this looming 2022-2023 season, and Stevens can only offer optimism for the 34-year-old mentor.
“Joe is the best choice to do that by a long shot. So as you go through this whole process, it all hits you, but I think we have the best people in place to do that, and Joe is the best person to do that in our organization,” Stevens said, per Brian Robb of MassLive. “I think the other part of it is, there’s a lot of factors in play of why I wouldn’t necessarily even want to do that.”
Stevens, the Cs’ current President of Basketball Operations, noted that he’ll help when Mazzulla reaches out, but made it clear that he won’t cross the line to do his primary job of guiding the team.
“I do think that – and I’ve told Joe this – I’m going to be there for him without stepping on his toes as much as he needs, but he doesn’t need much,” Stevens said. “I believe in that strongly. And hopefully, I can help him with any questions he has as he goes through it, but sometimes you just need someone who has been there next to you, to be able to go in and let your shoulders down and talk about what you’re going through, and hopefully, I can be that for him.”
The former coach himself understands that there could be further additions on the coaching staff of Mazzulla. But for now, faith remains intact especially on the side of assistants Damon Stoudamire and Ben Sullivan.
“We haven’t gone into a ton of discussions about adding to the staff,” Stevens said. “I think the staff checks a lot of boxes as is. There may be an addition. But I believe, we have several young coaches but several of them have years and years of experience. I referred to Damon Stoudamire and Ben (Sullivan) because I think they have the most experience and I think they’re really really going to help us. I think they’re people we considered too. They’re future head coaches.”
Mazzulla will take a daunting assignment of leading a Celtics team that boasts championship-level talent and aspirations. As such, the promising wits he possesses in holding a drawing board will be tested as the team’s training camp opens this Thursday.