The Boston Celtics have had three different coaches in the past three years, but their core of players has been pretty much the same.
They maxed out under Brad Stevens, who later took a different — and bigger — role with the organization.
They got off to a slow start under Ime Udoka, but they turned the page and made it to the NBA Finals in just one season.
Then, with Udoka being suspended and consequentially fired, it was Joe Mazzulla’s turn to carry the torch, and he was one win away from another trip to the NBA Finals.
"I give Joe my respect."
Jaylen Brown on Joe Mazzulla's journey as a head coach this season pic.twitter.com/FHtVczELh6
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 30, 2023
That’s why Celtics star Jaylen Brown wanted to tip his hat to his rookie coach, praising him and showing him plenty of respect for putting them in a position to bounce back and make history.
Mazzulla faced plenty of backlash and criticism for digging himself into a 3-0 hole in the Eastern Conference Finals, and it became clear that he was no match for Erik Spoelstra’s savviness and experience.
But he was able to make adjustments, regroup, and bring his team all the way back into the series with three wins in a row.
Mazzulla didn’t have any well-known assistants on his staff after losing Will Hardy to the Utah Jazz’s coaching job.
He showed some promise as a coach, and winning those three games might as well have given him the benefit of the doubt to run it back next season with the Celtics, something that seemed impossible just a couple of days ago.NEXT: Jayson Tatum Makes His Thoughts Clear On Jaylen Brown's Future