First Impressions of Joe Mazzulla’s Celtics

by | Oct 20, 2022

After a sunny start to the offseason the Boston Celtics faced a tumultuous end.

Injuries to Danilo Gallinari, Robert Williams, and the suspension of coach Ime Udoka overshadowed the marvelous moves made by President of Basketball Operations, Brad Stevens. All these events left players and fans with an abundance of worry and questions. Media day didn’t serve as a calming presence given that every player had no clue what the Udoka situation entailed.

However, the team since that point has quickly put the situation behind them. Joe Mazzulla’s elevation left concern in many eyes. The biggest question mark though was experience. Mazzulla spent two years as the head coach of Fairmont State. He went 43-17 in his two years there before joining Boston in 2019. Since then, he has been a well-respected assistant in the organization.

The concerns reasonable or not showed no dominion in his first win where the Celtics looked a bit different.

Pace and Fast Break Points

Pace and fast break points certainly looked to be an emphasis in game 1. The Celtics absolutely flew up the court after defensive rebounds and even 76er scores. Movement and attacking early leaves the defense in disarray.

Exhibit A:

Getting the ball up quick is good but immediately getting into actions is key. White, while being a guard, is an underrated screener and sets a pin down for Jaylen Brown. Tyrese Maxey drops and gives a cushion to Jaylen who closes the space forcing Embiid to help. Ball swings around to Tatum for a corner three.

There are many negatives to not having Robert Williams healthy, but one advantage is that every starter can initiate offense. You essentially now have four guard-like handlers in that lineup and Al Horford. With every core guy being under 30 except Al, the pace and fast break opportunities should be no fluke.

Speaking of fast breaks, the Celtics completely dominated in that area Tuesday night. They outscored Philly 24 to 2 in that department. Brown and Jayson Tatum both scored 10 points in transition combining for 83% of the team’s fast break points. Those points were also over 25% of their entire scoring output.

According to NBA.com’s team play type statistics, the Celtics ranked 28th in fast break points last season. Moreover, they were bottom 10 in fast break frequency, fast break possessions per game, and points per fast break. Celtics weren’t getting out in transition enough and when they were, the turnover frequency in these situations were the eighth highest. Despite this, the Jays both ranked top 20 in fast break points per game.

With two of the more physically skilled wings in the league and a stifling defense, scoring in transition shouldn’t be an issue they just have to get there.

Ball Security

As anyone who watched basketball last year knows, the Celtics were plagued by turnovers. Their finals run, while impressive, featured a playoff high 353 turnovers. This was 33 more than any other team. Furthermore, Tatum and Brown were top two in total playoff giveaways.

I may have given myself PTSD talking about the turnovers from last year but it’s important that it’s improved upon. Tuesday’s opener saw the Celtics turn it over only 10 times. Last season the Celtics had fewer than 10 turnovers in only eight of their 82 games. This was the second fewest games of such turnovers in the league. The new guy Malcolm Brogdon detailed how he could help the Jays by being a “calming presence” in his first Celtics interview after he was acquired. He gave us a glimpse of that in the opener.

In just 24 minutes Brogdon posted 4 assists and only one turnover. Not a spectacular number at all, but his controlled rim pressures helped Tatum get some of the easiest looks he’s got in a long time. Over the last three seasons he has logged an assist to turnover ratio of 2.86. Hopefully, he can continue this on the Celtics.

Much has been said about Marcus Smart‘s role with the addition of Brogdon, but it only helps in my opinion. It allows him to get from under the playmaking microscope he was always under last year. Quite honestly, he exceeded expectations in that role, and he can still have nights where he is the best passer. He led the team with 66 passes and 7 assists against the 76ers.

The Smart and Brogdon duo as playmakers can push this team over the top when it matters the most and valuing possessions should be a top priority.

Big Man Depth

If there is one hole in this team its the lack of center depth.

Even though Horford physically looks great I would have loved for his minutes to be cut down this year. We will need the 36-year-old healthy come playoff time but behind him is Noah Vonleh.

Even though he closed the game really strong after some early foul trouble, I’m not particularly sold on his ability to consistently impact. With that being said, it’s perfectly possible that he doesn’t need to be good every night. Playing that position by committee and going with the best matchup that night can be good if Blake Griffin and Luke Kornet can give some effective play. Grant Williams continues to be a solid small ball five option when needed. Rebounding was also thought to be a problem for the undersized C’s but if the wings and big guards can come down and board consistently it’ll all be alright.

The roles of every Celtic’s big gained weight when the news of Rob Will’s injury surfaced. I’m interested to see what big emerges as the best behind Al and if external options will be explored during the season.

Outlook

This team has serious potential to get over the hump this time but Mazzulla and the guys will have to figure out a number of things much before they reach that point.

Next Game: Friday October 21st, Vs. Miami Heat

Check out more of my content!  

Author Page: https://thepeachbasket.net/author/nikland/  

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxSTqxDdzvyNWQWYATRPGNQ  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/__Kingnik

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More from thePeachBasket

More from thePeachBasket

  • New York Knicks: All-Star Brunson?
    Log in to your account so that you can subscribe to topics you're interested in! Login Even though the Knicks […]
  • The Curious Case Of The Atlantic Hawks
    Log in to your account so that you can subscribe to topics you're interested in! Login Two years ago the […]
  • One change can make a big difference
    Log in to your account so that you can subscribe to topics you're interested in! Login A stat that was […]
  • Cleveland Cavaliers Look To Be Back On Track
    Log in to your account so that you can subscribe to topics you're interested in! Login It looks as if […]
  • Random NBA Thoughts #3
    Log in to your account so that you can subscribe to topics you're interested in! Login The Washington Wizards have […]

New York Knicks: All-Star Brunson?

New York Knicks: All-Star Brunson?

Even though the Knicks haven't been the best, Jalen Brunson has played very well so far. Can he possibly make his 1st All-Star appearance this season? Thus far, Jalen Brunson has proven to be the Knicks best free agent signing in years. It’s been a long time since...

The Curious Case Of The Atlantic Hawks

The Curious Case Of The Atlantic Hawks

Two years ago the Atlanta Hawks were the up and coming team in the NBA. The Hawks lost to the future champions, Milwaukee Bucks, in the conference finals and their future looked bright. Something happened to them since then and it isn't working out as thought. In...

One change can make a big difference

One change can make a big difference

A stat that was brought up a lot last season was Bradley Beal's three point shooting percentage. During the 2021-2022 season, Beal shot a career low 30 percent from long range. Prior to last season, Beal had never shot below 35 percent from three. So the sudden drop...

Cleveland Cavaliers Look To Be Back On Track

Cleveland Cavaliers Look To Be Back On Track

It looks as if the Cavs have recovered to right the ship. Back at home for a 4-game home stand, the Cleveland Cavaliers returned from a disappointing road trip that saw them lose five straight games after opening the season 8-1. They have now won 4 straight at home,...

Random NBA Thoughts #3

Random NBA Thoughts #3

The Washington Wizards have improved with the addition of Kristaps Porzingis this year. Their defense has improved going from twenty-fifth in the league to ninth in points allowed per one hundred possessions. Though they have improved they appear to be a team stuck in...

Time heals everything

Time heals everything

Gilbert Arenas was worried that he was going to receive some boos from the crowd during the halftime celebration. I was in attendance for last night's game, and let me tell you something. I did not hear one boo from any part of the arena. When Arenas was introduced,...

Four game winning streak

Four game winning streak

The Washington Wizards went on a four game winning streak without Bradley Beal. That is a good thing in my opinion. That means the team has enough depth to compete without Beal. Guys stepped up and had big games. In the perfect world, that is the type of roster you...

How Good Are The Celtics  – Only Time Will Tell

How Good Are The Celtics – Only Time Will Tell

The Boston Celtics are 12-3 and have won eight straight games. They have the best record in the NBA and are coming off a road blowout of the Atlanta Hawks. Is this for real or just a great run. The answer is complicated. Over the last year Jaylen Brown and Jayson...

Celtics Flip the Switch vs. Thunder

Celtics Flip the Switch vs. Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder led the Boston Celtics 90-75 with 4:11 left in the third quarter but to quote Jaylen Brown, the energy shifted. In a 126-122 high scoring affair the Thunder actually had control for most of the game. Their length and intensity through about...

Cleveland Cavaliers: Back to Earth

Cleveland Cavaliers: Back to Earth

The Cleveland Cavaliers set the NBA world on fire by acquiring 3-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell in a blockbuster off-season trade. They then sprinted out to an 8-1 start, beating several good teams in the process and sparking championship talk throughout the league....

New York Knicks: Where’s the D?

New York Knicks: Where’s the D?

The Knicks can't seem to consistently play well on defense. Who’s to blame for this? It’s safe to say that the previous loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder this past Sunday might have been the worse defensive performance from the Knicks so far this season. Not only did...

Random NBA Thoughts Number 2

Random NBA Thoughts Number 2

Kyrie, Kyrie, Kyrie, did it surprise anybody this week when an NBA scout said that Kyrie Irving didn't follow Steve Nash's play calls ten different times. I think Nash is the luckiest one in the Nets' mess and he got fired. If you are wondering who has the best future...

Missed shots can be contagious

Missed shots can be contagious

As I mentioned on Monday , the Washington Wizards are not a good offensive team at the moment. A large part of the reason is their three point shooting. Washington is currently shooting 30% from beyond the arc this season according to StatMuse. Which is second to last...

New York Knicks: 2nd Half Blues

New York Knicks: 2nd Half Blues

The Knicks continue to blow leads and not close out games in crunch time.  When will it end? The Knicks have hit an early rough patch in this new season due to one everlasting issue. CLOSING OUT GAMES! It’s something about the Knicks in the second half that just makes...

Leon Rose and the NY Knicks

Leon Rose and the NY Knicks

Leon Rose was hired as president of the New York Knicks on March 2nd, 2020. In that time he has brought in ten of the top thirteen players on the Knicks roster. He also hired Tom Thibodeau as his head coach. Looking at the players he has brought into the organization...

Johnny Davis recalled from G League

Johnny Davis recalled from G League

After a 2 game stint in the G league, Johnny Davis will rejoin the Washington Wizards on Monday in Charlotte. After playing limited minutes in Friday's loss to the Brooklyn Nets, Davis was assigned to the Capital City Go-Go.  In his G league debut Davis scored 13...

Celtics Tame Bulls in TD Garden

Celtics Tame Bulls in TD Garden

 The Boston Celtics got the better of the Chicago Bulls to even up the seasons series. Boston edged the Bulls 123-119 Friday night in the Garden in a scoring duel between Jayson Tatum and DeMar Derozan. First, Derozan had a vintage 46-point performance. He has...

New York Knicks: The Reddish Struggle

New York Knicks: The Reddish Struggle

Cam Reddish hasn't been much of a factor thus far this season. Can he change it around and prove that he is worthy? Besides his 22 point performance in the season opening thriller against the Grizzlies, Cam Reddish hasn’t been able to match that level of production....

Los Angeles Lakers shoot their way to win #1

Los Angeles Lakers shoot their way to win #1

The Los Angeles Lakers (1-5) beat the Denver Nuggets (4-3) tonight and the reason was clear, shooting! In their first five games the Lakers played solid defense. They came into the game against the Nuggets in the top 13 rebounding, steals and blocks.  In fact, they...

Los Angeles Lakers: Run it Back Week #2 [VIDEO]

Los Angeles Lakers: Run it Back Week #2 [VIDEO]

The following is a transcript of the video below Week 2 of the 2022-23 NBA season is over which means it’s time to Run it Back! This is Run it Back! NBA Week in Review - Los Angeles Lakers Edition! Ok, well, Week 2 was the first full week in the 2022-23 NBA season and...

Los Angeles Clippers: Run it Back Week #2 [VIDEO]

Los Angeles Clippers: Run it Back Week #2 [VIDEO]

The following is a transcript of the video below Week 2 of the 2022-23 NBA season is over which means it’s time to Run it Back! This is Run it Back! NBA Week in Review - Los Angeles Clippers Edition! After coming out of the gates strong in week 1, the Clippers took an...

I still believe in Johnny Davis

I still believe in Johnny Davis

Johnny Davis has struggled mightily early in his rookie season. Everyone knows that. But I still believe that Davis will eventually find his footing in the NBA. When Davis was drafted, ESPN mentioned two strengths of his game. Those strengths are toughness and scoring...

Cleveland Cavaliers: A Good Start

Cleveland Cavaliers: A Good Start

As the 2022-23 NBA season approached, the expectations for the Cleveland Cavaliers began to rise. The Cavs 2021-22 season exceeded expectations as no one thought that they would win more than 30 games, much less be in contention for the 4th seed in the east for most...

Bradley Beal: Stats won’t be everything

Bradley Beal: Stats won’t be everything

In four games, Bradley Beal is currently averaging 20.5 points per game. Which technically is a drop off from last season. Where Beal averaged 23.2 points per game. It is also technically a big drop off from the 31.3 points per game Beal averaged during the 2021...

Moving Jae Crowder Hardly Moves The Needle

Moving Jae Crowder Hardly Moves The Needle

One of the NBA’s most notorious journeyman is on the move once again. At first it was just rumors and speculation, but four games into the 2022-23 season and Crowder has yet to even iron his Phoenix Suns Jersey. Last year the big story was that the team might lose...

New York Knicks: Keys to Redemption

New York Knicks: Keys to Redemption

Everything went wrong for the Knicks last season. What can they do to turn it around this season? After a blowout win against the Detroit Pistons in the home opener, The Knicks currently hold a 1-1 record to start the 2022-2023 campaign. Besides the off-season...

Los Angeles Lakers: It’s Early, but…

Los Angeles Lakers: It’s Early, but…

Every major sports league has a few franchises that define that league. These are franchises that are, in a very real way, the face of that league. Generally, these franchises have won more than they have lost. They also have a long history in the sport. The New York...

Clippers Beat Lakers in Return of Leonard and Wall

Clippers Beat Lakers in Return of Leonard and Wall

Well, that was ugly. I'm not talking run-of-the-mill ugly either, this game was industrial strength yuckiness! Russell Westbrook went 0-11 (yet, played surprisingly well overall) No Clippers player scored more than 15 points Both teams combined for 30 turnovers! To be...

Random NBA Thoughts Number 1

Random NBA Thoughts Number 1

I want to think Philadelphia could be a top two team in the Eastern Conference but early returns show the same old Philly. Their offense is something from the nineties and they seem only mildly interested in playing defense. Here's hoping they figure it out. BTW if...

Los Angeles Lakers Game 1 Review

Los Angeles Lakers Game 1 Review

The Lakers v Warriors was a tale of two stories. One the box score told and the other you got by watching the game. @JoseSalviati breaks it down along with what he liked, didn’t like and thoughts on what the press is saying #LakeShow

Celtics Handle 76ers in Impressive Opener

Celtics Handle 76ers in Impressive Opener

The Boston Celtics open the 2022-2023 NBA season with a sound performance. TD Garden rocked in wake of a 126-117 winning effort from the home squad. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown looked like the best duo in basketball as they combined for 70 points defeating Joel...

Miami Heat: 2022-23 Preview Show [VIDEO]

Miami Heat: 2022-23 Preview Show [VIDEO]

Jose Salviati, Editor of thePeachBasket, and Isaac Edelman of FLTeams.com discuss the Miami Heat's 2022-23 season. Lost Markieff Morris Mychal Mulder Javonte Smart P.J. Tucker Added Jamal Cain Nikola Jovic Dru Smith Re-signed Dewayne Dedmon Udonis Haslem Tyler Herro...

The Redeem Team Documentary Reaction

The Redeem Team Documentary Reaction

When Netflix announced that they were releasing a documentary on the Redeem Team, I was hyped. The 2008 Olympics in Beijing is the first Olympics I watched on television. I was too young to remember or even care about the 2004 Olympics in Athens. I also, remember not...

Washington Wizards: I have to be honest

Washington Wizards: I have to be honest

When early October arrives, I get excited for the upcoming Wizards season. For the most part I am an optimistic fan. Even if the Wizards are not projected to do well, I still find something to be positive about. But I have to be honest. I am not all that excited for...

Did Beal really decline last season?

Did Beal really decline last season?

If we are relying on Beal's career stats, yes he did decline last season. A 8 point drop in points per game (31.3 ppg to 23.2 ppg) is a noticeable drop. But do basic box score stats always tell the complete story? For the most part they don't. In my opinion, Beal...

Player Empowerment

Player Empowerment

As a former boy's high school basketball coach I am watching the NBA's situation with Kevin Durant with amusement. I am also watching the load management situation amused. Both situations are out of control. My coaching career was in the eighties and nineties. During...

Remembering Bill Russell

Remembering Bill Russell

When you are a kid you have heroes. Your hero is selected by doing something in areas you are interested in. For me that hero was Bill Russell. I was mystified that his team always seemed to win. As I learned more about him I learned his teams won championships in...

NBA Random Summer Thoughts

NBA Random Summer Thoughts

1.I understand the Knicks signing Jalen Brunson because he is a good player and will help them. I also understand wanting Donovan Mitchell. I have a few problems though. One, by giving up players and draft picks it still won't get them a championship. Another problem...

Johnny Davis will be ok

Johnny Davis will be ok

Lets just call it like it is. Johnny Davis struggled in summer league. You don't even need to look at his stats. A quick Google search will bring up article after article about his summer league performance. As fans, it's easy to overreact. Johnny Davis was a top 10...

Summer League Is Almost Here

Summer League Is Almost Here

Summer League is just around the corner. I am very excited to be going to Las Vegas this year to see it live for myself. I really look forward to bringing you all coverage from there, starting next week. Please follow my Twitter page for live updates from Las Vegas....

2022 NBA Mock Draft (Lottery) Video

The 2022 NBA Draft might be one of the most unpredictable ones in recent history. Just a few days after the NBA Finals, draft night vastly approaches. As a result, Barclays Center in Brooklyn will be filled with young men moments away from a life long dream. Chet...

There is no such thing as a draft bust

There is no such thing as a draft bust

As a fan of the NBA during the mid 2000s and early 2010s, my dream was to play in the NBA. I was a 12-14 year old kid at the time, unaware of how difficult it actually is to play basketball at a high level. The love for the game was there, but I was severely lacking...

Revisiting Draymond Green’s podcast

Revisiting Draymond Green’s podcast

When you are wrong, the best thing to do is admit that you are wrong. For me, this meant revisiting my take from last week about Draymond Green’s podcast. If you double down on what you said, you come across as a hater or someone who is bias. I don’t want to come across as someone who is a hater. When I said Draymond should stop podcasting, the Warriors were down 2-1 in the series. Green was not playing well at all. In fact, through the first three games of the series he averaged more fouls per game than points.

Finals Observations

Finals Observations

Hats off to the Warriors as they defeated the Celtics in six games and it wasn't that close. The Warriors used their championship pedigree good defense and great ball movement to wear down the Celtics. Defensively the Warriors were outstanding forcing everything to...

Steph Curry 2022 NBA Finals

Steph Curry 2022 NBA Finals

In the 2022 NBA Finals, Steph Curry averaged 31.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game. On 48/42/86 shooting splits. Very impressive numbers, which resulted in Curry winning the Finals MVP award. As impressive as those numbers are, that is not what stood out...

Game 5 Observations

Game 5 Observations

The Warriors defeated the Celtics in Game 5 104-94. Here are some observation from the game: The Warriors are giving the Celtics a lesson in how to stay in their offense. This may come from their championship pedigree. Boston seems to panic and revert to iso ball like...

Andrew Wiggins Leads Warriors to 3-2 Series Advantage vs Celtics

Andrew Wiggins Leads Warriors to 3-2 Series Advantage vs Celtics

The Boston Celtics squandered an opportunity to get one step closer to becoming champions. The Golden State Warriors took a 3-2 series advantage beating the Celtics 104-94. Being almost superhuman for the first four games, Stephen Curry was bound to have an off-night....

Game 4 Observations

Game 4 Observations

The big story of this game was Steph Curry. He scored forty-three points on fourteen for twenty-six shooting and seven for fourteen from the three. It seemed every time Golden State needed a basket he got it for them. Curry also had ten rebounds helping Golden State...

Stop podcasting

Stop podcasting

I am not a Draymond Green hater. I appreciate what he brings to the Golden State Warriors. His stats aren't imposing, but Green has such a great basketball mind. That is why he is able to have such a big impact on the game without being a great scoring threat. His...