Boston Celtics: 3 questions in the wake of the Ime Udoka suspension

Head coach Ime Udoka of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Head coach Ime Udoka of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Boston Celtics
Head coach Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Boston Celtics question No. 2: Will Joe Mazzulla be able to make the transition from assistant coach to head coach?

Since Udoka is now out for the entire season, someone is going to have to step up and fill in for him. With that in mind, the front office settled on assistant coach Joe Mazzulla to fill in for Udoka in the interim. It only took a short amount of time for Mazzulla’s decision to be a polarizing one.

While Mazzulla was a finalist for the Utah Jazz’s head coaching vacancy, fans were quick to note that Mazzulla’s rap sheet wasn’t very clean either. He has had several run-ins with the law dating back to his days in college, with most folks being concerned about a domestic battery charge he picked up back in 2009.

That was obviously a long time ago, but it still isn’t a great look for the Celtics. When discussing Mazzulla’s appointment, Stevens acknowledged his prior transgressions, but believes he’s learned from and it’s helped make him a better man and a better coach. It’s clear Stevens and the rest of Boston’s front office hope that’s the case.

Chowder And Champions
Chowder And Champions /

Want your voice heard? Join the Chowder And Champions team!

Write for us!

Even beyond that, Mazzulla is going to have his work cut out for him. He’s going to have to take charge of a locker room that was devoted to Udoka and enjoyed playing for him. Mazzulla knows how Udoka ran things last season, and will likely try to replicate it as much as he can this season, but at some point he’s going to have to step out of Udoka’s shadow is he wants to be successful.

It’s quite a situation to inherit for your first head coaching gig, and we are quickly going to find out whether Mazzulla is cut out for this job. He’s got his work cut out for him, and managing the egos of the stars on this team could prove to be a more difficult challenge than initially expected. Whether Mazzulla can successfully replace Udoka will play a big role in Boston’s success this upcoming season.