Celtics Hire New Coaches
The Boston Celtics hired two new assistant coaches, Kara Lawson and Joe Mazulla, to help their young team. The move comes after the departure of Micah Shrewsberry, who returned to the Purdue University coaching staff. Shrewsberry, a defensive-mined coach, was a Celtics assistant coach from 2013-2019. Shreewsberry also worked with Brad Stevens at Butler University from 2008-2011.
Kara Lawson is the third female coach in the NBA, joining Becky Hammon and Linsday Gottlieb. Gottlieb was hired by the Cavaliers earlier this month. Lawson comes highly decorated as a player. The University of Tennessee product made three Final Four appearances, and won Olympic gold in 2008. The 5th overall pick in the 2003 WNBA draft, Lawson had an All-Star career and was a pioneer in NBA broadcasting.
College-player-turned-coach Joe Mazulla led Fairmont State University to a 22-9 record in 2018-2019. Given that Mazulla played guard at West Virginia, he should relate to the Celtics young guards. In addition, Mazulla was also an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics’ G-League affiliate Maine Red Claws in 2016-2017. His experience with the system and player development could be invaluable.
New Blood for Young Blood
The NBA free agency period begins Sunday. The excitement level for fans is likely only surpassed by front office anxiety. The free agency bounty includes franchise-changing players like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and Klay Thompson. These players could be going to any one of several teams, including the Boston Celtics. Considering the moves the Celtics have pulled off in recent weeks, their free agency intentions are clear.
I wrote about the potential 2019-2020 Boston Celtics roster several weeks ago. Not much has changed, save the unexpected departures of Al Horford and Aron Baynes. The Celtics guarantee of Semi Ojeleye’s $1.62 Million next season means the roster has seven signed players. Other than the Celtics recent draft picks, the seven signed players average 23.6 years; that includes 29-year old Gordon Hayward. The recent coaching hires bring fresh perspective to a young basketball team, including the experience Mazulla has with the Celtics.
Brad Stevens and the Celtics front office are making the right moves. Boston is helping continue to break coaching barriers in the NBA. Another key point is hiring people familiar with their system and player development. The recent signing of Kemba Walker will certainly help Hayward anchor this young Celtics team. These coaching hires bring new experience, fresh perspectives and the Celtic familiarity necessary to make this roster a team.