If it is not broke, do not fix it. That seems to be the motto of the Boston Celtics with less than a week until opening night.
The Celtics are ‘confident’ in their current coaching staff and do not plan to add an outside assistant to join the interim head coach’s team Joe Mazzulla, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported Thursday.
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Boston has a vacancy on its team after former head coach Ime Udoka was suspended for the 2022-23 season, and the team explored hiring “several” assistant coaches, including former Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranagato help Mazzulla, 34, by Himmelsbach.
Mazzulla and the current squad, however, seem to have the team’s full support.
“He’s got a really good assist on his team,” Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said of Mazzulla earlier this offseason. “Damon Stoudamire and Ben Sullivan, those two guys are essential in my opinion, to Tony Dobbins, Aaron Miles, DJ MacLeay. … They’re a really good band and they’re going to have to stick together.”
As for the roster, Boston also plans to keep things in-house. Himmelsbach reports that the bottom two spots on Boston’s 15-man roster will “likely” be filled by players currently with the team.
Veteran striker Noah Vonleh is a strong candidate for one of those positions, according to Himmelsbach. The Haverhill, Massachusetts native has averaged 7.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in three preseason games, and the Celtics could use his presence on the glass with Robert Williams sidelined the first two months of the season.
The top three contenders for the final spot on the list are Mfiondu Kabengele, Justin Jackson and Jake Layman, according to Himmelsbach. Kabengele has already signed a two-way deal, which means he can play up to 50 regular season games with Boston, so there’s a good chance the Cs will keep him on that deal and give away the last slot of NBA level to Jackson or Layman.
The Celtics seem to have built strong chemistry after a run to the 2022 NBA Finals, so it makes sense they wouldn’t be looking to add a top veteran like Dwight Howard, for example. The team signed six-time All-Star Blake Griffin, but the 33-year-old seems to be getting along very well with his new Celtics teammates.
Boston opens its 2022-23 campaign on Tuesday, October 18 against the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden.