Jaylen Brown couldn’t help it.
“I wish we had more details,” Brown said.
Jason Tatum didn’t have anything either.
“I just don’t know,” Tatum said.
Marcus Smart made a candid assessment of what the past few days have been like.
“It was hell for us,” Smart said.
Days after coach Im Odoka was announced a season-long suspension, the Celtics appeared at their annual team media day in search of answers. They know that Odoka has been exiled due to the team’s abuse, sources said Sports Illustrated She had an inappropriate intimate relationship with an employee.
On top of that, the Celtics insist they don’t know much.
“From what we know, it’s hard to make a decision based on whether or not the decision is consensual in the workplace,” Brown said. “We know this has happened before in the workplace. But I think there is more to it [that] Perhaps, which I do not know. I don’t have all the details. It is not shared with me.”
Tatum added, “You read the statement, you watch the press conference; there seems to be a lot of things they can’t talk about. I’m kind of in the same boat. I don’t know. It’s hard for me to answer whether things were handled the right way or not. … I just do not know. “
Boston will start the season with a tournament-ready roster. The core of the team is back. Tatum modified his diet last summer. Brown says he’s at the best of his life.
Added to the mix is Malcolm Brogdon, a former Pacer player who acquired him at the offseason. Brugdon said Indiana allowed him to choose from several potential teams. He chose Boston because: “I want to win.”
“It doesn’t matter if I’m the sixth man, whatever role I play,” said Brogdon. “I will kiss him and I will go over there and cuddle him.”
In theory, not even Robert Williams’ third possible three-month absence from knee surgery should slow this team down.
But Odoka’s absence raised questions.
On Monday, Joe Mazzola debuted as interim coach for Boston. He is a rising star in the coaching ranks. What he lacks in experience (three years on an NBA bench), he makes up for with a solid basketball IQ. Team officials will tell you that Mazola played a key role in developing the Celtics’ top-ranked defense last season. Brogdon described Mazzulla as “impressive,” citing his reputation for providing detailed exploratory reports. He says in his early morning encounters with Mazola in the Boston weight room, Mazola showed a real appetite for learning. Former Celtics general manager Danny Inge thought enough of Mazzulla to make him one of the finalists for the jazz coaching position last summer.
Mazola looked poised during his first public comments. He said he did not confuse his players in his early days on the job. “You can’t rush your recovery,” Mazola said. He joked that Brad Stevens might have had a concussion the day he hired him for the job. He said the team’s ability to focus on what made them successful last season will be key to hitting the ground this season.
“I think we should do it together,” Mazola said. “I don’t think we need to speed up decisions or speed up identity. I think we have to be patient. We have to rely on the foundations we built as much as relationships. And the foundations and habits we built on the basketball court, because they work.”
But Mazola, 34, is young. His coaching experience spans two seasons in Vermont State. Udoka’s credibility has been backed by a seven-year career and successful coaching aids in San Antonio and Brooklyn. Oduka gave an air of oomph in the Celtics’ locker room. Mazola will have to find a way to replicate this.
He will also lead a team that may still be wondering why Mazola coached them in the first place. The players obviously understood that Odoka did it Something To justify the team penalty. It is unclear whether they think Odoka deserves such cruelty. Because the Boston brass is as tough with them as they were with the media last week, it has caused confusion.
I asked Smart if he thought the players owed more information.
“Yes,” Smart said. “[But] We don’t know what the organization knows. So it’s kind of hard to say. We don’t know what they know. We don’t know what they’re supposed to tell us. Or what we are supposed to know. That’s why this is where it is. Literally nobody knows anything. We are still waiting like everyone else.
“As a player you would like to be known. But at the same time, it’s none of our business. It’s their lives. They are the people who are involved. This is between them. We must respect their privacy. Just as we want to respect our privacy. As a player you want to know.” [But] It’s not an obligation.”
Mazola will have three weeks to work with the team before the start of the regular season. It is not expected to change much. The hope is that the Celtics, with the best NBA net rating (+12.7) since January 1, have the highest scoring margin in the league (+12.2) after January 1, with an NBA defensive rating (105.2). Since January 1, they will resume where they left off.
If they did, the questions about Udoka would fade away. If they do not, it will be difficult to escape from these questions.
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