Mazzulla for Coach of the Year? What oddsmakers think of his chances originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
New coach, same goal for the Boston Celtics in 2022-23.
The C's remain odds-on favorites to win the 2023 NBA Finals despite losing head coach Ime Udoka to a season-long suspension. Udoka's assistant, Joe Mazzulla, will replace him in the interim with high expectations.
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Even without Udoka, it's championship or bust for Boston. There is a strong belief these Celtics have the talent to return to the NBA Finals and avenge last season's devastating loss to the Golden State Warriors. If that happens, you can bet the Larry O'Brien Trophy won't be the only hardware given to Mazzulla at the end of the campaign.
Mazzulla, as Udoka did prior to his suspension, has a real chance to earn NBA Coach of the Year honors if the C's can overcome their adversity. According to PointsBet Sportsbook, the 34-year-old has +1400 odds to win the award for 2022-23. That ties him for the fifth-best odds among NBA head coaches heading into the new season.
The only coaches with better odds than Mazzulla are Taylor Jenkins (Memphis Grizzlies, +900), Chris Finch (Minnesota Timberwolves, (+1000), Tyronn Lue (Los Angeles Clippers, +1100), and Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat, +1100). Michael Malone (Denver Nuggets) and Willie Green (New Orleans Pelicans) are tied with Mazzulla at +1400.
Prior to his suspension, Udoka was the favorite to win the award at +850. He finished fourth in Coach of the Year voting last season.
Of course, the Coach of the Year award is likely the last thing on Mazzulla's mind with the regular-season opener right around the corner. The Celtics started training camp on Tuesday and are preparing for their first preseason game on Oct. 2.
Mazzulla's first official game as Celtics head coach will take place Oct. 18 at TD Garden against the Philadelphia 76ers.