Celtics' Joe Mazzulla Calls Man City's Pep Guardiola 'the Best Coach' in Any Sport


Boston Celtics head coach has an interesting source of inspiration for his own coaching style and approach—Manchester City’s famed manager, Pep Guardiola.

“That is what the game of basketball is about, to me, and what counterattacking in soccer is about,” Mazzulla told The Athletic’s Jared Weiss regarding the free-flowing, transitionary nature of both sports. “So I study a lot of Man City. I study Pep a lot. I think he’s the best coach at any level, in any sport. It’s had a huge influence (on me).”

He added more insight into his overall philosophy on basketball:

“Everybody tries to break basketball up into offense and defense, but it’s one game. If your transition defense sucks, everybody talks about your transition defense. But it’s your spacing and your decision-making and your shot selection, then it’s your transition defense. I think where basketball and soccer are the same is the transition is happening so fast. You can be on offense and two seconds later, you can be on defense. So the game is constantly changing.”

So far, so good.

The Celtics are an NBA-best 45-12 this season, obliterating any concerns that a rebuilt roster would take time to adjust. Instead, the moves that brought aboard Kristaps Porziņģis and Jrue Holiday and sent out Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III, Malcolm Brogdon and Grant Williams, among others, have worked seamlessly.

The new-look team has allowed Mazzulla to more fully employ his footy-inspired philosophy and the results have been nothing short of brilliant. An NBA title is the end goal, but the Celtics are certainly on the right path.



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