Joe Mazzulla. Apr 5, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla reacts to game action against the Sacramento Kings during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

It’s understandable that coaches want their teams locked in on the present and the future rather than looking back at the past. But even with that said, particular comments from Boston Celtics’ head coach Joe Mazzulla about his team not being represented in the overall list of NBA Awards finalists raised some eyebrows. For the record, here’s that list:

And here’s Mazzulla’s response, via Zack Cox of NESN:

Here’s a video from WEEI’s Justin Turpin that has the first part of that response, including the “I think it’s beautiful”:

On some levels, this approach makes sense. Yes, it doesn’t seem terribly smart for the Celtics (the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference) to be looking back at awards they were or were not nominated for when they have a much more important present challenge. They’re currently up 1-0 on the Miami Heat in the conference quarterfinals, and yes, their focus should be there. And there is some logic to the idea of the team not worrying about individual awards when they have a great team goal still ahead.

But with that said, “Why would you get an award for the past?” is a ludicrous comment. Awards are always about the past, and what you have accomplished. And that makes sense; past results come with clear criteria. And while there are attempts to forecast how teams will do going forward, those are much less notable than awards based on clear past performance. Mazzulla’s comments here make sense in terms of trying to motivate his team, but they miss the point in terms of awards overall.

[Zack Cox on Twitter/X]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.