HERE WE GO: Jeff Van Gundy’s hiring by the Celtics a “no-brainer,” according to Joe Mazzulla

Boston, MA Despite being affiliated with the team, Jeff Van Gundy, a longtime analyst and former NBA coach, will not be on the Celtics bench. Rather, he serves as a resource for basketball operations, particularly with the Maine Celtics of the G-League.

Nevertheless, Van Gundy adds a great deal of value to the company even if he isn’t directly on Joe Mazzulla’s team. Van Gundy will attend every meeting while in Boston, according to Mazzulla, serving as an additional resource for the second-year coach and the team’s other players. It’s a “bird’s eye view,” according to Mazzulla, that allows Van Gundy to observe the Celtics objectively.

“Anytime you can add like high-character, high-level, professional people, I think it’s a no-brainer,” Mazzulla said. “Fortunate enough that he’s here, not just for the coaching staff, but for everybody and he’s been through every imaginable situation in the NBA, in coaching, FIBA, NBA and so we’re just lucky to have him. And he’s a great listener and a great worker. So he’s added a lot of value, even in the first couple of weeks.”

Van Gundy spent the last 16 seasons with ESPN as a color commentator. But he was laid off by the network this summer, allowing him to explore future opportunities. Now, he’s with the Celtics as he had a preexisting relationship with Boston president Brad Stevens.

Van Gundy was an NBA coach before his time on TV. He had a 430-318 record in 11 seasons as a head coach for the Knicks and Rockets. He also led New York to the 1999 NBA Finals, losing to the Spurs. He’s a respected voice in the NBA, and the Celtics get to pick his brain consistently.

“Try to run a lot of stuff by him,” Mazzulla said. “It’s good to get a guy who hasn’t been here before that can kind of have an unbiased opinion as to where he thinks things are, and where they need to go. And so he’s kind of like a fresh set of eyes because he’s not around all the time. And he’s looking at it from an unbiased position, which kind of gives us an advantage because you kind of see it in a different perspective.”

 

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