Boston Celtics’ Joe Mazzulla Betting Favorite for NBA Coach of the Year

Posted on: December 19, 2022, 10:37h. 

Last updated on: December 19, 2022, 12:01h.

Rookie head coach Joe Mazzulla from the Boston Celtics is the consensus favorite at +160 odds to win the 2022-23 NBA Coach of the Year. That’s after leading the Celtics to the best record in the NBA so far.

Joe Mazzulla Boston Celtics head coach of year odds NBA Willie Green Taylor Jenkins Will Hardy
Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla on the sidelines in a game against the Orlando Magic at TD Garden in Boston. (Image: AP)

Last week, Willie Green guided the New Orleans Pelicans to the top of the Western Conference, and emerged as the second favorite to win Coach of the Year at +300 odds.

NBA Head Coach
Coach of the Year Odds
Joe Mazzulla (Celtics) +160
Willie Green (Pelicans) +300
Will Hardy (Jazz) +500
Taylor Jenkins (Grizzlies) +600
Mike Brown (Kings) +700
Mike Budenholzer (Bucks) +1000
Michael Malone (Nuggets) +1200
Rick Carlisle (Pacers) +1200
Jacques Vaughn (Nets) +1200
JB Bickerstaff (Cavs) +1200
Chauncey Billups (Blazers) +2000
Monty Williams (Suns) +2500

Monty Williams is the reigning NBA Coach of the Year after the Phoenix Suns posted the best record in the league during the 2021-22 season. Williams is +2500 odds to win the prestigious award in back-to-back seasons, and is just outside the top 10 on DraftKings’ NBA Awards board. The Suns are 18-12 and currently the #4 seed in the Western Conference, but only 1.5 games out of first place.

Joe Mazzulla +160

With the season about to begin, the Celtics were embroiled in a huge scandal and without a head coach. The Celtics suspended head coach Ime Udoka for violating the team’s code of conduct because of an inappropriate relationship with a female staffer. Udoka entered the preseason as the betting favorite to win the 2023 NBA Coach of the Year after he led the Celtics to a 51-win season and a trip to the 2022 NBA Finals. Without a head coach, the Celtics had no choice but to promote someone from within the organization.

General manager Brad Stevens tapped longtime assistant Joe Mazzulla to take over. The abrupt coaching change didn’t have a negative effect on the team. The Celtics dominated in the first quarter of the season. They were the first team to win 20 games, and currently have the most wins with a 22-9 record.

Last season, the Celtics were known for their stifling switching defense. However, it’s their high-octane offense under Mazzulla that’s turning heads this season, averaging a league-best 118.2 points per game.

The scary thing about the Celtics is that Robert Williams III, their starting center and top defender, missed the first 29 games of this season while recovering from knee surgery. Even without Williams, the Celtics had the best record in the NBA, thanks to some clever scheming by Mazzulla.

Mazzulla is currently +160 odds to win the Coach of the Year, but he was as low as +130 last week.

Willie Green +300

At the start of last season, the New Orleans Pelicans looked awful after stumbling out of the gate with a 1-12 record. However, head coach Willie Green steered the Pelicans back on track, and they secured the #8 seed in the Western Conference even though Zion Williamson missed the entire season with a foot injury.

With a healthy Williamson leading the team in scoring this season, the Pelicans are one of the top teams in the Western Conference. They took over the #1 seed for a hot minute last week after back-to-back wins against the Phoenix Suns. The high-energy Pelicans average 117 points per game as the fifth-highest-scoring team in the NBA.

Green didn’t get any recognition for his sensational job turning around the Pelicans last season. But oddsmakers are paying attention this season. Green saw his NBA Coach of the Year odds bump from +350 last week to +300 this week.

Will Hardy +500

The Utah Jazz were shocked when head coach Quin Snyder abruptly stepped down in the off-season. The organization decided to trade its two best players — Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell — and rebuild the team.

The Jazz hired Hardy, who became the youngest head coach in the NBA at 34 years old. Hardy lacked experience as a head coach, but the wunderkind was widely regarded as one of the top assistants in the NBA.

Hardy was the primary assistant on the Celtics under Udoka. If he didn’t take the Jazz job, the Celtics would have promoted him as their head coach when they suspended Udoka.

Experts thought the Jazz would be one of the worst teams in the NBA this season and would be competing in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. But the opposite occurred. Hardy led the Jazz to a 10-3 record in their first 13 games, and he achieved the impressive feat without high-end stars like Mitchell and Gobert. The Jazz struggled over the last month, but they still have a 17-13 record and occupy the #7 seed in the Western Conference.

Hardy is the third-highest contender on the awards board at +500 odds to win Coach of the Year.

Taylor Jenkins +600

Fans in Memphis weren’t happy that Jenkins got snubbed last year in favor of Monty Williams. Jenkins didn’t win the 2022 NBA Coach of the Year after he led the Grizzlies to a 56-win season as the second-best team in the NBA.

Jenkins entered this season as one of the secondary favorites to win the 2023 Coach of the Year, behind Udoka. After Udoka’s suspension, Jenkins was the consensus favorite at the start of the season. His odds slipped a bit after strong starts from the Celtics, Pelicans, and Jazz.

Jenkins offers the best value on the board at +600 odds, because Coach of the Year voters tend to also take the previous season into consideration. It also helps that the Grizzlies are one of the hottest teams in the NBA, winning nine out of their last 11 games, which they achieved without starting guard Desmond Bane (toe injury). The Grizzlies are now 19-10 and jumped ahead of the Pelicans to seize first place in the Western Conference.