Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Joe Mazzulla on Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick White's All-Star snubs: 'Clearly winning is not important'

The Celtics are only sending two stars to this year's NBA All-Star Game in Indianapolis after the league announced last week that Trae Young and Scottie Barnes would replace Joel Embiid and Julius Randle due to injuries.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who have each five and three nods respectively will be great representations of the C's this weekend, both were surprised along with head coach Joe Mazzulla to learn that teammates Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick White were not named as All-Star replacements.
"Clearly winning is not important, huh? Winning's not valuable," Mazzulla said in his pregame comments Tuesday. "How could you not put both of those guys in? Winning's not the most important in the league."
Mazzulla spoke before the Celtics' 118-110 victory over the Nets on the first night of a home-and-home and without Porzingis (lower back contusion) in the lineup. The addition of the veteran big and his 20.4 points on 52.9% from the field, 7.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game average has been a huge reason for the team's great start.

White is having a career year in points (15.3), shooting (45.6% from the field), and assists (4.8) to go along with 3.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and a steal per contest -- could have enjoyed being a first-time All-Star, as he's also contributed in a major way to the Celtics owning the league's best record of 42-12.
"They are two guys that get it," Mazzulla added of Porzingis and White being All-Star worthy. "They are the guys that have been around and just want to play the right way -- want be a part of winning -- and winning's the most important thing to those two guys. At the end of the day, that's all that matters."
Meanwhile, Young -- whom many considered was a snub a season ago -- is having a solid year with averages of 27.0 points to pair with a career-high 10.9 assists per game. However, it's not translating into wins for the Hawks who currently sit as the 10th seed in the East.

As for Barnes, it's not any better when it comes to the 19-35 Raptors, as the 2022 Rookie of the Year is putting up career numbers across the board with 20.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game -- but not much impact in the win collum for the team north of the border.

While it's not known what went behind league commish Adam Silver's final decision to overlook winning in this case, Mazzulla can appreciate how his roster has remained focused on their ultimate goal of raising banner 18, especially when the season resumes next week.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

No comments:

Post a Comment