Boston selects Ime Udoka as next Celtics head coach
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Boston Celtics have chosen Ime Udoka as the club’s next head coach. Udoka, 43, spent the 20-21 season as an assistant for the Brooklyn Nets.
Udoka will become the 18th head coach in franchise history as he seeks to succeed newly minted president of basketball operations Brad Stevens. There are several reasons why Udoka is such an intriguing pick.
First, Udoka has been an assistant head coach in the NBA since 2012, spending time with the Spurs and 76ers, as well as the Nets. He has first-hand experience with not only contenders and high-powered offenses, but he’s also seen some of the biggest failures in recent NBA history. Although this will be his first head coaching gig, he offers a tremendous amount of perspective.
Importantly, Udoka worked under Greg Popovich, and should bring a healthy dose of San Antonio’s offensive ethos to Boston. With Kemba Walker gone and Al Horford back in the Hub, the Celtics will need to have a very dynamic offensive scheme without a traditional point guard at the helm.
Second, Udoka is a former player, and one with great credibility around the league. According to Woj, he has “significant support from Celtics players who were impressed with Udoka after working under him with Team USA in the World’s.”
Talking to some NBA coaches and here’s what the say Ime Udoka’s strengths are:
-“He’s a connector. He’ll build relationships, real ones, with everyone in the building very quickly.”
-“Defense. He played in the league because of his defense. That’s his calling card as a coach.”
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 23, 2021
Perhaps most crucially, Boston hired a non-white coach. The Celtics have historically been one of the most progressive team’s in the league, but the organization has recently received criticized for some of its lack of vision in this arena. That Brad Stevens was promoted without an official job interview process was controversial, for example.
Boston’s own players have discussed a desire to have a black coach. Here’s a tweet from Jaylen Brown as the coaching search was at its peak; the C’s needed to bringing in someone who has the respect and admiration of Brown and Jayson Tatum.
Analytics : 7 nba teams are remaining 4 are lead by African American head coaches
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) June 15, 2021
In hiring Udoka, the Celtics can perhaps begin to right some of the bad juju lingering in the locker room. Likewise, Udoka is the right man for this current roster, and hopefully can begin to maximize its potential.
This offseason is just getting started, folks.
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