Celtics hire Ime Udoka as HC

jasail

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Apr 23, 2010
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Count me as one of the many who know very little about this hiring but are rather optimistic given his pedigree, standing with players, and relationship with JT/JB/Marcus
 

Jimbodandy

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around the way
Really psyched about this. Would have been fine with Sam too, but Udoka's pedigree is so strong. Great experience as a player and assistant. Wish we could start the season now.
 

Mooch

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Reading up on Udoka, it seems like he was a big part of Kawhi Leonard's development into a premier two-way player and superstar.
 

Auger34

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Apr 23, 2010
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I like this. It's always hard to tell with assistants what is them vs. others, but I like what I hear, and I like that he has experience with multiple organizations on different HC's staffs, rather than being someone who has spent all his time with 1 HC.



I believe it is pronounced like "E-May" "Ooo-DoH-KUH" but the first sylable could be "you" over "ooo", kinda inconsistent there based on what I've heard from announcers, can't find a clip of him saying his own name to compare.
This is how I remembered it being pronounced when he played.
 

TheDeuce222

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For all the reasons others have said, it's a grand slam home run. Can't wait to see Udoka put his stamp on the team.
 

Auger34

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Wonder who his assistants will be. Really hoping that he holds onto Larranaga since he seems to be a shooting guru.
Wouldn’t be surprised if Lloyd Pierce is his lead assistant
 

Cellar-Door

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One concern.... between the Horford and Udoka additions.... are the Celtics going to be TOO handsome?
 

OurF'ingCity

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Reading up on Udoka, it seems like he was a big part of Kawhi Leonard's development into a premier two-way player and superstar.
If you watch the clips posted above he's asked that exact question and says that he actually didn't do much coaching of Kawhi in-season, but did a bit more during the off-season. So...maybe?

Either way I think the broader point is that he has tons of experience with star players at varying stages in their development - the Duncan/Parker/Ginobili trio, Kawhi (not sure if LMA was a "star" but he apparently had a very close relationship with Udoka), Embiid, Simmons, and obviously the Kyrie/Harden/Durant trio this year. That should be very valuable not only in connecting with Tatum and Jaylen, but also in potentially advising Brad on the kind of player that might be most suited to meshing with those guys to the extent the Cs have the chance in the next few years to add a potential "third star."
 

reggiecleveland

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He had me at "motion offense".
If you go into youtube and search "Spurs motion" you will see every NBA team running concepts Pop and the Spurs did first. Recently Pop seems ahead of the curve on midrange stuff, but much of that may just be using Derozan. They have been really good at getting guys they want shots, and the guy they don't want fewer shots. Sorry Grant.

I saw Pop speak once and the very first option on his motion offence became my high school offence for the past 4 years. His stuff is so smooth, and organic, it often looks like you are not running anything.

Suffice to say, I doubt we see much of one guy dribblng with 4 guys spotting up.
 

luckiestman

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He is a lot more handsome than Sam Cassell, that’s what I’ve got. This is a major positive.
 

JM3

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It's crazy when no one has anything negative to say about anything.

Optimal hire. I was more excited when they hired BRAD, but I was young & impressionable & assume this will work out perfectly.

I checked to see if Beal was on that 2019 USA basketball team, but apparently he backed out because he was having his 2nd child. I assume he bonded with IME before that, though, even if via wonderful phone calls.
 

JM3

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Maybe he just thought IME was hired as the Celtics 1st artistic coordinator.
 

ifmanis5

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Hopefully he knows he can call a timeout when his player gets injured and not keep running him back out there to get more hurt.
 

patinorange

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Aug 27, 2006
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This is what matters most. Yelling at the refs, constructing line-ups that satisfies 11% of this forum and using timeouts and challenges in a fan approved fashion matters not one whit. Do the stars want to play for him? That is the only question that matters.

As DJnVA notes, Stevens is pretty decisive and quick to execute. It seems like he has a plan...
His two big moves so far seem to be on the right track. Let's Go!
 

RG33

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My Nigerian buddies from Boston are pretty damn ecstatic on FB right now.

Love the hire. Pop Tree. Former player. African-American. Respected and relatable with today’s players. Experience working with Jays.

Grand slam.
 

ColonelMustard

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Oct 23, 2006
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Saw this Popovich Quote that got me pumped. I love the descriptor "exudes natural charisma".

"He exudes a confidence and a comfort in his own skin where people just gravitate to him," Popovich said, per Arnovitz. "He's a fundamentally sound teacher because he's comfortable with himself, he knows the material and players read it. Often times, I'll say, 'Ime, can you go talk to so-and-so? Go talk to Patty Mills, go talk to Timmy, go talk to Kawhi.' And he'll do it better than I would do it -- and I'm not blowing smoke. The only thing I don't like about him is that he doesn't drink, so I can't enjoy a glass of wine with him. He's really boring at dinner."

https://sports.yahoo.com/gregg-popovich-quote-celtics-coach-192145989.html

Apparently, LaMarcus Aldridge signed with the Spurs in 2015 because of Ime (who was a former teammate with the Blazers). https://www.basketballinsiders.com/nba-pm-udoka-helped-spurs-land-aldridge/
 
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Jed Zeppelin

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I am very much of the opinion that an NBA coach’s most important functions are managing personalities and keeping the team together and playing hard. With that in mind I love this move.

Not worried about scheme and all that, most teams run the same sets, just make sure the right guys are taking the right shots.
 

Imbricus

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Big thumbs up. I get the feeling this guy can kick a little ass too, which I don't think Stevens was all that comfortable doing.
 

RorschachsMask

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Putting this in spoiler tags, as it’s long. But it’s basically porn for us, and has me ready to run through a wall.

Ime has been just as we thought he would be,” Popovich said in 2013. “He’s a pro. He enjoys the discussions, the arguments about pick-and-roll and post defense and all that kind of junk. He understands what’s to be gained from watching and figuring things out that way. He’s at work all day, either in coaches’ meetings or watching or on the court, trying to get better at his craft.”

Popovich added: “The guys have reacted great to him. He has earned their respect, so much so that in his first year I put him in charge of 10 [opposing] teams. He is responsible for scouting reports for them, telling me what he thinks we should do against them. We talk about it, then he addresses the team [at shootaround], giving them the scouting report. He is doing the whole nine yards. He has been wonderful, he really has.”

Even then, in his first season as an assistant, Udoka had shown Popovich that he could be an NBA head coach some day.

“Absolutely,” Popovich said of that possible development. “Ime has the toughness and the mind to where he understands how to maintain discipline. A lot of coaches will give in and do what’s easy. He knows how to handle players. He has been able to stroke them and stay on them at the same time. That’s a really good quality. The players know he cares about them, but he can make demands and they respond to him. That’s important for a head coach. Players have great ‘BS antenna.’ If they think you don’t know what you’re doing, they’re going to call you out immediately.”


“He exudes a confidence and a comfort in his own skin where people just gravitate to him,” Popovich said in a 2015 ESPN story. “He’s a fundamentally sound teacher because he’s comfortable with himself, he knows the material and players read it. Often times, I’ll say, ‘Ime, can you go talk to so-and-so? Go talk to Patty Mills, go talk to Timmy [Duncan], go talk to Kawhi [Leonard].’ And he’ll do it better than I would do it — and I’m not blowing smoke.”

That experience and comfort talking to star players — something he experienced on the superteam Nets this past season — should obviously serve him well going forward.

Popovich, though, did fault Udoka in one specific area.

“The only thing I don’t like about him is that he doesn’t drink, so I can’t enjoy a glass of wine with him,” Popovich lamented. “He’s really boring at dinner.”

The Celtics are probably all right with that.

In 2018, Udoka said he shared some traits with Popovich.

“Overall my approach is similar to Pop, very demanding as well, but don’t get rattled on the outside,” Udoka said.

That being said, Udoka is wise enough to know that Popovich cannot be emulated.

“I would always emphasize in the meetings, ‘I learned a ton under Pop and been blessed to see what he does, but I’m not Pop. I’m my own person,'” Udoka said in 2019. “You have to stress that. The worst thing you can do is try to be somebody else and not be genuine with who you are. So, he’s always said that from Day 1. He said, ‘I brought you here to be yourself and be able to talk to guys and do what you do. They hear enough from me, so you got to be authentic in who you are.
https://boston.cbslocal.com/2021/06/23/ime-udoka-earned-gregg-popovich-respect-hes-a-pro/
 

snowmanny

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Dec 8, 2005
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Very optimistic about this hire. Udoka joints a list of Celtics African-American head coaches including Russell, Sanders, Jones, Carr, and Rivers. Has any other franchise had more?
Well the SuperSonics had Wilkins, Russell, Jones, Bickerstaff, and McMillan. But OKC has had zero I think.
Edit and Wilkens was twice.
 

Shaky Walton

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Nov 20, 2019
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With the admission that I loved Sam Cassell the player, and think his personality would likely translate to the HC role, and was hopeful that the Celts would want to hire him, this seems like a very good decision.

That Jayson and Jalen are in favor is extremely important to me.
 

PedroKsBambino

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The internet never forgets. Jay really should backpedal and apologize or just hand in his keys at ESPN.
Williams is now claiming he didn’t post it and his “password had now been changed”

So I think that makes him worse than Mort, unless you actually believe that explanation…