The Right Hire
Will Ime Udoka be a good head coach? I think so but I have no idea. Do I think he is a good hire? Absolutely.
The Boston Celtics named Ime Udoka as the 18th head coach in franchise history yesterday and while we won’t know if he’s actually a good coach for at least a couple years I think it’s safe to say he was the right hire.
Udoka checks all the boxes for what I believe the Celtics needed in a head coach. He’s a former player, he’s an experienced assistant coach, he’s defensive oriented, he’s a man of color, he’s familiar with the roster, he relates to the players, he’s got an edge to him. He’s exactly the type of coach this team needs, he’s the polar opposite of Brad Stevens.
Udoka played in the NBA but was not the best player. He had to work hard and fight for his opportunities. I think not being a great player has helped him become a better coach. He had learn different positions, had to become more fundamentally sound, learn more plays, become a good defender, he did whatever it took to get on the floor. That knowledge has helped him in his post-playing career.
As an assistant coach, Udoka worked for seven years on the Spurs staff under coach Gregg Popovich. Doesn’t get much better than learning everything you know from coach Popovich. He got to coach in big games and high pressure situations and won a ring as an assistant in 2014. Recently he spent a season on the 76ers staff and last year on the Nets staff. He has coached many star players including Duncan, Kawhi, Kyrie, Durant, Harden and Embiid. He knows how to deal with stars and egos.
You don’t have to listen to Udoka for very long to realize he brings an edge. The Celtics needed to hire a coach that can motivate Tatum and Brown, get the most out of them and Udoka fits the bill. He said it himself in his introductory press conference that he’s going to be on the players asses, that it’s his job to push Tatum and Brown to be greater and that the team has some dogs and it’s his job to bring the dog out. The Celtics were soft under Brad Stevens, especially recently. He struggled to motivate them, he couldn’t get the most out of them. They needed a new voice, someone they could relate to, someone they will listen to, someone that can get the absolute most out of every player on this roster.
Ime Udoka was the perfect choice. Does that mean he’s going to be a great head coach and lead this team back to the NBA Finals? No idea, only time will tell but I think Udoka has as good of a chance as any other candidate on the market and for me, something about him just feels right, I think he’s going to be a good one.