Sports Q

Sports Q: Do you like the reported hiring of Ime Udoka as Celtics coach?

Ime Udoka with the 76ers in 2020. Getty Images

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Do you like the hiring of Ime Udoka as Celtics coach?

The Celtics haven’t formally announced anything at this writing, but Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday afternoon that the team was finalizing an agreement to hire Ime Udoka, most recently an assistant on Steve Nash’s staff in Brooklyn. That’s good enough to make me think the confirmation from the team will be popping up in inboxes soon.

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I like it a lot. Even if you preferred another candidate – Chauncey Billups in particular seemed to have a lot of fans around here – it’s hard to find a flaw in this choice. Udoka is just 43 years old, played in the league for parts of seven seasons (as recently as 2011), and comes from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree.

Udoka paid his dues as a player, bouncing around to five teams, starting with two games with the 2003-04 Lakers, and he’s also paid those dues as a coach. He apprenticed under Pop for the Spurs from 2012-19, earning a championship ring in ’14, spent a year on Brett Brown’s staff in Philadelphia in 2019-20, and served as valuable assistant to rookie head coach Steve Nash with this year’s Nets. If you watched Brooklyn during the playoffs, you might have noticed that Udoka was more animated on the sideline than Nash, especially when the Nets were on defense.

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Perhaps most important, he already is reported to have a strong relationship with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart from their time playing for Popovich and his staff in the 2019 World Championships.

He’s never been a head coach before, but that’s not really an issue in the NBA, and he’s overdue for the opportunity. This seems like  very good day for the Celtics.

But what does everyone else think? Do you like the reported hiring of Ime Udoka as Celtics coach? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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