Ime Udoka Expected to Bring ‘Accountability’ to Rockets

Former Celtics coach Ime Udoka is starting over, only this time, it won’t be with a contender.Ime Udoka

Instead, it will be with the young, rebuilding and sometimes maddening Rockets. But after reportedly being named the Rockets’ new coach, Udoka is likely to hit the ground running in an effort to help create a winning environment.

Udoka, of course, led the Celtics to a 51-31 record and Finals appearance in his lone season as an NBA head coach a year ago. But then he was suspended for an inappropriate relationship with a female employee. The Celtics let him walk and become a coaching free agent.

Without a doubt, GM Rafael Stone and the Rockets will have to explain all that once they officially announce the Udoka hiring.

As far as coaching, Jared Weiss of The Athletic offered what Udoka has to offer in a piece by The Athletic’s Kelly Iko. Weiss covers the Celtics; Iko the Rockets.

“Accountability,” Weiss wrote on what the new coach will offer the Rockets. “Udoka joined the Celtics at a pivot point for the franchise. Boston was coming off a down year following a string of Eastern Conference finals runs and badly needed some sort of cultural reset. They had the talent to be a contender and make the next step; they just needed more glue guys, veteran leaders and an epiphany from their best players.”

Weiss added that Udoka has proven to be able to develop young players. And again, the Rockets have no shortage of those after finishing 17-65. They also have a lottery pick on the way. Where they land in the draft (TBD on May 16), will have a major impact on Udoka’s approach.

“The one thing they can count on is that Udoka is going to put everyone’s feet to the fire and quickly identify who has the potential to lead and who needs to go,” Weiss wrote. “He’s likely going to help Jalen Green grow as a responsible scorer. He helped Grant Williams become one of the league’s best 3-and-D bench players last season, so imagine what he could do with Jabari Smith Jr.”

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