Ime Udoka is finally getting his shot to be an NBA head coach, and he intents to make sure the Celtics don’t suffering through another underachieving season.
“I like to try to bring the dog out in guys,” Udoka said at his introductory press conference. “We’ve got some young dogs here, and I look forward to pushing them.”
Udoka, 43, spent this past season as a assistant with Steve Nash and the Nets. Before that, he worked as the lead assistant with the 76ers, and spent years before that with the Spurs. This is his first head coaching job.
He said he is all about tough love, with the goal of pushing Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the rest to another level.
“They’re going to allow me to coach and push them,” he said. “I’m gonna be on their ass, and that’s what they like about me. They’ve asked me about that. They want to be pushed, they want to be directed towards winning, and you expect that from your stars, the character they’ve shown.
“They all have different personality traits … but the bottom line is they all want to help us win and get Banner 18.”
The Celtics finished 36-36 this past season and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the 76ers. Former coach Brad Stevens moved into the head of basketball operations role — making Udoka his first hire.
“What I was as a player was a tough, hard-nosed player, defensive-minded, but I love offense as well. We’re going to have a well-rounded team,” Udoka said.
“Looked at the numbers overall: Sorry for mentioning this, Brad, but 27th in assists last year. We want to have more team basketball there,” Udoka said.
“But at the same time, you have to understand what your personnel dictates, and that’s Jayson and Jaylen and guys that can really score the basketball at an elite level. So, you play toward their strengths.”
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