Sunday, October 24 2021

New Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka made an appearance on the WEEI radio show “Gresh and Keefe” on Tuesday, and opened up a bit on how the team is coming together, what the weak points are, and how Udoka plans on turning them into strengths, among other topics of conversation.

The former assistant coach for several of Boston’s East rivals in recent years also got into talking about his experience as an assistant with Team USA at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There, he got a head-start on working with All-Star Celtics forward Jayson Tatum on their way to winning Olympic Gold in Men’s 5×5 basketball.

“It was great overall,” said Udoka. “We finished the goal by getting the gold. It probably wasn’t the most realistic Olympic experience with no fans and not being able to go to the events, but overall we got the job done and that’s what everybody’s going to remember.”

Conversation quickly shifted to his role as new head coach of the Celtics, and whether it felt weird to have Brad Stevens, the former head coach, looking over his shoulder as the team’s new president. “Not at all,” explained the new coach. “I honestly looked at it as a huge benefit. A guy that’s been in the building the last eight years that’s close to these guys and knows the organization in and outs.”

As to what has been the biggest obstacle to success in recent years in Udoka’s opinion, the answer was clear. “First I will say injuries play a huge part in it.”

“I was the recipient of that the year before when we lost Ben Simmons [while Udoka was an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers] in the playoffs, and they knocked us out in four games. And then this past year, Jaylen [Brown] goes down and Kemba [Walker] is hurt in the playoffs. So, [his last team, the Brooklyn Nets] got them in five in Brooklyn. So that’s a huge part of the story that doesn’t always get talked about.”

The former Nets assistant also thinks it is important that Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum “be on the same page; “there’s been a lot of fluctuation with the roster over the last few years having some veteran guys in and out,” which has also stunted the development of some of the team’s younger players.

What does the team need to work on most in this coming season according to Udoka? “Using the talent that we have to play team basketball.”

“I see a lot of guys that were kind of ‘your turn my turn’ at times. And I think the next step in their evolution is being playmakers in general. Marcus [Smart] hasn’t always been the starting point guard or a guy that has had the ball in his hands a lot of time, and he’s yearning for that. And so we’ll trust in him to have more responsibility on his hands. Jayson and Jaylen, like I mentioned quite a few times, he’s trying to make those guys better playmakers; they’re pretty natural scorers.”

Moving the ball, playing together and playing the game as a team, according to Udoka that the Celtics are “digging in on” and for the 2021-22 season. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=57228,57189,57194,57184] [listicle id=57227]



Source: Yahoo Sports


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