Celtics hire Ime Udoka as HC

Cellar-Door

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I think the assumption that Udoka was always and forever going to switch anything and everything except that it didn't work is dubious.
I don't know that they would have stayed with it completely, but it was something he came out and said they wanted to do, and it was a disaster, I can't imagine his thought process was "we're gonna switch everything for 5 games then go to almost never switching", he wanted switch everything to be a major part of the defense, and he has pivoted away from that because it didn't work, which is a good thing in a coach.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I don't know that they would have stayed with it completely, but it was something he came out and said they wanted to do, and it was a disaster, I can't imagine his thought process was "we're gonna switch everything for 5 games then go to almost never switching", he wanted switch everything to be a major part of the defense, and he has pivoted away from that because it didn't work, which is a good thing in a coach.
I don't doubt that he is adjusting to the team's play, which is good.
 

bankshot1

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That the team is working harder on defense is a big positive. Dispirited and disinterested teams half-ass it on D and these guys have played hard and together for two games. Its a start. And its a way for a team to bond and develop a positive persona and pride. They have to keep it going.

I also like that guys that bolted to the bench are getting PT and contributing.

I too am cautiously optimistic.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I was posting this in the game thread today, but I think Ime is playing too much win. He also seems to have an aversion to giving developmental players minutes, though that may be due to wanting to win as a new coach.

Players 10-15 have now played 261 minutes in 12 games, despite players 1-9 missing a combined 14 games.

At some point, Ime is going to have to expand his rotation or he's going to run the team into the ground, especially if he's just going to play the other guys more if someone is out injured.

The bad start definitely didn't help this and hopefully if/when the C's get a few games above .500, he'll relax a little bit and use his roster more. I'm hoping it's him wanting to win more than it is not wanting to develop players. PP's minutes are way down, AN doesn't really play. Romeo has played but he's also missed 4 games. GW has seen a slight minutes reduction but not really worth mentioning.

I have a preference but sooner or later he needs to pick another player or 2 to add to the rotation.
 

Cesar Crespo

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C's are the only team with 3 players averaging over 35 mpg. Before today's game, Tatum was 2nd in the league in MPG 37.2, Jaylen was 6th, at 36.5 Smart was 18th at 35.1. 3 guys in the top 20.

Toronto almost has 3 guys at 35+, Barnes is at 34.9. They also have Trent at 33.9. FVV is at 38.6, OG 37.1 After that, there's a big drop off in minutes to the next guy with 24.2.

Schroder is 64th at 31.9, Williams 73rd at 31.2, Horford 103rd at 28.9.
 

HomeRunBaker

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C's are the only team with 3 players averaging over 35 mpg. Before today's game, Tatum was 2nd in the league in MPG 37.2, Jaylen was 6th, at 36.5 Smart was 18th at 35.1. 3 guys in the top 20.

Toronto almost has 3 guys at 35+, Barnes is at 34.9. They also have Trent at 33.9. FVV is at 38.6, OG 37.1 After that, there's a big drop off in minutes to the next guy with 24.2.

Schroder is 64th at 31.9, Williams 73rd at 31.2, Horford 103rd at 28.9.
Those numbers are skewed by all the OT minutes where you’re surely going to ride your starters. That’s an extra 55 min over the first 12 games. When you remove those 4:30 mpg things don’t look abnormal.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Those numbers are skewed by all the OT minutes where you’re surely going to ride your starters. That’s an extra 55 min over the first 12 games. When you remove those 4:30 mpg things don’t look abnormal.
Yeah, I get that. It's still minutes played though. Maybe give players an extra minute or two minutes of rest the next game. It's also early and he started 2-5 as a new coach in Boston. I get the desire to want to win and the pressure that he must feel.

Still, in the early going it seems he has a 9 man rotation that he sticks to regardless of injuries. Luckily, it's not a hard adjustment to make. Even if he doesn't want to settle on an extra player or two to play consistently, he can pick 1 or 2 from players from 10-15 based on matchups or throwing a dart at a board to play for a combined total of like 10 minutes each night and the problem is solved. I thought Brad experimented too much with lineups and using the deep bench a lot (though some necessary due to injury). I think Ime might experiment too little. If I had to pick rotations, I'd pick Ime's. I just think the 82 game regular season needs more than a 9 man rotation. 10 does the trick, honestly. It's such a little thing but I think it can matter over the course of an 82 game season. I'd prefer the minutes go to AN and PP and not players like Jabari and Hernangomez but I don't care too much. Just find 10 minutes a game combined for spots 10-15 because it's a long season.

Even before overtime tonight, he only used 1 player outside of him 9 man rotation and it was for 6 minutes. Overtime obviously just makes it worse. His 9 man rotation being JT, JB, DS, MS, JRich, TL, AA, GW and RL.

After tonight's game, and this includes the OT, players outside the 9 man rotation are on pace for 1783.5 minutes this year. Pritchard would be 10th, at 731 minutes played. Last year, Semi was 10th at 950 minutes, and that's in a 72 game schedule as opposed to 82. Players from 10 and on played 4438 minutes. Some of that is due to injuries/covid and trades, Fournier had 472 minutes played. Still, that's a HUGE difference.

I'd like the number to be closer to 2400-2500 over an 82 game schedule. Maybe it's a small gripe and not really worth the bandwidth but I could see it becoming an issue that will only be made worse when players in his top 9 miss games.

Another solution would be to just play Grant and Romeo more, which isn't the solution I'd go with but it would be an acceptable solution.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I was posting this in the game thread today, but I think Ime is playing too much win. He also seems to have an aversion to giving developmental players minutes, though that may be due to wanting to win as a new coach.

Players 10-15 have now played 261 minutes in 12 games, despite players 1-9 missing a combined 14 games.

At some point, Ime is going to have to expand his rotation or he's going to run the team into the ground, especially if he's just going to play the other guys more if someone is out injured.

The bad start definitely didn't help this and hopefully if/when the C's get a few games above .500, he'll relax a little bit and use his roster more. I'm hoping it's him wanting to win more than it is not wanting to develop players. PP's minutes are way down, AN doesn't really play. Romeo has played but he's also missed 4 games. GW has seen a slight minutes reduction but not really worth mentioning.

I have a preference but sooner or later he needs to pick another player or 2 to add to the rotation.
I think this is basically right, and I do think some of it relates to the early losses and to some injuries. He is already reining in Al's minutes (29:50 last night despite the OT, which he played a bit in). But I worry about the catch 22 where Ime doesn't trust certain guys, so they don't play, so they cannot earn his trust for lack of opportunity.

The big picture issue here is one where Brad Stevens should have a say (whether he and Ime see it that way is another question). I don't think Brad (or any President/GM has any business dictating rotations and questioning player minutes on any given night) - but I do think he should have input into how hard Ime rides the stars over the course of a season. Tatum is averaging 37.6 minutes per game, a pace for nearly 3,100 over the season. I think Brad should put the foot down and say "no more than 2,950 over the full season, I don't care how you do it but do it."
 

lovegtm

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I think this is basically right, and I do think some of it relates to the early losses and to some injuries. He is already reining in Al's minutes (29:50 last night despite the OT, which he played a bit in). But I worry about the catch 22 where Ime doesn't trust certain guys, so they don't play, so they cannot earn his trust for lack of opportunity.

The big picture issue here is one where Brad Stevens should have a say (whether he and Ime see it that way is another question). I don't think Brad (or any President/GM has any business dictating rotations and questioning player minutes on any given night) - but I do think he should have input into how hard Ime rides the stars over the course of a season. Tatum is averaging 37.6 minutes per game, a pace for nearly 3,100 over the season. I think Brad should put the foot down and say "no more than 2,950 over the full season, I don't care how you do it but do it."
As HRB noted, Tatum is playing an extra 4.5 mpg due to all the overtimes. Take that out and he's at 33.
 

benhogan

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They've played 6 OT periods over twelve games, so it's 2.5mpg extra, but your point stands.

For those clamoring for fewer minutes, would you be happier if they were 4-8, but Tatum was playing 34 minutes a game?
I'd be happier with 6-6 and Tatum playing 34mpg.

Nobody knows what their record would be.

The mpg issue will crop up as the NBA season wears on.

and the trade deadline/offseason when we don't have any young developed talent to deal
 

bankshot1

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They've played a lot of close games, so garbage times minutes have been scarce, and the bench guys sit more. And with Jaylen out, his 30+ minutes needs to be picked up, so its another pressure on getting the best mix of performance/not burning out the team before Christmas. And I posted a couple of weeks ago about the PT trend that could be problematic for several reasons, if he relies on a real short rotation for an extended period.

Coach U has has a difficult balancing act, figure out how to keep the plates spinning and the balls in the air, and when to incorporate juggling knives into the act. Tricky stuff for a rookie coach still learning his team. But right now it seems PP and Nesmith and Kanter are either buried or he hasn't found the best situations to use them. I sort of hope that winning becomes easier as the team gels, minutes are more spread out, as its going to be a long season.
 

Cesar Crespo

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He played Marcus Smart 20 minutes in the first half last night so it's not all an OT thing. Some of that is because JB was out but that's my point. When someone in his top 9 is out, he just distributes the minutes among the other 8.

At this point, it's nothing more than something to keep an eye on. I'm not going to be too worried about it unless it's still going on in January.
 

Eddie Jurak

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They've played 6 OT periods over twelve games, so it's 2.5mpg extra, but your point stands.

For those clamoring for fewer minutes, would you be happier if they were 4-8, but Tatum was playing 34 minutes a game?
I think that’s a false choice. Also I think it is too early to really fault Ime for any of this because it is early in a season that has been disrupted by a lot of injuries and a bad start.

But part of his job as a coach is developing his bench players and getting to the playoffs with starts who aren’t gassed.
 

tbb345

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I think that’s a false choice. Also I think it is too early to really fault Ime for any of this because it is early in a season that has been disrupted by a lot of injuries and a bad start.

But part of his job as a coach is developing his bench players and getting to the playoffs with starts who aren’t gassed.
I think there are two games where you can clearly blame Udoka for his rotation choices (personally, I think they’ve been piss poor every game but I can see arguments for some of the games at least).

Last night was really bad. Front end of a back to back against a very undermanned team there should have been more players playing and given opportunities.

The other game that stands out as insane was the Heat game. He kept his starters in way way too long (I think he had Horford play two minutes after Miami had effectively waived the white flag and emptied their bench).

TBH, I think he’s done a very bad job thus far. His ATO’s are awful, he coaches every game like a playoff game (which literally any warm body could do, that’s not hard), and his postgame press conferences are honest and blunt about all of the players but never seem to be that honest or blunt about himself.

it’s a learning process and this is his first time but he has to get better or this is going to be a completely lost season for both development and results
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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I'm a pretty staunch believer in limiting players minutes, but there's no secret sauce to longevity or maintaining energy throughout a season.

LeBron James averages over 38mpg in his career, and he's taking long playoff runs every season. Sure, LeBrons a freak of nature, but Tatum and Brown are young. Playing an extra 20 minutes of basketball over the course of a month isn't going to break them.

Durant averages almost 37mpg for his career. Lillard over 36, Wiggins over 35, Carmelo, Westbrook, Beal, and Paul all between 34.5 and 35.

Again, Tatum and Brown are young. Smart is only 27. As they age, yeah, sure, make sure they get some R&R. Buy its early in the season, they've played a ton of close games and OT games, and they have a new coach wanting to make sure the team starts off on the right foot. The numbers will stabilize, and even if they don't, I'm not willing to say 20 extra minutes of basketball each month will fade these uber athletes.
 
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slamminsammya

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I'm a pretty staunch believer in limiting players minutes, but there's no secret sauce to longevity or maintaining energy throughout a season.

LeBron James averages over 38mpg in his career, and he's taking long playoff runs every season. Sure, LeBrons a freak of nature, but Tatum and Brown are young. Playing an extra 20 minutes of basketball over the course of a month isn't going to break them.

Durant averages almost 37mpg for his career. Lillard over 36, Wiggins over 35, Carmelo, Westbrook, Beal, and Paul all between 34.5 and 35.

Again, Tatum and Brown are young. Smart is only 27. As they age, yeah, sure, make sure they get some R&R. Buy its early in the season, they've played a ton of close games and OT games, and they have a new coach wanting to make sure the team starts off on the right foot. The numbers will stabilize, and even if they don't, I'm not willing to say 20 extra minutes uses of basketball each month will fade these uber athletes.
I actually agree with this, but to me the bigger issue is within a single game guys who play that many minutes either drag a lot towards the end of the game or if they expect to play big minutes put in inconsistent/lower effort when they are on the floor, especially on defense.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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I actually agree with this, but to me the bigger issue is within a single game guys who play that many minutes either drag a lot towards the end of the game or if they expect to play big minutes put in inconsistent/lower effort when they are on the floor, especially on defense.
I agree with this. Gametime usage plays a lot into how much someone has left at the end of the game. We've seen guys like Embiid just fucking toast by the 4th quarter due to usage.
 

bankshot1

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Isn’t it likely that he’s not playing his bench much because the Celtics have a lousy bench?
My sense is the Coach U is focusing on guys who he feels can play D the way he wants it played. He wants to nail down the D and have 7-8 guys he can count on. D travels well if you play hard, disciplined and smart. IMO PP, Kanter, Parker, Nesmith may not be easy fits, so they sit. I can't prove it, its just a hunch.
 

slamminsammya

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My sense is the Coach U is focusing on guys who he feels can play D the way he wants it played. He wants to nail down the D and have 7-8 guys he can count on. D travels well if you play hard, disciplined and smart. IMO PP, Kanter, Parker, Nesmith may not be easy fits, so they sit. I can't prove it, its just a hunch.
I'd buy this. Plus, if you were to rank guys in the NBA suitable for a switch-everything scheme, Kanter and PP would be near the bottom of the entire league.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Isn’t it likely that he’s not playing his bench much because the Celtics have a lousy bench?
I mean...of course. But the Celtics aren't the only team in the league with a shit bench. They are, however,, the only team in the league with 3 players averaging more than 35 mpg.

Again, I stated my stance pretty clearly above, but lots of teams have bad benches. If the Cs bench was stacked, I'm sure I'm would be playing his top players less.
 

Eagle3

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What does the usual learning curve look like for rookie NBA coaches? In particular rookies with NO head coaching experience at any level. I'm sure it takes them some time to get acclimated just like rookie players. I tried to find "coaching stats" that might correlate that to wins and losses but all I could find was total w-l record by year. It would be interesting to see how often winning % increases month to month during their first year. Or if things like possessions after timeouts generate more points as their rookie season progresses.

Ime has taken a lot of heat around here, and I have definitely questioned some of his moves, but I'm also willing to give him a grace period as he learns on the job that I wouldnt give to an experienced coach.
 
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Just a bit outside

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Al played 32 minutes last night. I know that RWill is hurt but Ime is really trying to run this team into the ground. Playing Al 32 minutes in a November game is malpractice and it shows me that Ime seems unable to look at the season as a marathon instead of a sprint. I hated Francona's Sunday lineups as much as the next guy but he knew what he was doing and was able to take the long view. I feel like Brad needs to get in Ime's ear and tell him to back off on the minutes.
 

joe dokes

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Al played 32 minutes last night. I know that RWill is hurt but Ime is really trying to run this team into the ground. Playing Al 32 minutes in a November game is malpractice and it shows me that Ime seems unable to look at the season as a marathon instead of a sprint. I hated Francona's Sunday lineups as much as the next guy but he knew what he was doing and was able to take the long view. I feel like Brad needs to get in Ime's ear and tell him to back off on the minutes.
I think he's trying to get the top players to play the way he wants and *then* he'll start playing other guys more. I have no clue if its the right way to get to that result or if "his way" is any good, but I dont think he's doing it to win at all costs or because he's ignorant of the sprint/marathon issue.
 

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Al Horford is averaging 29.6 MPG which is .6 above his last season in Boston and would be the third lowest of his career (second if you throw out last season in OKC). Furthermore, those 29.6 MPG were skewed by four games out of 12 played where he exceeded 30 MPG. I get the concern but I think we need to see more evidence that Horford is (a) suffering from his usage - early stats are very good and (b) that its a trend rather than a response to injuries. YRMV.
 

tbb345

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I think he's trying to get the top players to play the way he wants and *then* he'll start playing other guys more. I have no clue if its the right way to get to that result or if "his way" is any good, but I dont think he's doing it to win at all costs or because he's ignorant of the sprint/marathon issue.
This is the best response I’ve seen defending Udoka’s usage patterns and something I can actually understand.
I don’t necessarily agree with it but I get the thought process behind it
 

Just a bit outside

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Al Horford is averaging 29.6 MPG which is .6 above his last season in Boston and would be the third lowest of his career (second if you throw out last season in OKC). Furthermore, those 29.6 MPG were skewed by four games out of 12 played where he exceeded 30 MPG. I get the concern but I think we need to see more evidence that Horford is (a) suffering from his usage - early stats are very good and (b) that its a trend rather than a response to injuries. YRMV.
I guess my point is that I think it is a bad response to injuries. I realize the team is better with Al on the floor, particularly when TL is hurt, but if Ime is going to run Al out there for 32 minutes every time TL is hurt I think that is a bad decision and could lead to Al getting rundown and hurt. Al is obviously older than when he was last with Boston and is very fresh from not playing the second half of last year and I would like to keep him that way.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I guess my point is that I think it is a bad response to injuries. I realize the team is better with Al on the floor, particularly when TL is hurt, but if Ime is going to run Al out there for 32 minutes every time TL is hurt I think that is a bad decision and could lead to Al getting rundown and hurt. Al is obviously older than when he was last with Boston and is very fresh from not playing the second half of last year and I would like to keep him that way.
Entirely fair. If anything, I am biased your way in terms of player minutes but I have to believe the Celtics have someone who monitors this stuff pretty closely. Its something to watch, however, because as much as we can point to the fact that Udoka was a player and an assistant in some great organizations, personal as well as organizational philosophies about how much run is optimal differ.
 

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When Jonathan Tjarks was on Simmons pod in the last week or so, they talked about the ability of really good coaches to find a role for talented but flawed players. Tjarks brought up Ty Lue and Eric Bledsoe on the Clips and Kerr's use of Gary Payton Jr. There was also discussion of Brad getting Evan Turner paid. Reading Ime's comments about Kanter's lack of playing time resulting from his challenges with their switching system brought that conversation to mind. I am not a Kanter-stan. I am not suggesting he should have a major role. But the failure to find any role/ situation where you can take advantage of the skills he does possess is a concern - especially if the justification is "he doesn't fit our system."
 

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I am torn on Ime and his future, but my optimistic take tonight is this. He was billed in advance for tough love. There were reports that he truly cares about his players. Tough love can be hard to accept, and hopefully a growing sense of trust can develop, allowing players to take it the right way.
 

benhogan

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to my eye, IME now has Tatum playing better D than last season, so have to give him credit there. You can see a few of JT's bad habits slowly fading away (standing straight up/arms down/ref bitching/discouraged after missed shots)

Tatum' plus D is very important for setting the tone for the rest (+ the large # of minutes he plays).
Hopefully, it rubs off on Jaylen.
 

lovegtm

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to my eye, IME now has Tatum playing better D than last season, so have to give him credit there. You can see a few of JT's bad habits slowly fading away (standing straight up/arms down/ref bitching/discouraged after missed shots)

Tatum' plus D is very important for setting the tone for the rest (+ the large # of minutes he plays).
Hopefully, it rubs off on Jaylen.
He has the whole team putting in consistent effort on the defensive end.

It's fine to have gripes with Ime, but if you have Tatum and Brown and a strong defensive identity, you're going to be a pretty decent team.
 

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So is removing Schroder from the starting lineup seriously going to be a thing? If it is we have a new Clownshoes in Boston. I’ll await judgment before going full blown CS.
 

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So is removing Schroder from the starting lineup seriously going to be a thing? If it is we have a new Clownshoes in Boston. I’ll await judgment before going full blown CS.
I think he’s made to be a killer sixth man, should improve the bench quite a bit, and they need it.
 

HomeRunBaker

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DS is averaging a career high 33 min per game.

If he starts or not is pretty irrelevant as long as he is playing as much as he should.
It’s not irrelevant bc that isn’t how rotations work in this league as his minutes wouldn’t be based off of 48 min but closer to 40 since he isn’t playing the first 8 min or so. In the six games he came off the bench he reached 34 min on only one occasion. In the ten games he has started, he played 34+ in 9 of those 10 games with two of them 40+.

This doesn’t even address the lack of offensive flow/dribble penetration with Smart trying to play a role that he’s awful in against first unit PG’s. If we had someone to fill this role on the roster I’d be fine with Schroder off the bench but to me he is, along with Tatum, our two most indispensable players right now. I don’t understand how limiting his minutes while others who cannot fulfill the job responsibilities are playing extra minutes at his position.
 
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Swedgin

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It’s not irrelevant bc that isn’t how rotations work in this league as his minutes wouldn’t be based off of 48 min but closer to 40 since he isn’t playing the first 8 min or so. In the six games he came off the bench he reached 34 min on only one occasion. In the ten games he has started, he played 34+ in 9 of those 10 games with two of them 40+.

This doesn’t even address the lack of offensive flow/dribble penetration with Smart trying to play a role that he’s awful in against first unit PG’s. If we had someone to fill this role on the roster I’d be fine with Schroder off the bench but to me he is, along with Tatum, our two most indispensable players right now. I don’t understand how limiting his minutes while others who cannot fulfill the job responsibilities are playing extra minutes at his position.
I agree on the need for dribble penetration (unless Tatum really commits to it - but I doubt that). Could be some locker room considerations at play, as well as the fact that Schroder has no long term future with this team in contrast to Smart.
 

lexrageorge

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I think he has to go back to the bench, for the simple reason that he is not long for the team.
The composition of next season's roster should play no part on who starts and who is first off the bench for this year's team. If my GM and coach thought that way, I would fire them both immediately.

I'm OK with DS coming off the bench; I think who starts can be overrated. John Havlicek made a nice career out of being first off the bench.
 

lovegtm

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"Let's build the team around a core player who'll be gone next year" seems like not an ideal strategy.
If you think you can find another PG like Schroder next offseason (should be available for $7-14MM), it's not a crazy strategy at all. Very similar to how the team approaches the C position, which makes sense.

It's perfectly fine to build your team's strategy around continuously slotting guys in to a somewhat fungible role. Makes a lot more sense than trying to jam Smart into a role that's bad for him.