Celtics hire Ime Udoka as HC

jezza1918

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Don't want to turn this into a game-thread....but oh brother!

When did they begin to strategize; after the 3rd, 4th, 5th (some other?) second-half collapse?

I can't believe he said this out-loud.
I see what you're getting at, but seems to me like he's referring more specifically to getting good shots at the end of games...as opposed to the overall crap 4th quarters. Although I may be reading into "down the stretch" too much. Of course, even if my read is correct - that doesn't answer the question of the 2nd half collapses you are referring to.
 

Van Everyman

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I hear you, Buck, but I think Ime is just a different kind of public communicator. Like look at this:
I mean, any reasonable response to this is “Yes, Tatum has carried a load of shit for the C’s this year,” given his terrible shooting. But I think what he’s getting at here is process, which most coaches won’t really air publicly for obvious reasons, not least of which is that it can make a coach look dumb. In this case, what he seems to be suggesting is that Tatum has bought in and is trying even tho the results have not been there.

I mean, at the end of the day it’s just words. Results are what matter. But as a fan, it’s interesting to hear how Ime thinks about this team (and how often it differs from conventional wisdom). Could be arrogance, could be confidence. I guess we’ll find out sooner or later.
 

Cellar-Door

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Don't want to turn this into a game-thread....but oh brother!

When did they begin to strategize; after the 3rd, 4th, 5th (some other?) second-half collapse?

I can't believe he said this out-loud.
Honestly I like that he's putting that out there. One thing he's (rightly) been criticized for is that he is very blunt about player failings and less so about coaching failures. This is him saying "yeah, my late game sets have been a mess and/or not working, we brought in some new stuff"

Also, even more important, against the Pacers (who stink) we saw some late game Tatum/Brown 2 man game, that looked interesting. the Celtics don't have the passing to put them on opposite sides and make the swings in crunch time, if they're going to be ISO and/or 1 pass guys, make sure the other guy is the guy getting that pass.
 

reggiecleveland

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Conversations within coaching staffs are never-ending. The head coach will decide which of the many problems is the focus, and what is the solution. He is just stating their present focus. He does tend to be just a bit different in the way he phrases things. Part of most of coach-speech is the tone that what they are saying is obvious, "yeah we need to be better, down the stretch, we have too many good players to have those droughts. We are all working on it." This tone can annoy the media, seem condescending, and obvious, but does insulate the coach from criticism like Buck Showalter posted. IMe, by saying more, being more specific, in a way trying to show off his technical knowledge, is deviating from the tried true cliche machine, and opening himself up to criticism.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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This is from Jared Weiss' mid season grade piece in Thursday's Athletic:

The thing is that Udoka and Brad Stevens emphasized from the beginning that his coaching performance was going to be determined less by his X-and-O creativity and more by his connection with the players. The players on the roster The Athletic has talked to behind the scenes have maintained that Udoka has the team’s ear and while the phrase “let’s just say he doesn’t hold back” comes up in every conversation, it’s never followed by animosity or disrespect.
 

NomarsFool

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I criticize Ime a lot but I like this statement. He’s actually acknowledging that the coaching staff needs to improve just as much as the players do. That’s a refreshing change of pace from the normal for him
Agreed.
 

lexrageorge

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I'm convinced some are over-parsing Ime's statements just to look for something to criticize him for. He's saying that the coaching staff is adjusting their late game strategy, which has been an obvious problem, and he's wrong for saying that?

All that matters is that the players buy in. So far, they seem to be. Some coaches can offer really pointed criticism of players and yet still earn the respect of and relate to those same players. If Tatum is calling all his friends around the league and telling them "You've got to come here and play for Ime; he's really the best I've ever seen at this", and a key player or two bite on it, then I will be very happy with this hire.
 

benhogan

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I'm convinced some are over-parsing Ime's statements just to look for something to criticize him for. He's saying that the coaching staff is adjusting their late game strategy, which has been an obvious problem, and he's wrong for saying that?

All that matters is that the players buy in. So far, they seem to be. Some coaches can offer really pointed criticism of players and yet still earn the respect of and relate to those same players. If Tatum is calling all his friends around the league and telling them "You've got to come here and play for Ime; he's really the best I've ever seen at this", and a key player or two bite on it, then I will be very happy with this hire.
who is saying he is wrong for saying coaching staff is adjusting their late-game strategy?

I just read 5 positive posts about his latest comment/Jay King tweet
 

HomeRunBaker

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I criticize Ime a lot but I like this statement. He’s actually acknowledging that the coaching staff needs to improve just as much as the players do. That’s a refreshing change of pace from the normal for him
Yes agreed. He either watched a Patriots presser or reads the Port Cellar. Baby steps
 

benhogan

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Cesar Crespo

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love it.

And this is two times in two days….I am 99% sure someone talked to him. Don’t know if it was Nia Long, Brad Stevens, Greg Popovich, or someone random but there was clearly a push towards more of these type of statements
Which SoSH poster is Ime?
 

NomarsFool

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That seems incredible. Although, it might be heavily influenced by non-clutch. It certainly is no surprise that during the early part of the game, they do a lot of designed plays for non-Tatum folks that work pretty well. It's just the end of the game stuff where they seem to have a dumpster fire approach of dribble the ball into the ground, take a fall-back 3 pointer.
 

Cesar Crespo

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The problems this year have been shooting, play making and ball control. I'm not sure that's something a coach can fix.

If he got rid of the 2 big lineup and was a little quicker to make changes when the other team makes a run, I wouldn't have too much of a problem with him this year. Preferably he'd use players a little less but some of that is due to covid. Also, from game to game, he is quick with younger players but he does give them a chance. He will always go back to PP, AN, RL at some point.

At the beginning of the year, most of us that it would be the top 7 and PP, with everyone else playing scattered minutes based on match ups, injuries and blow outs. It ended up being GW instead of PP, but everything else is true. Unfortunately, it's covid year. Instead of relying on the deep bench to get through, he leans on the top guys even more. It would be interesting to see what his rotations looked like if the team were ever fully healthy for an extended stretch. It's possible he's part of the wear and tear problem but the C's have been missing games to injury forever now.
 

Cesar Crespo

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That seems incredible. Although, it might be heavily influenced by non-clutch. It certainly is no surprise that during the early part of the game, they do a lot of designed plays for non-Tatum folks that work pretty well. It's just the end of the game stuff where they seem to have a dumpster fire approach of dribble the ball into the ground, take a fall-back 3 pointer.
I should probably read it. I read "guard" and assumed it was defense.

That is insane.
 

Cellar-Door

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The other explanation is that it simply takes time for new concepts and schemes to be implemented.
Maybe, but early year the ATO calls were not good, it wasn't just execution, it was plan. The big thing a bunch of people have noted is that Ime has gone to a lot of Brown/Tatum actions in ATOs, where he started the year with none.
 

NomarsFool

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Maybe, but early year the ATO calls were not good, it wasn't just execution, it was plan. The big thing a bunch of people have noted is that Ime has gone to a lot of Brown/Tatum actions in ATOs, where he started the year with none.
You think so? I actually think the shot distribution on ATOs is much more spread around than the shot distribution in general. I know I've seen ATO plays for Rob Williams and other folks on the floor.
 

Cellar-Door

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You think so? I actually think the shot distribution on ATOs is much more spread around than the shot distribution in general. I know I've seen ATO plays for Rob Williams and other folks on the floor.
It's less about shot distribution and more about the actions. In that article they show some of them. As the season has gone on, they've used more actions that involve Tatum and Brown on the same side involved in the play, usually with one receiving the inbounds and the other cutting, with the screener having an option to roll or pop, and some where one screens for the other. Early season it seemed like a lot more ATOs were running with Tatum as the kick man for an action where the other was involved with Smart or Horford. Also more ISO early in the year.

So early year you might get Smart receiving the inbounds on the left, with Horford screening for a Tatum curl to get the ball moving towards the hoop, and Brown on the right side, going towards the corner. Now you're more likely to get Tatum getting the inbounds, TL/Horford screening and Brown on the curl, gives you more dangerous looks.
 

SteveF

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pbpstats.com has different data I guess. By their stats, Celtics aren't anywhere close to #1 in ATOs.
 

shoelace

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I feel like Ime will face criticism for this loss, but I feel like it falls squarely on the shoulders of Tatum and Brown who just could not score against a bad defensive team after the Celtics built an 11 point lead.
 

Cellar-Door

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I feel like Ime will face criticism for this loss, but I feel like it falls squarely on the shoulders of Tatum and Brown who just could not score against a bad defensive team after the Celtics built an 11 point lead.
Yes and no. Yes they played poorly. But also... they were up 11 why did Tatum not get a 90 second break? Why did he ride lineups that were struggling, why did he not call timeout to give the Celtics a 2 for 1 late in a to the wire game?

The team can be playing poorly AND Ime can be way over his head, and the later has some impact on the former.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Yes and no. Yes they played poorly. But also... they were up 11 why did Tatum not get a 90 second break? Why did he ride lineups that were struggling, why did he not call timeout to give the Celtics a 2 for 1 late in a to the wire game?

The team can be playing poorly AND Ime can be way over his head, and the later has some impact on the former.
He is way too slow to adjust.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Udoka could call all the timeouts and mess with the rotations like Captain Laddie messes with his dials mid set and its unlikely to do much when your only two volume scorers, who seem to be sagging under the weight of being asked to do it all themselves, fall down. Tatum and Brown shot 15-39 from the field combined and nobody else could sustainably score to ease the burden. This loss is a function of the roster.
 

shoelace

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Yes and no. Yes they played poorly. But also... they were up 11 why did Tatum not get a 90 second break? Why did he ride lineups that were struggling, why did he not call timeout to give the Celtics a 2 for 1 late in a to the wire game?

The team can be playing poorly AND Ime can be way over his head, and the later has some impact on the former.
I think Ime is growing as a coach, and some of their struggles this year have been a function of that development. He's not responsible for his All-Star players shooting a combined 15% from three. If they shoot just badly, instead of horrifically, they win.

At some point, the blame lies with the players. This isn't baseball, you can't manufacture runs. The players have to make shots. Jaylen had a missed three in the fourth that didn't even hit the rim. Their failures are where it begins and ends. If the Celtics are going to win games, they need Tatum and Brown to play like All Stars. Their Vegas win total was what 45.5? That's with the expectation Tatum shoots well and plays like an All-NBA guy as he has in the recent past, not mid career Rudy Gay.

I realize that's a less interesting take than trying to debate coaching decisions, but their record is a function of Tatum playing poorly for most of the season. When he plays like Jayson Tatum, they will win. Hopefully he can get back that and not miss almost 2 dozen threes in a row.
 

Cellar-Door

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I think Ime is growing as a coach, and some of their struggles this year have been a function of that development. He's not responsible for his All-Star players shooting a combined 15% from three. If they shoot just badly, instead of horrifically, they win.

At some point, the blame lies with the players. This isn't baseball, you can't manufacture runs. The players have to make shots. Jaylen had a missed three in the fourth that didn't even hit the rim. Their failures are where it begins and ends. If the Celtics are going to win games, they need Tatum and Brown to play like All Stars. Their Vegas win total was what 45.5? That's with the expectation Tatum shoots well and plays like an All-NBA guy as he has in the recent past, not mid career Rudy Gay.

I realize that's a less interesting take than trying to debate coaching decisions, but their record is a function of Tatum playing poorly for most of the season. When he plays like Jayson Tatum, they will win. Hopefully he can get back that and not miss almost 2 dozen threes in a row.
But here is the thing... Tatum shot terribly.... but he was still really productive for much of the game, then he got tired and stopped going to the rim, which meant no layups, not many FTs, no collapsing D to make passes against.

The Celtics were up double digits, and like always the coach didn't do what every other coach does and steal rest for his stars. Teams can and do win games when they are shooting poorly, they do it by going to other ways to score, they do it by rotating in fresh guys, they do it by calling TOs in the last minute to set up a play to get a good look at the rim if possible.

The Celtics are a flawed roster, BUT... a big part of NBA success is putting your players in the best situation to get easy baskets, and rotations that get guys in positions to succeed. Ime doesn't do that very often, instead he puts his stars in increasingly difficult situations then complains when they don't execute.


Edit- to take an example from another team, there is a reason the Warriors became THE WARRIORS when they switched coaches from a guy who never put his players in good situations to one who designed everything to make things easy for his best guys and take advantage of their strenghts. Ime is more Mark Jackson than Steve Kerr.
 

shoelace

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But here is the thing... Tatum shot terribly.... but he was still really productive for much of the game, then he got tired and stopped going to the rim, which meant no layups, not many FTs, no collapsing D to make passes against.

The Celtics were up double digits, and like always the coach didn't do what every other coach does and steal rest for his stars. Teams can and do win games when they are shooting poorly, they do it by going to other ways to score, they do it by rotating in fresh guys, they do it by calling TOs in the last minute to set up a play to get a good look at the rim if possible.

The Celtics are a flawed roster, BUT... a big part of NBA success is putting your players in the best situation to get easy baskets, and rotations that get guys in positions to succeed. Ime doesn't do that very often, instead he puts his stars in increasingly difficult situations then complains when they don't execute.


Edit- to take an example from another team, there is a reason the Warriors became THE WARRIORS when they switched coaches from a guy who never put his players in good situations to one who designed everything to make things easy for his best guys and take advantage of their strenghts. Ime is more Mark Jackson than Steve Kerr.
We may have to agree to disagree here. In the apportioning of blame for this loss, and the season in general, I would say it is 1) Health 2) Roster Construction 3) Star player performance (ie Tatum's horrific three point shooting performance compared to previous years, even on self generated step back threes which have nothing to do with coaching) 4) Coaching

Maybe they would have a slightly better record with some other coach, but I'm not sure. Comparing Ime, who strikes me as a generally sharp dude, to Mark Jackson feels deeply unfair.
 

radsoxfan

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It's very clear to me that, at this point in time, Ime is not a good coach.

His rotations make no sense, he makes no adjustments, and in close games we are awful.

I'm still unsure if he is:

1. truly terrible or just mediocre

2. likely to significantly improve

I don't think he should be fired but I would like to see some signs of competency over the rest of the season.
 

reggiecleveland

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The team doesn't play hard. That is the kiss of death for a coach. It may be the players, but he was brought in to take them to a the next level and they are soft. If this isn't fixed either the core or the coach goes.

There is much better chance Tatum and Browwn are the answer than Ime.

Tick tock coach.
 

HomeRunBaker

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This bit from the opening presser was fun and suggests that Stevens and Udoka get along well.
View: https://twitter.com/chrisgrenham/status/1409521351925370886?s=20

Chris Grenham: Ime Udoka: "Sorry to mention this Brad, but 27th in assists last year, we want to have more team basketball there."
Remember when Tatum and Jaylen were going to be playmakers and he was going to force them into playing a motion offense? Those days sure were cute.

The team is averaging nearly a full assist per game LESS than last season.
 

reggiecleveland

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Remember when Tatum and Jaylen were going to be playmakers and he was going to force them into playing a motion offense? Those days sure were cute.

The team is averaging nearly a full assist per game LESS than last season.
See I haven't been able to watch enough to be sure that was true. I was (not so much am) optimistic about Tatum and Brown in motion since both are all around players who are scorers more than just shooters.
 

tbb345

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We may have to agree to disagree here. In the apportioning of blame for this loss, and the season in general, I would say it is 1) Health 2) Roster Construction 3) Star player performance (ie Tatum's horrific three point shooting performance compared to previous years, even on self generated step back threes which have nothing to do with coaching) 4) Coaching

Maybe they would have a slightly better record with some other coach, but I'm not sure. Comparing Ime, who strikes me as a generally sharp dude, to Mark Jackson feels deeply unfair.
So the main reason for the loss to the Blazers was health? I thought I was driving the Nesmith bandwagon but you clearly like him way more than I do.
The Blazers were missing Dame, Norm Powell and Larry Nance; citing health for the celtics just doesnt pass the smell test.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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I’m not saying Scal is some kind of basketball savant, but he’s been on NBA staffs and is clearly highly networked and studies the game and he’s pretty clearly baffled by Ime.

Even small things like the very last free throws last night - he was like, hey, Ime, get your bigs in for the potential rebound, and then it seemed to occur to Ime and in they came.

I think it could be that the game still hasn’t slowed down for Ime as a head coach. As an assistant, he’s maybe used to focusing on one part of the game, and he’s hasn’t wuite caught up with the pace of the head gig.
 

Strike4

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The "stars aren't hitting shots" thing drives me nuts. It's the coach's job to put players in a position to hit them. Endless desperate ISOs are low percentage and a sign the coach isn't doing that very well (a simplification). Driving 1 on 5 is not inherently a player's fault.
 

128

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The "stars aren't hitting shots" thing drives me nuts. It's the coach's job to put players in a position to hit them. Endless desperate ISOs are low percentage and a sign the coach isn't doing that very well (a simplification). Driving 1 on 5 is not inherently a player's fault.
Tatum is missing plenty of open looks, too.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Even small things like the very last free throws last night - he was like, hey, Ime, get your bigs in for the potential rebound, and then it seemed to occur to Ime and in they came.
This isn't correct. Ime got Kanter and Al in; Billups was the one late in getting his "tough guys" in.

The "stars aren't hitting shots" thing drives me nuts. It's the coach's job to put players in a position to hit them. Endless desperate ISOs are low percentage and a sign the coach isn't doing that very well (a simplification). Driving 1 on 5 is not inherently a player's fault.
JT is shooting 20% worse on wide-open shots. He threw up an air ball on a wide open corner 3P last night. GW had an open 3P from the corner last night. They are getting open looks but they aren't hitting them.
 

benhogan

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He is way too slow to adjust.
remember when you said in Q1 last night that "Thomas/Hauser will get minutes" against a short-handed and road-weary Portland team?

and I countered with "not before Tatum plays his 40mins".

I win IME BINGO last night. I mean the guy is predictable if nothing else. From the tip with his rotations to what he does throughout and finally in Q4. IME is a deer in headlights at crunchtime every game. He doesn't anticipate and rarely adjusts to the situation or matchups.

This team is underperforming versus its preseason win total and their +1.5pt average. They are one of the worst Q4 teams where most NBA games are decided, timeouts are used, coaches' challenges are applied, rotations should set up a high-energy finish from your stars and specific matchups are settled upon. We need some proof that he isn't one of the 5 worst Head Coaches in the NBA right now from anyone defending him. Getting out-coached by Chauncey Billups is really hard to do, but that's exactly what happened in Q4 last night

Did IME have ANY Head Coaching experience coming into the season? like at any level? High School? NCAA div 1 or 2? overseas?

I liked the IME hire when Brad made it but clearly, I was wrong. See how easy that is?

Brad making trades probably isn't a great idea with IME running this group. Especially when he pulls a Grady Little on a nightly basis with Jayson Tatum
 
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BigSoxFan

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This is great. Celtics were playing with the best 2 players on the court against a crap opponent without their best player. At home. Up 11 with 7 mins to go.

And the issue is the roster? Cmon. Last night, the issue wasn’t the roster. The issue, once again, was the Jay’s not playing well down the stretch while their in-over-his-head HC stood there watching blindly.
 

Eddie Jurak

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A big part of the issue with this team is Ime's disinterest in developing the talent he has on hand.

Usually, the response to that is some version of "it's not a coaches job to develop talent, it is a coaches job to win games."

But that is a false choice.

The last game the Celtics won, the matinee vs New Orleans, Nesmith played a key role off the bench. Today, Langford played as part of a unit that turned the came around twice. Pritchard, too, made a difference in the late 3rd/early 4th.

He has the talent on hand to not be playing playing Tatum 41 minutes and watching him stop driving (even though he cannot hit a three) as the Celtics blow games in crunch time. This is a choice, and a bad one.

I think whichever of Nesmith or Romeo gets dealt as part of a deal to bring in a veteran will outplay whichever guy it is they aquire.