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Ime Udoka in his Celtics introductory press conference: “Sorry to mention this, Brad, but 27th in assists last year, we want to have more team basketball there.”

Oct 31, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ime Udoka was recently announced as the Boston Celtics’ new head coach. On June 28th, he sat down for his introductory press conference. He talked about a lot at the press conference, but he looked specifically at improving the team’s ball movement. He called out last year’s Celtics team for being 27th in the league in assists and said he wanted to improve on that this year.

“Sorry to mention this Brad, but 27th in assists last year, we want to have more team basketball there.”

Ime Udoka

Of course, Brad Stevens was the coach of last year’s Celtics team and is now Udokas boss. This wasn’t a serious jab at Brad by Udoka. Everybody within the Celtics organization is pleased with Udoka and said he separated himself from the pack with his interviews.

Ime Udoka also seemed to love the situation he was joining in Boston. He mentioned that it was “pretty evident” that this Celtics job was the best available. Because of the current roster and the teams’ illustrious history. He is also clearly looking forward to working with the franchises’ two young stars.

“With two young pillars (in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum) at this age, the sky is the limit.”

Ime Udoka

He also talked about how he wants to motivate Jaylen and Jayson to continue improving, and stay hungry.

“I want to tell Jayson and Jaylen: ‘The fact that you aren’t All-NBA should be a chip on your shoulder. Why wait? Go out and take it now.’ That’s a message I shared with Kawhi Leonard when we were pushing him to become a championship-caliber player in San Antonio.”

Ime Udoka

With Portland and Dallas taking criticisms for their respective hires at the head coach position, it feels like the Celtics have quietly made a great move here. Udoka fits well with the team and organization.

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