Udoka was hired by Brad Stevens in June and is already making an impact with some of the current players.
Tatum wants to “accomplish something big” with his new coach, as they have gotten the opportunity to get to know each other in Team USA practices.
This opportunity for Udoka is much more important than simply trying to improve Tatum’s game on the basketball court — he can begin to build a relationship with the team’s star before the season begins.
This path has the potential to bring good vibes into training camp after an extremely frustrating 2020-21 campaign. Beyond Tatum, Udoka also has previous contact with Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, arguably the second and third most important players on the team.
The Boston Celtics struck gold with the hiring of Ime Udoka
Both Tatum and Ime have the distinct opportunity to make each other better, as they are each coming into the season hoping to make an impact in the playoffs. The Boston culture expects their team to compete year in and year out, and last season simply wasn’t good enough.
Udoka has begun the process of hiring the rest of his coaching staff, beginning with naming former Rookie of the Year Damon Stoudamire as an assistant. Mighty Mouse began his coaching career at Pacific in 2016, most recently being named the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year this past season after leading the team to their best record in 14 years.
Stoudamire is another coach that has the potential to connect with his players on a personal level, straying farther away from the X’s and O’s approach emphasized by Stevens. After an unsuccessful season, a change in culture and method of practice was needed, which is exactly what Udoka is putting in place.
His first assistance coach hire was even greenlighted by former Boston Celtics MVP candidate Isaiah Thomas, who modeled his whole game after him.
Overall, the stars on the roster, specifically Jayson Tatum, seem significantly happier with Udoka at the helm, as he has already begun to build personal relationships with his players spanning past the basketball court.