Like any NBA team at this time of year, the Celtics are surrounded by questions. Here are the ones that will interest me the most when training camp begins next week.
What will Udoka’s style be?
For the first time in eight years, the Celtics will adjust to a new head coach. Ime Udoka is known as a smart and balanced guy just like his predecessor, Brad Stevens. Still, I wonder how different his style of leadership will be. For as much importance as the Xs and Os will carry, the first step will be to connect with the players, then set a tone of tenacity and selflessness. Most of Stevens’ teams had these characteristics, but they seemed to come and go more recently, contributing to two disappointing seasons over the past three years. A million factors went into those failures, including poor health, but the Celtics have yet to get back to the basics of good basketball.
Shortly after hiring Udoka, Stevens praised “his ability to be tough and yet very warm”. We have already seen the beginnings of Udoka’s strategy. He was candid about the team’s need to develop better passing habits. Without being too harsh, Udoka made it clear that he thinks Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown need to improve as playmakers to help their teammates. Udoka recently said Tatum and Brown’s teammates “will count on them”.
“Not everyone can create a plan like (Tatum and Brown),” Udoka said last month.