Here's what Horford thought of Ime Udoka while they were in Philly


Two of the Boston Celtics' newest members have a history together.

Veteran big man Al Horford, who joined the Celtics via trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder last Friday, spent the 2019-20 season on the Philadelphia 76ers, where Ime Udoka was an assistant coach that year.

Udoka is set to reunite with Horford, as the C's reportedly are finalizing an agreement to make the 43-year-old assistant their next head coach.

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Horford was asked Thursday what he thought of Udoka during their lone season together and gave a pretty strong review. 

"Ime is a great guy," Horford said in a video press conference. "Him and I had a really good relationship. He was always very professional."

Horford specifically highlighted Udoka's strengths as a defensive coach, which should encourage Boston fans after the team ranked 22nd in the NBA in opponent 3-point percentage last season.

"His views on the game defensively -- him and I spent a lot of time talking about defense and coverages and things that I feel like worked and he feels that worked," Horford said of Udoka.

"I'm excited about what he brings and how he can help our group. So, I'm looking forward to obviously supporting him."

Horford's stamp of approval is one of many Udoka has received over the past nine seasons as an assistant coach. The Portland, Oregon, native played a key role in recruiting LaMarcus Aldridge to San Antonio while working for the Spurs thanks to his close relationship with the All-Star big man, while the Celtics trio of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart reportedly encouraged Boston to hire Udoka after working with him on Team USA at the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Udoka faces an uphill battle to fix a Celtics team plagued by inconsistency and chemistry issues last season. But based on Horford's comments and reactions from around the league, it appears new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens made a quality hire.

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