Mannix: C's hiring Udoka ‘strongly' supported around NBA


The reaction to the Boston Celtics hiring Ime Udoka as their next head coach has been overwhelmingly positive.

Immediately after Wednesday's report of the hire, NBA fans and media took to Twitter with an optimistic outlook on Udoka stepping in as Brad Stevens' replacement. Apparently, folks around the league agree that the former San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets assistant was the right choice.

Forsberg: Udoka checked all the boxes for Celtics

Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix shed some light on how the Celtics' hire was perceived around the NBA.

"I like Ime Udoka a lot. He has been someone I believe has been the right choice for weeks now," Mannix said Thursday on Early Edition. "And talking to different people around the league, some who have worked with Udoka, some who just know him, they are strongly supportive of this hire. I think in Ime Udoka you get the best of both worlds. You get the ex-player who can relate to players on a level that a Brad Stevens or any coach that didn't play the game can relate. And you get a guy who paid his dues, whether it was through the [Gregg] Popovich system in San Antonio, working for Brett Brown in Philadelphia, working for Steve Nash and the superstars in Brooklyn.

"You get a little bit of everything with Ime Udoka, and one of the things that Brad Stevens had going for him as a head coach early on was his demeanor. He was a very calm guy on the sidelines, and I think that was an attribute that worked for him. Ime Udoka, you'll find, has the same attributes. He was gonna get a job at some point, I think Boston might be getting him at the right time."

Most importantly, the Udoka hire received the stamp of approval from Celtics stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. Udoka coached the trio as an assistant for Team USA at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, and they apparently enjoyed their experience.

Udoka will have his work cut out for him in his first year as the Celtics' head coach. Boston is coming off a letdown 2020-21 campaign plagued by injuries, inconsistency, and a glaring lack of chemistry. That resulted in a 36-36 regular-season record and a first-round playoff exit.

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