What To Make Of Celtics’ Changes On Ime Udoka-Led Coaching Staff

Will Hardy and Damon Stoudamire should bring a lot to the table


July 10, 2021

Recently-hired Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka has got the ball rolling assembling his staff of assistants.

Udoka was hired to replace Brad Stevens, who moved to the front office to become the organization’s president of basketball operations, last month. Since then, the Celtics reportedly have had three departures and three new hires.

Longtime Celtics assistants Jay Larranaga and Jamie Young won’t return after their contracts weren’t renewed, according to The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. Jerome Allen confirmed his departure, as he’ll join the Detroit Pistons staff, as well.

It’s unclear whether Scott Morrison, who reportedly interviewed for the Washington Wizards’ head coaching job, or Brandon Bailey will stay with the team.

Udoka reportedly will have former Spurs assistant Will Hardy joining the staff, and he is expected to keep Celtics assistant Joe Mazzulla in place, according to Himmelsbach. The most recent addition will be former NBA player Damon Stoudamire, according to NBA writer Jeff Goodman.

With so many moving parts, it’s worth digesting what to make of the new-look staff. There seemingly is a lot to like.

First and foremost, the hiring of Stoudamire should be met fondly by both fans and players. Stoudamire, 47, played 13 years in the league. He grew up with Udoka in Portland and spent time as an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies (2009-11) before most recently serving as the head coach at Pacific since 2016. Most importantly, given Stoudamire’s experience, he should be able to relate and command respect from star players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. That’s priority No. 1 for the Celtics, as outlined by Udoka and Stevens last month.

Hardy should be another strong addition as he, similar to Udoka, comes as a member of the Gregg Popovich coaching tree — even serving as the lead assistant for the past two seasons. Hardy, who is somewhat familiar with the area having graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, comes to the Celtics with more than a decade of experience in the NBA. He’s interviewed for head coaching positions in the past, coached the San Antonio summer league team and worked with Marcus Smart, Tatum and Brown while on the USA Basketball staff.

Both Stoudamire and Hardy should provide the Celtics an energetic and experienced group of assistants, and they come to an organization that was in dire need of a shakeup.

Thumbnail photo via James Snook/USA TODAY Sports Images
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