Ime Udoka hoped to designate captains by now.
The Boston Celtics didn’t quite have any veteran leadership last season, and the first-time head coach wanted to nip that in the bud early.
But even the most carefully laid plans get broken, and some preseason adversity has prevented him from getting around to it.
“That kind of took a backseat when things happened in the preseason,” Udoka said via Zoom before Boston’s game against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday. “Guys were out obviously, Jaylen and Al, so I was more focused on our rotations and lineups and continuity than captains as I planned.”
Jaylen Brown and Al Horford tested positive for COVID-19 during preseason, so with two core members of the team quarantined, there were other pressing matters at hand.
And though Udoka didn’t mention it, Marcus Smart’s team suspension probably had a hand in the procrastination as well.
So at this point, does he still plan to bestow a “C” on one of his players?
“I really haven’t thought about it since initially, early in camp,” Udoka said. “Like I said it took a backseat to other things and now more prioritizing us getting back on track, getting guys healthy and getting our lineups together. So I haven’t thought about it much since early. You know, what I didn’t mention was guys leading in several different ways. Marcus, Al are probably more vocal guys. Jayson (Tatum) and Jaylen do it with their playing more so than speaking. So a lot of guys contributing, if they all bring what they bring then I’m more happy with that than having to designate a captain.”
The four mentioned players probably are the best (and only) candidates here, but if everyone steps up in their own way, it might not be necessary.
The Celtics and Wizards tip off Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET.