2021-22 was a rookie season to remember for Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka.
Boston’s head man accomplished quite a bit in his first year at the helm, leading his team to an appearance in the NBA Finals and making a name for himself as one of the brightest young coaches in the sport. But there’s an overwhelming feeling around the NBA that he’s just getting started.
Udoka took home NBA Coach of the Year in ESPN’s preseason projection of the 2023 NBA awards, claiming 38.9% of first-place votes among the network’s NBA analysts. Here’s what they had to say about Boston’s star coach.
Ime Udoka guided Boston’s second-half transformation before the franchise’s run to the NBA Finals. Our panel sees the Celtics’ second-year coach picking up where he left off.
Despite the incredible start to his coaching career, Udoka finished fourth in the 2022 vote, with Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams taking home the award. Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra split the spots between Udoka and Williams.
Udoka wasn’t the only Celtic to receive recognition in ESPN’s exorcise, with Jayson Tatum finishing tied for seventh in MVP, Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III finishing tied for sixth in Defensive Player of the Year, and Malcolm Brogdon finishing second in Sixth Man of the Year voting.