The Boston Celtics could be without head coach Ime Udoka for the foreseeable future. Somehow, a member of their 2008 championship team believes the unknown presents a “great opportunity.”
Udoka, who just completed his first season at the helm in Boston, is facing a lengthy suspension from the team for participating in an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female staffer. His “imminent suspension” will reportedly last the entire 2022-23 season, which will leave the Celtics without the coach that guided them to the 2022 NBA Finals. If Eddie House is to be believed, that’s not necessarily a terrible thing.
“I look at it like this: they should be on autopilot,” House said, per NBC Sports Boston Twitter video. “… I don’t think they need any more motivation than what happened last year. I think everyone should have something to prove coming into the season. I think Jayson Tatum has to prove that, “Hey man, I was worthy of that All-NBA selection.’ Jaylen Brown has something to prove, thinking, ‘Hey, why were y’all even thinking about trading me for an older guy when you have someone younger?’… I think they should be walking around with a chip on their shoulder… This is a great opportunity for everybody to show that, no matter what, this wasn’t a fluke what they did last year.”
House’s statement lends credence to a popular idea that NBA coaches don’t really matter unless they are really good, or really bad.
Udoka’s presence on the bench last year obviously made a difference. He led an unprecedented turnaround following the All-Star break and captained the Celtics into the NBA’s top defense. If Joe Mazzulla, the reported leader to land a potential interim role, does take over, there shouldn’t be much drop off in terms of the x’s and o’s. At that point, it will all lie on the Celtics’ leaders to hold things together and guide them to another NBA Finals trip.