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  • How good was Ime Udoka in the NBA? Rockets coach's playing career examined
Houston Rockets coach Ime Udoka spent 12 years in the NBA as a player (2000-2012).

How good was Ime Udoka in the NBA? Rockets coach's playing career examined

Ime Udoka got ejected as the Houston Rockets fell to the LA Lakers 107-97 on the road Saturday night. The Houston coach had a verbal exchange with LeBron James, which led to his ejection from the game.

Udoka is in his rookie season with Houston (8-9) and aims to make the franchise a playoff contender in the West after a few struggling seasons. Before joining the Rockets, Ime Udoka coached the Boston Celtics for one season (2021-22 season), leading the franchise to the NBA Finals before losing to the Golden State Warriors in six games.


The 46-year-old played 12 years as a professional (2000-2012).

The first six of those years were split between the G League and Europe, along with a brief stint with the Lakers (2003-04).


Udoka, who played for both San Francisco and Portland State in college, played 316 games, with 80 starts, for five franchises in seven NBA seasons.

Udoka averaged 5.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game in his NBA career. His best season came in 2006-07 with the Portland Trail Blazers, when he started all 75 games, averaging career highs in points (8.4), rebounds (3.7) and assists (1.5).


In 2006, he joined the New York Knicks first and then the Portland Trail Blazers, before moving to the San Antonio Spurs for a couple of seasons. He then played for the Sacramento Kings and returned to the Spurs for his second stint (2010-11). Ime Udoka played the last year of his professional career in Spain with Murcia.

Ime Udoka, who also played for the national team of Nigeria in the 2006 FIBA World Cup, was mostly known for being a great defender coming off the bench.

After his retirement and before taking over the Celtics, he worked as an assistant for the Spurs (2012-2019), Philadelphia 76ers (2019-20) and Brooklyn Nets (2020-21) and claimed the 2014 NBA championship with San Antonio.

Ime Udoka says loss to Lakers was the 'worst overall game' for the Rockets


Ime Udoka wasn't satisfied with what he saw from his players in the 107-97 road loss to the LA Lakers.

"Probably our worst overall game as far as effort and attention to detail, and that’s what we haven’t done this year: play with the proper effort or physicality," Udoka said, via the Houston Chronicle.
"Since we achieved some success, it looks like it’s gone to some people’s heads, and we have to do what we did to get us there."

The Rockets have lost six of their last eight after winning six in a row. They will look to snap their three-game losing skid on Wednesday when they host the OKC Thunder (13-6).

Edited by
Joseph Schiefelbein
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