The Boston Celtics made headlines this offseason when it came to roster moves and changes in the front office. After coaching this Celtics team since 2014, Brad Stevens was announced as the new President of Basketball Operations, replacing Danny Ainge.
It was a massive development across the NBA, as Stevens was viewed as one of the more elite coaching minds in the league. That meant the Boston Celtics would need a new man in charge. They decided to hire former longtime coaching assistant and NBA player Ime Udoka.
Although it's going to be the first time that Udoka will be a head coach, his coaching resume came with some impressive experience.
One of the main factors behind the hiring of Ime Udoka was his knowledge of the defensive side of the ball. During his career as a player, Udoka was known for being a defensive specialist. He now looks motivated to get the Boston Celtics back to defending at a high level.
After a complete overhaul of the roster, Brad Stevens and the front office brought in a number of veteran players who have a reputation for their defensive ability. It looks as if the Celtics could be on their way towards becoming a gritty defensive team again.
ESPN's Zach Lowe even went out recently to say that everyone needs to keep a watch out for the Boston Celtics this year.
“People are sleeping on Boston. The Celtics are deep, with the makings of a top-5-ish defense; lineups featuring Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Robert Williams III will be hard to score against," said Zach Lowe.
While it's a popular time for "overreactions" across the NBA, this one does have some weight to it. This Boston Celtics team has been a team that has been generating some serious buzz over recent years.
Fans know what the team went through recently with the Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, and Kemba Walker years. But now, this team looks like it could be ready to get back on the right path with a new voice in charge.
Can the Boston Celtics surprise the East in the 2021-22 NBA season?
The hiring of Udoka isn't the only thing the Celtics have going for them. Two of their young stars look more ready than ever to take a big step forward for this organization. Jayson Tatum looks ready to unlock another level to his game after spending the summer with Team USA and adding strength to his body.
Tatum has said throughout the offseason that he's wanting to make it an emphasis to be more aggressive in attacking the basket. Jaylen Brown has also said that he's felt fantastic and his body is more prepared than ever for the upcoming season. If the talented wings can both continue to improve their games on both sides of the ball, the Boston Celtics could flourish this year.
It seems as if this core of players has always played to their best when the hype hasn't spun out of control. Some of the players on the current roster have thrived since receiving the "underdog" tag throughout their careers.
With strategic additions like Al Horford, Dennis Schroder, and Josh Richardson, it's clear that the Boston Celtics are looking to add a specific mentality when it comes to the team's identity for the upcoming year.
So far the reviews from training camp have been nothing but positive when it comes to new head coach Ime Udoka. Players have commented that they love the ability Udoka has to connect with the players and provide "honest" feedback.
A majority of the veterans on the roster have even applauded the mindset that Udoka has for this roster, with an emphasis on defense and increasing the pace of play. For a Celtics team that seemed eager for a new voice in the locker room, this could be just the thing this Boston team needs to start pushing the needle forward again in the Eastern Conference.
If the team can stay healthy and gel quickly under Udoka, the Boston Celtics could become a sleeper to watch out for in the NBA this year.
Poll : Will the Boston Celtics be a Top 3 seed in the NBA Eastern Conference this year?