While things didn't end well for Ime Udoka with the Boston Celtics, Grant Williams has nothing but respect and admiration for his former coach. The new Dallas Mavericks forward admitted as much in his recent talk with Emily Austin of The Hoop Chat.
In the interview, Austin asked Williams about his previous comments on Udoka where he said the ex-Celtics coach is the best one he's ever played for. Williams has four years of NBA experience under his belt, and during that time, he has seen three coaches take over Boston–starting from Brad Stevens, then Udoka before Joe Mazzulla was handed the reins.
“Ime is a guy that, he's very vocal, he's very communicative of what he needs you to do, but he also is very critical of you and also supports you. So he does the best of both worlds when it comes to like, being a player's coach and communicating. But he's also really good with the X's and O's. He's the most relatable coach for me cause he's [not only] a former player, but he's also a guy that is the ultimate competitor,” Williams shared.
“And I'll always speak highly of him because he changed my career, he changed how I viewed myself and how I even played, so he's one of my favorite if not the favorite coach I've ever played for.”
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It's not surprising why Grant Williams has high praise of Ime Udoka, though. After all, it's with Udoka that Williams got a significant role with Boston. In the lone year that the former San Antonio Spurs assistant handled the Celtics, Williams saw a massive increase in his minutes, production and games started.
Williams averaged 7.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 77 games played–including 21 starts–in 2021-22. In 2020-21, the new Mavs recruit only put up 4.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 63 games (nine starts) played.
Udoka is now with the Houston Rockets after the Celtics parted ways with him because of his off-court issues. As for Williams, he'll get to see what Mavs coach Jason Kidd is made of and what the veteran tactician can do for him. Perhaps the fact that Kidd is one of the best players to ever step on the NBA hardwood will also bring plenty of benefits for Williams.