Ime Udoka finishes fourth in NBA Coach of the Year voting
Former captain of the Nigerian national basketball team Ime Udoka finished fourth in NBA Coach of the Year voting, the world’s foremost basketball league announced Monday.
The 44-year-old, who is in his first year as head coach of the Boston Celtics, received one first-place vote, five second-place votes and 26 third-place votes for 46 points in the voting process.
Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams ran away with the award with 458 points, ahead of Memphis Grizzlies’ Taylor Jenkins (270 points), and Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra (72 points). But Udoka got some recognition for his first year as head coach of the Celtics, which was also his first year as a head coach at any level.
Udoka helped spark an incredible second-half of the season turnaround by the Celtics, as the 17-time NBA champions went 33-10 over the final three months of the regular season to finish 51-31 and end up as the No. 2 seed in the NBA Eastern Conference.
The Celtics swept the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs, but are currently tied 2-2 with the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semi-finals after coming from behind to win 116-108 on Monday night (Tuesday morning in Nigeria).
On a day when Udoka placed just fourth in the NBA Coach of the Year voting, the former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach showed once more why he is undervalued in the NBA world as he switched to a smaller line-up he has gone away from for months and outshot Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, who don’t look like they have the personnel to match the Celtics when they go small.
Game 5 of the series comes up tonight. It gets underway at midnight Nigerian time.