Celtics

Pritchard thinks new Celtics coach Ime Udoka will be 'awesome fit'

Celtics

A new era of Boston Celtics basketball begins this season with Ime Udoka taking over for Brad Stevens as the team's new head coach.

The Celtics haven't had too many head coaches of late. In fact, Doc Rivers and Stevens were the only head coaches Boston had since 2004 before hiring Udoka.

Forsberg: How C's can create cap space to pursue a star like Beal

Udoka spent last season as an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets. He also spent several years on Gregg Popovich's staff with the San Antonio Spurs.

He's well prepared for his new role in Boston, and one of the reasons why is he already has some relationships with the players.

One of them is with Celtics guard and 2020 first-round draft pick Payton Pritchard.

"Ime is from Portland, and obviously that's where I grew up. I've known coach for a long time now just because of Portland and the community there is a lot smaller," Pritchard told reporters Tuesday.

"He was a heck of a player growing up, and obviously when he was with the Spurs and did camps I would see him there. We've definitely known each other for a while. Him as a coach, I think it's going to be an awesome fit for our team. I think he's going to push us but he'll make us better. We're all looking forward to the opportunity to work together and make something happen this year."

Pritchard exceeded expectations as a rookie and became a valuable part of Stevens' rotation. He averaged 7.7 points per game on 41.1 percent shooting.

The Oregon product should play an even larger role in his second season, especially with the Celtics not having a ton of depth at the point guard position.