The Rules of Pacers Digest

Hello everyone,

Whether your are a long standing forum member or whether you have just registered today, it's a good idea to read and review the rules below so that you have a very good idea of what to expect when you come to Pacers Digest.

A quick note to new members: Your posts will not immediately show up when you make them. An administrator has to approve at least your first post before the forum software will later upgrade your account to the status of a fully-registered member. This usually happens within a couple of hours or so after your post(s) is/are approved, so you may need to be a little patient at first.

Why do we do this? So that it's more difficult for spammers (be they human or robot) to post, and so users who are banned cannot immediately re-register and start dousing people with verbal flames.

Below are the rules of Pacers Digest. After you have read them, you will have a very good sense of where we are coming from, what we expect, what we don't want to see, and how we react to things.

Rule #1

Pacers Digest is intended to be a place to discuss basketball without having to deal with the kinds of behaviors or attitudes that distract people from sticking with the discussion of the topics at hand. These unwanted distractions can come in many forms, and admittedly it can sometimes be tricky to pin down each and every kind that can rear its ugly head, but we feel that the following examples and explanations cover at least a good portion of that ground and should at least give people a pretty good idea of the kinds of things we actively discourage:

"Anyone who __________ is a liar / a fool / an idiot / a blind homer / has their head buried in the sand / a blind hater / doesn't know basketball / doesn't watch the games"

"People with intelligence will agree with me when I say that __________"

"Only stupid people think / believe / do ___________"

"I can't wait to hear something from PosterX when he/she sees that **insert a given incident or current event that will have probably upset or disappointed PosterX here**"

"He/she is just delusional"

"This thread is stupid / worthless / embarrassing"

"I'm going to take a moment to point and / laugh at PosterX / GroupOfPeopleY who thought / believed *insert though/belief here*"

"Remember when PosterX said OldCommentY that no longer looks good? "

In general, if a comment goes from purely on topic to something 'ad hominem' (personal jabs, personal shots, attacks, flames, however you want to call it, towards a person, or a group of people, or a given city/state/country of people), those are most likely going to be found intolerable.

We also dissuade passive aggressive behavior. This can be various things, but common examples include statements that are basically meant to imply someone is either stupid or otherwise incapable of holding a rational conversation. This can include (but is not limited to) laughing at someone's conclusions rather than offering an honest rebuttal, asking people what game they were watching, or another common problem is Poster X will say "that player isn't that bad" and then Poster Y will say something akin to "LOL you think that player is good". We're not going to tolerate those kinds of comments out of respect for the community at large and for the sake of trying to just have an honest conversation.

Now, does the above cover absolutely every single kind of distraction that is unwanted? Probably not, but you should by now have a good idea of the general types of things we will be discouraging. The above examples are meant to give you a good feel for / idea of what we're looking for. If something new or different than the above happens to come along and results in the same problem (that being, any other attitude or behavior that ultimately distracts from actually just discussing the topic at hand, or that is otherwise disrespectful to other posters), we can and we will take action to curb this as well, so please don't take this to mean that if you managed to technically avoid saying something exactly like one of the above examples that you are then somehow off the hook.

That all having been said, our goal is to do so in a generally kind and respectful way, and that doesn't mean the moment we see something we don't like that somebody is going to be suspended or banned, either. It just means that at the very least we will probably say something about it, quite possibly snipping out the distracting parts of the post in question while leaving alone the parts that are actually just discussing the topics, and in the event of a repeating or excessive problem, then we will start issuing infractions to try to further discourage further repeat problems, and if it just never seems to improve, then finally suspensions or bans will come into play. We would prefer it never went that far, and most of the time for most of our posters, it won't ever have to.

A slip up every once and a while is pretty normal, but, again, when it becomes repetitive or excessive, something will be done. Something occasional is probably going to be let go (within reason), but when it starts to become habitual or otherwise a pattern, odds are very good that we will step in.

There's always a small minority that like to push people's buttons and/or test their own boundaries with regards to the administrators, and in the case of someone acting like that, please be aware that this is not a court of law, but a private website run by people who are simply trying to do the right thing as they see it. If we feel that you are a special case that needs to be dealt with in an exceptional way because your behavior isn't explicitly mirroring one of our above examples of what we generally discourage, we can and we will take atypical action to prevent this from continuing if you are not cooperative with us.

Also please be aware that you will not be given a pass simply by claiming that you were 'only joking,' because quite honestly, when someone really is just joking, for one thing most people tend to pick up on the joke, including the person or group that is the target of the joke, and for another thing, in the event where an honest joke gets taken seriously and it upsets or angers someone, the person who is truly 'only joking' will quite commonly go out of his / her way to apologize and will try to mend fences. People who are dishonest about their statements being 'jokes' do not do so, and in turn that becomes a clear sign of what is really going on. It's nothing new.

In any case, quite frankly, the overall quality and health of the entire forum's community is more important than any one troublesome user will ever be, regardless of exactly how a problem is exhibiting itself, and if it comes down to us having to make a choice between you versus the greater health and happiness of the entire community, the community of this forum will win every time.

Lastly, there are also some posters, who are generally great contributors and do not otherwise cause any problems, who sometimes feel it's their place to provoke or to otherwise 'mess with' that small minority of people described in the last paragraph, and while we possibly might understand why you might feel you WANT to do something like that, the truth is we can't actually tolerate that kind of behavior from you any more than we can tolerate the behavior from them. So if we feel that you are trying to provoke those other posters into doing or saying something that will get themselves into trouble, then we will start to view you as a problem as well, because of the same reason as before: The overall health of the forum comes first, and trying to stir the pot with someone like that doesn't help, it just makes it worse. Some will simply disagree with this philosophy, but if so, then so be it because ultimately we have to do what we think is best so long as it's up to us.

If you see a problem that we haven't addressed, the best and most appropriate course for a forum member to take here is to look over to the left of the post in question. See underneath that poster's name, avatar, and other info, down where there's a little triangle with an exclamation point (!) in it? Click that. That allows you to report the post to the admins so we can definitely notice it and give it a look to see what we feel we should do about it. Beyond that, obviously it's human nature sometimes to want to speak up to the poster in question who has bothered you, but we would ask that you try to refrain from doing so because quite often what happens is two or more posters all start going back and forth about the original offending post, and suddenly the entire thread is off topic or otherwise derailed. So while the urge to police it yourself is understandable, it's best to just report it to us and let us handle it. Thank you!

All of the above is going to be subject to a case by case basis, but generally and broadly speaking, this should give everyone a pretty good idea of how things will typically / most often be handled.

Rule #2

If the actions of an administrator inspire you to make a comment, criticism, or express a concern about it, there is a wrong place and a couple of right places to do so.

The wrong place is to do so in the original thread in which the administrator took action. For example, if a post gets an infraction, or a post gets deleted, or a comment within a larger post gets clipped out, in a thread discussing Paul George, the wrong thing to do is to distract from the discussion of Paul George by adding your off topic thoughts on what the administrator did.

The right places to do so are:

A) Start a thread about the specific incident you want to talk about on the Feedback board. This way you are able to express yourself in an area that doesn't throw another thread off topic, and this way others can add their two cents as well if they wish, and additionally if there's something that needs to be said by the administrators, that is where they will respond to it.

B) Send a private message to the administrators, and they can respond to you that way.

If this is done the wrong way, those comments will be deleted, and if it's a repeating problem then it may also receive an infraction as well.

Rule #3

If a poster is bothering you, and an administrator has not or will not deal with that poster to the extent that you would prefer, you have a powerful tool at your disposal, one that has recently been upgraded and is now better than ever: The ability to ignore a user.

When you ignore a user, you will unfortunately still see some hints of their existence (nothing we can do about that), however, it does the following key things:

A) Any post they make will be completely invisible as you scroll through a thread.

B) The new addition to this feature: If someone QUOTES a user you are ignoring, you do not have to read who it was, or what that poster said, unless you go out of your way to click on a link to find out who it is and what they said.

To utilize this feature, from any page on Pacers Digest, scroll to the top of the page, look to the top right where it says 'Settings' and click that. From the settings page, look to the left side of the page where it says 'My Settings', and look down from there until you see 'Edit Ignore List' and click that. From here, it will say 'Add a Member to Your List...' Beneath that, click in the text box to the right of 'User Name', type in or copy & paste the username of the poster you are ignoring, and once their name is in the box, look over to the far right and click the 'Okay' button. All done!

Rule #4

Regarding infractions, currently they carry a value of one point each, and that point will expire in 31 days. If at any point a poster is carrying three points at the same time, that poster will be suspended until the oldest of the three points expires.

Rule #5

When you share or paste content or articles from another website, you must include the URL/link back to where you found it, who wrote it, and what website it's from. Said content will be removed if this doesn't happen.

An example:

If I copy and paste an article from the Indianapolis Star website, I would post something like this:
Title of the Article
Author's Name
Indianapolis Star

Rule #6

We cannot tolerate illegal videos on Pacers Digest. This means do not share any links to them, do not mention any websites that host them or link to them, do not describe how to find them in any way, and do not ask about them. Posts doing anything of the sort will be removed, the offenders will be contacted privately, and if the problem becomes habitual, you will be suspended, and if it still persists, you will probably be banned.

The legal means of watching or listening to NBA games are NBA League Pass Broadband (for US, or for International; both cost money) and NBA Audio League Pass (which is free). Look for them on

Rule #7

Provocative statements in a signature, or as an avatar, or as the 'tagline' beneath a poster's username (where it says 'Member' or 'Administrator' by default, if it is not altered) are an unwanted distraction that will more than likely be removed on sight. There can be shades of gray to this, but in general this could be something political or religious that is likely going to provoke or upset people, or otherwise something that is mean-spirited at the expense of a poster, a group of people, or a population.

It may or may not go without saying, but this goes for threads and posts as well, particularly when it's not made on the off-topic board (Market Square).

We do make exceptions if we feel the content is both innocuous and unlikely to cause social problems on the forum (such as wishing someone a Merry Christmas or a Happy Easter), and we also also make exceptions if such topics come up with regards to a sports figure (such as the Lance Stephenson situation bringing up discussions of domestic abuse and the law, or when Jason Collins came out as gay and how that lead to some discussion about gay rights).

However, once the discussion seems to be more/mostly about the political issues instead of the sports figure or his specific situation, the thread is usually closed.

Rule #8

We prefer self-restraint and/or modesty when making jokes or off topic comments in a sports discussion thread. They can be fun, but sometimes they derail or distract from a topic, and we don't want to see that happen. If we feel it is a problem, we will either delete or move those posts from the thread.

Rule #9

Generally speaking, we try to be a "PG-13" rated board, and we don't want to see sexual content or similarly suggestive content. Vulgarity is a more muddled issue, though again we prefer things to lean more towards "PG-13" than "R". If we feel things have gone too far, we will step in.

Rule #10

We like small signatures, not big signatures. The bigger the signature, the more likely it is an annoying or distracting signature.

Rule #11

Do not advertise anything without talking about it with the administrators first. This includes advertising with your signature, with your avatar, through private messaging, and/or by making a thread or post.
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Woj: Celtics coach Ime Udoka facing possible suspension for violation of organizational guidelines

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  • #76
    Originally posted by dal9 View Post
    i think everyone just realized MJax was a terrible coach lol
    He’s mediocre but so is Jason Kidd and Nate McMillan yet they got gigs. I don’t think he was worse.


    • #77
      Originally posted by Basketball Fan View Post

      He’s mediocre but so is Jason Kidd and Nate McMillan yet they got gigs. I don’t think he was worse.
      McMillan doesn’t really underperform if you look at the teams he gets. The opposite is true of Jackson. Another thing is that Jackson’s already got a nice paying gig without any of the stress or pressure…he’s not just gonna take any gig that comes by (and the Rockets job is at that level)


      • #78
        Originally posted by SaintLouisan View Post

        McMillan doesn’t really underperform if you look at the teams he gets. The opposite is true of Jackson. Another thing is that Jackson’s already got a nice paying gig without any of the stress or pressure…he’s not just gonna take any gig that comes by (and the Rockets job is at that level)
        I'm not here to debate who is better between Mark Jackson and Nate McMillan as coaches but your statement of "the opposite is true of Jackson" really doesn't pass the smell test.

        Yes his first year in G.S. they declined to a record of 23-46 (shortened season) but the next season he had them at 47-35 then at 51-31. I'd hardly say that they underperformed, at least in the regular season.

        Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13


        • #79


          • #80
            Originally posted by Peck View Post

            I'm not here to debate who is better between Mark Jackson and Nate McMillan as coaches but your statement of "the opposite is true of Jackson" really doesn't pass the smell test.

            Yes his first year in G.S. they declined to a record of 23-46 (shortened season) but the next season he had them at 47-35 then at 51-31. I'd hardly say that they underperformed, at least in the regular season.
            I'll give you Year 2, but the Warriors literally won the championship the year after Jackson left with basically the same team. Perhaps Kerr is a bigger part of the Warriors' run than he gets credit for (and I do believe he, Thompson, and Green will grow in stature with time at Curry's expense, but that's a discussion for another day), but surely we have to say that getting dumped in the first round the year before a championship run is pretty disappointing...I suppose you can say they matured by the 2015 Finals, but how much maturing can you do in a single year? He had amazing pieces and couldn't put it together, no bueno.


            • #81
              I was surprised Rick made that much money...


              • #82
                I have thought about this all along

                Gilbert Arenas Thinks Ime Udoka Got Houston Coaching Job to Prevent Celtics Lawsuit (Part 27) - YouTube


                • #83
                  well we finally found a coach with even worse judgment than udoka...MSU football coach mel tucker hit on the woman they brought in to do sexual harassment training for the players...


                  • #84
                    Originally posted by dal9 View Post
                    well we finally found a coach with even worse judgment than udoka...MSU football coach mel tucker hit on the woman they brought in to do sexual harassment training for the players...
                    I was wondering why this thread was bumped and I figured it was related to that.

                    I think there are a lot of coaches with worse judgment than Udoka but that's another discussion entirely.


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by dal9 View Post
                      well we finally found a coach with even worse judgment than udoka...MSU football coach mel tucker hit on the woman they brought in to do sexual harassment training for the players...


                      • #86


                        • #87
                          which this image is not even right because he mashed the right button with no hesitation


                          • #88

                            Ime Udoka Leaving Celtics Past Behind With Rockets: ‘Hasn’t Come Up’

                            The distance between Houston and Boston is some 1,600 miles as the crow flies.

                            It may seem even further as the Ime Udoka travels.

                            The season may be way too young for conclusions, but after Udoka was suspended and ultimately let go by the Celtics and the Rockets were 20-62, both are no doubt welcoming the 3-3 start.


                            “What happened in Boston is what happened in Boston,” one Rockets source told Heavy Sports. “It hasn’t come up with anyone. And this team hasn’t been 3-3 in I don’t know how many years — three, four years?”

                            The Rockets lost nine of their first 10 last season and 15 of their first 16 the year before. They were 2-4 after six in 2020-21 and, yes, 3-3, to start 2019-20, Mike D’Antoni’s last year on the Rocket bench.

                            Ime Udoka Now Has Fred VanVleet With Rockets
                            For the Rockets, Ime Udoka isn’t the only key addition. Though building with promising kids, the club signed 29-year-old free agent Fred VanVleet, ex of the Raptors to lead from within.

                            Back in April, he’d expressed his frustration with getting some Toronto mates to live up to their talent, telling Heavy Sports, “I’ve been screaming it for two years, you know what I mean? I think that at a certain point you can’t make anybody grow up. It’s going to happen at their own pace and their own speed, and that’s the frustrating part about maturity and just the development stage is that you can harp on it all you want to.”

                            He was apparently determined to get things in order when he arrived in Houston. According to a source, he was telling people, “Man, all this s*** that’s been going on around here, that’s all gonna change. I’m makin’ sure of that.”

                            Thus far, VanVleet has been backing it up on the floor to the extent that he’s shooting less and assisting more than he did last year. He seems to be bringing the promising youth along and setting an example.

                            “He’s exactly what that group of guys needed,” said a league source. “Young guys all want to establish themselves when they show up in the league, and the way (VanVleet) plays shows them they can still get theirs — and get it easier — if they work through each other. And once a young guy starts to taste a little success, that’s a great motivator in itself.”

                            Rockets Assist Numbers Already Improved
                            With, again, the caveat that it’s a small sample, the Rockets do appear to be playing more as a team.

                            “The stat that everyone’s talking about with Ime, because it’s kind of followed him from Boston to now, is the assists to turnover ratio,” said the source, “His teams have historically been high in the league in assists, and with that comes everyone touching the ball and getting shots and being happy.”

                            After averaging 22.4 assists and 16.2 turnovers last season, the Rockets are averaging 27.0 assists and 13.8 turnovers. They have five players averaging between 14.2 and 18.2 points. One of the latter is center Alperen Sengun.

                            “This team hasn’t thrown the ball in the post and played through a big man this much since Yao Ming,” said the Rocket source. “It’s been all James Harden and one-on-one stuff, and it stayed a lot that way even after James left. Ime’s changed that and it’s been really good.”


                            • #89

                              Coach Ime Udoka returns to Boston with a rebuilt Houston Rockets team
                              Former Celtics coach and players reflect on his progress after his suspension and dismissal in 2023

                              Ime Udoka walked off the floor after his first season as coach of the Boston Celtics on June 16, 2022, two wins short of an NBA championship, yet proud of what was accomplished. On Saturday, Udoka will return to the sideline to coach at TD Garden for the first time since that summer, as coach of the Houston Rockets. In between the NBA Finals appearance and becoming the Rockets coach was the Celtics’ suspension and dismissal of Udoka for an improper work relationship.

                              After being hired by Houston, an accountable Udoka is trying to move on. He remains close with his old Celtics players and has made the rebuilding Rockets a winner much faster than anticipated.

                              “My [Celtics] players will reach out and talk about how proud they are about what we’re doing and then vice versa. I see what they’re doing as well,” Udoka told Andscape on Dec. 17. “The biggest piece from just being there for only one season was those relationships we formed. And some of those guys I’ll talk to for the rest of our lives. And so, there is a close bond and you look back at what could have been, but also understand the impact you had and the relationships [you] will continue to have going forward.”

                              RELATED STORY
                              Robert Sarver and Ime Udoka are cases of clarity and confusion
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                              The Celtics hired Udoka on June 28, 2021. He paid his dues before landing his first NBA head coaching job, having served a combined nine seasons as an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and San Antonio Spurs. The former NBA journeyman guard/forward took over a Celtics squad that reached the Eastern Conference finals in three of the previous four seasons before losing in the first round of the playoffs in 2021.

                              After a tough 23-24 start, Udoka coached the Celtics to a 51-31 regular-season record and to the 2022 NBA Finals in his first season. It was Boston’s first NBA Finals appearance since 2010. Udoka also became one of five rookie head coaches to reach the NBA Finals in the past 25 years, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and finished fourth in NBA Coach of the Year voting.

                              “Ime is great. Obviously, under the circumstances, we didn’t get to give it another run and it really showed,” former Celtics guard Marcus Smart told Andscape. “For somebody as a first-year head coach to come in and take the team that he had with Boston, not only to the Finals, but halfway through the season be right at .500 and then take the team to the Finals, that’s not really heard of too often. And we got to give him his credit right there. We built a special relationship.

                              “Ime played. As a [former] player, he understands a lot of the things we go through as players. That connection only gets stronger when you can talk to somebody in control as a coach or somebody that’s out there that understands what you’re going through.”

                              Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka at a practice for the 2022 NBA Finals on June 15, 2022, at TD Garden in Boston.JESSE D. GARRABRANT/NBAE VIA GETTY IMAGES
                              In September 2022, however, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck announced that the franchise was suspending Udoka for the 2022-23 season after an investigation by an outside law firm found multiple violations of team policies. The Celtics named Joe Mazzulla interim head coach in Udoka’s absence.

                              Smart, now with the Memphis Grizzlies, said that the departure of Udoka had a profound impact on Boston last season. The Celtics fell short of returning to the NBA Finals. They were eliminated in the 2023 Eastern Conference finals in seven games by the Miami Heat.

                              “It definitely put a dent in us,” Smart told Andscape, describing Udoka’s suspension and firing. “We were on a high wave of making it there [to the Finals] yet coming up short. We we’re expecting after a full [season] under [Udoka], we can do this again and we can really get into it. And we just didn’t get that chance. And when you get a taste of something like that, it’s hard not to want it. And then when you don’t get it anymore it’s like, ‘Dang, what happened? What could have happened? What could we do?’

                              “It definitely put a dent in us. But the beauty about this game is we’re professionals and we got to go out and play. Unfortunately, it happened. But we definitely learned a lot from Ime.”

                              RELATED STORY
                              Ime Udoka brought not only ‘Coach of the Year stuff’ to Celtics, but representation
                              Read now
                              The Nets strongly considered hiring Udoka to replace fired coach Steve Nash early during the 2022-23 season. Brooklyn, however, promoted Jacque Vaughn to coach on Nov. 9, 2022. The Celtics named Mazzulla its permanent head coach on Feb. 16, officially ending Udoka’s time with the franchise.

                              Udoka played professionally in the NBA, the then-D-League, France and Spain from 2002 to 2012 before becoming an NBA assistant from 2012 to 2022. His dismissal from the Celtics gave him his first lengthy break from pro basketball since going undrafted out of Portland State in 2000.

                              “I missed the day-to-day with the guys. Obviously, it’s all about the players. Once you’ve played, it’s very similar to the day-to-day relationships and camaraderie and bonding with the guys,” Udoka said. “I don’t think that changed as much as a coach. I think most coaches would say, ‘X’s and O’s is great, playing the games is great, but being around guys and those relationships you form is probably the biggest thing.’ ”

                              Houston Rockets coach Ime Udoka (left) and general manager Rafael Stone (right) speak to the media at Udoka’s introduction as the Rockets’ next coach on April 26, 2023, at the Toyota Center in Houston.LOGAN RIELY/NBAE VIA GETTY IMAGES
                              On April 24, 2023, the rebuilding Rockets announced the hiring of Udoka as their head coach. The Rockets investigated with the league office and with the Celtics, among others, before making the job offer, according to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. Rockets general manager Rafael Stone said in a statement at the time that Udoka’s vision “best aligned with the goals the Fertitta Family and myself have for the future of the Rockets.”

                              “Obviously, he had a really successful season in Boston,” Stone told Andscape. “Even though it was a short track record, he had this really good track record. We spent a lot of time together in a short period. I got a sense of who he was as a person. I felt really comfortable. There are no people that I’m aware of that have lived flawless lives and who have not made mistakes …

                              “What happened before wasn’t a big hang-up for us. The bigger thing was how we thought he could fit, how he would fit with the group we had and the group we were trying to compile. How I could imagine working with him going forward. And we spent time together and got to know each other, I felt it could be a really good fit.”

                              RELATED STORY
                              Houston Rockets guard Fred VanVleet works to elevate youths in his hometown
                              Read now
                              On April 26, 2023, the Rockets introduced Udoka as their new coach during a news conference. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said the NBA was comfortable with his franchise’s hiring of Udoka.

                              During the news conference, Udoka addressed the “elephant in the room” about his dismissal from the Celtics.

                              “That’s obviously going to be the elephant in the room,” Udoka said. “You have to talk about it going forward, obviously going into a new situation. For me, it was what I could learn from that year off and how you can grow and improve. I’ve always been one to preach and be about accountability. So, you got to do that yourself when you’re in that situation. So, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for me.

                              “It wasn’t something that I was going to sweep under the rug. You have to address what you’ve been through, what you learned throughout that year and how you can be better going forward. So, that’s the only way I know how to do it, hit it head on and start talking about other things.”

                              Houston Rockets coach Ime Udoka (right) talks to forward Tari Eason (left) during the third quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center on Dec. 23, 2023, in New Orleans.SEAN GARDNER/GETTY IMAGES
                              The Rockets had talented young players on the roster: Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason, and rookie Amen Thompson. Udoka also played a key role convincing key free agents to sign with Houston, including 2021 NBA All-Star guard Fred VanVleet, defensive-minded guard Dillon Brooks and veteran forward Jeff Green, who won a title with the Denver Nuggets in 2023. The combination of young and veteran players gave the Rockets a much-needed mix on the roster.

                              When asked why he wanted to play for Udoka in Houston, Jeff Green said, “The connection I had with him in Brooklyn knowing his coaching style and watching him in Boston for that [season], seeing how he could get a group going. He has bluntness, which I love, being more direct from coach to player. But he also puts his players in a position to succeed and pulls out the best in him. That is a beautiful thing to witness and be a part of.”

                              Udoka said during his news conference that he has made the playoffs every year of his career and doesn’t want that to end now. While Udoka wouldn’t offer details, he said his Rockets players showed their postseason expectations by the win totals they each predicted. While expectations for the Rockets were low entering the season, they have been one of the surprise teams of the NBA, entering Tuesday with a 18-17 record.

                              Sengun is averaging team-highs of 21.4 points and 9.0 rebounds and he was the NBA Player of the Week for last week. VanVleet is averaging 17.5 points and Green is averaging 17.3 points. The defensive-minded Rockets also entered Tuesday with the NBA’s fifth-best defensive rating (111.4).

                              “I see the potential, obviously, but you have to turn that into something realistic,” Udoka said. “There was a combination of the young talent and the free agent opportunities that we had to bring in. And then just the organization in general trying to get there what they call phase 2. They’re starving for winning and wanted change. What I wanted was a lot different than what they had here. We wanted to bring in structure and accountability and all the things that they’re asking for. With the mix of young guys and veterans, I saw the potential there.

                              “Now the thing I would say is they’re a lot quicker to grasp what we’re trying to do. That happened pretty quickly. But credit to them, the effort was never a problem. It was never a thing about they weren’t going to play hard and be competitive. I saw that from day one even in the summer workouts. And so that kind of boded well for what we wanted to do going forward. And now it’s a chance to take incremental steps and get better. When you look at our record overall, it might surprise some people. But we have a competitive group.”

                              RELATED STORY
                              Memphis Grizzlies guard Marcus Smart understands basketball is a business
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                              On Sept. 16, 2023, Smart married his fianc?e Maisa Hallum in Newport Coast, California. Among the attendees were his former Celtics teammates Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Daniel Theis, Terry Rozier and Grant Williams as well as Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II. Also attending were Udoka, Mazzulla and Celtics general manager Brad Stevens.

                              Udoka’s presence at Smart’s wedding was an example of how he has kept a close relationship with his former Celtics players.

                              “We talk regularly, all of them,” Udoka said. “During the year they checked on me when they could. Obviously, we talked initially and then I gave them the space to do what they do and they did the same. But I caught quite a bit of them in the offseason in L.A. I went to Marcus Smart’s wedding.”

                              It’s uncertain what to expect from the Celtics crowd when Udoka is announced at the end of the Rockets’ introductions on Saturday. As for the Celtics players, it appears there will be a lot of respect shown.

                              For Udoka, returning to Boston is the next big step toward moving forward with his life.

                              “You might think for a minute what it’ll be like going back,” Udoka said. “But big picture, it’s not the thing that’s at the forefront of my mind.”