Ime Udoka Takes Shot At Raptors In His Rockets Media Conference

Ime Udoka was introduced as the Houston Rockets' new head coach this week, and in his media conference he offered an explanation as to why the job of taking over the extremely young, and lowly, Rockets appealed to him more than other potential jobs. 

“Houston and Detroit were the two (coaching vacancies) that opened up immediately and Toronto right after that,” Udoka said at his news conference. Honestly, this is more attractive than a lot of the mid-level teams that kind of have that ceiling, that five-seed ceiling … I’d rather start with the young core group and try to build something great here.”

Whoa. That is no doubt a clear reference to—and shot at—the Raptors, who, with their core group, finished at .500 this season and lost in the Play-In, after finishing with the "five-seed" in the Eastern Conference the year before and losing in the first round of the playoffs. Many have labeled the current Toronto core as a team that's, at best, if everything rolls right for them in their present incarnation, a five-seed in the East. 

The Rockets are the youngest team in the NBA by far, as their starting lineup averaged 22 years of age most of the season. They finished with the worst record in the West for the third straight season, and it'll take a herculean effort to get them anywhere within shouting distance of the "five-seed", or even the "eight-seed." 

But Udoka is obviously up for a challenge, and Houston is the place for it. 

The Raptors, meanwhile, fired head coach Nick Nurse last week and are looking for a replacement in an offseason that will undoubtedly feature plenty of personnel change north of the border.