Boston’s brain trust just got a little more brainy. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, head coach Ime Udoka is adding Ben Sullivan to his ever-growing staff. Sullivan had served under Mike Budenholzer in Milwaukee and Atlanta as one of his top assistants and is largely credited with improving two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo’s shooting. The Finals MVP shot 16 for 17 from the free throw line to clinch the NBA championship in Game 6.
Sullivan previously worked with Udoka in San Antonio as an assistant video coordinator, but his calling card has been his work on shooting mechanics. The Athletic’s Eric Nehm profiled the work he did with then Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe:
Sullivan has been an assistant for Budenholzer since he became an NBA head coach with the Hawks in 2013. He started working with Budenholzer the previous season when he received his first NBA job working in the Spurs’ video room. Along with scouring film, Sullivan learned how to teach the art of shooting from one of the very best, revered Spurs shooting guru Chip Engelland.
“He’s great, man,” Bledsoe said of Sullivan. “He’ll send me clips. He’ll send me stats. He tells me all the time, ‘Nobody makes every shot.’ Just come out here and shoot the ball confidently because you’ll have games where you shoot hot from 3 and you’ll have games where you do not make a 3.
“But for the most part, he just tells me to play my game and just feel it out. Everything else is going to take care of itself.”
Sullivan is the latest Portland native to join Udoka in Boston along with Damon Stoudamire, Aaron Miles, and Garrett Jackson. Previously, Udoka hired Will Hardy as his lead assistant and retained Joe Mazzulla from Brad Stevens’ staff. Mazzulla is currently coaching the Summer League in Las Vegas this weekend.