After the Celtics suffered a humiliating 127-112 defeat to the Hawks on Wednesday — Boston’s third loss in a row, dropping the staff’s file to 15-17 — president of basketball operations Danny Ainge known as in for his weekly interview on 98.5 The Sports activities Hub’s morning present, “Toucher & Wealthy.”
Amid a dialog that lined a spread of topics pertaining to the Celtics’ present struggles, Ainge made a blunt admission.
“We’re enjoying terribly,” he mentioned. “We don’t have a ok staff for my part.”
A part of the problem stems from the shortened offseason throughout which Gordon Hayward left the Celtics in a sign-and-trade with the Hornets. Different rumored offers involving the 30-year-old fell by.
In reflection, the longtime Celtics govt had equally sturdy criticism of his personal efficiency.
“I’ve made errors,” Ainge mentioned after being requested if he had regrets. “There are issues I want I might’ve accomplished higher and thank goodness we stay in a world of basketball and there’s option to rectify it, though normally these methods aren’t in a single day. They take time.”
Regardless of the turmoil, Ainge doesn’t imagine any of it’s derived from behind-the-scenes drama amongst the staff itself.
“No, undoubtedly not,” he answered when requested if there was any problem between gamers or coaches. He additionally backed Celtics coach Brad Stevens, dismissing the notion of gamers tuning him out.
“After I hear a participant or a coach is being tuned out, that’s normally from a coach that’s doing nothing however screaming and yelling,” mentioned Ainge.
Right here’s a take a look at a number of the subjects Ainge lined in his interview, together with Boston’s pair of All-Stars dealing with a brand new stage of scrutiny, and the potential for trades previous to the March 25 deadline.
He shared his ideas on the staff’s present issues.
For the Celtics, it’s not simply that the staff is presently immersed in a three-game shedding streak, however that not one of the groups Boston misplaced to throughout the stretch are presently above .500. And because of the skid, the Celtics are additionally now beneath the .500 mark, a primary after this many video games in a season since 2014.
“It’s exhausting to clarify,” mentioned Ainge. “I imply we talked final week in regards to the depth stage and the way it hasn’t been there. I don’t have a proof. The staff just isn’t enjoying effectively, we’re not enjoying exhausting persistently. We’ve got nice stretches most video games, with exception to final night time. We didn’t have any good stretches till the sport was over with six minutes to go within the sport and the fellows that don’t get to play very a lot obtained to play.”
Regardless of the string of setbacks, Ainge stays assured that the Celtics are able to higher play.
“I nonetheless am a believer that our staff could make a run, identical to Dallas has made a run, and Washington not too long ago made a run,” Ainge provided, noting the elevated stage of parity throughout the league in what he described as a “very unusual” 2020-2021 season.
“Each staff is near .500 minus the highest six or seven groups proper now,” Ainge defined. “They’re all hovering round [.500]. Miami was within the Finals final 12 months. They’re beneath .500. And shedding to Miami…that might not be a slam relying on which Miami you’re getting. I simply assume that it’s an fascinating 12 months. I want I had solutions for you. I don’t. I do imagine in my gamers. I like all of them individually. I feel all of them have good futures.
“I simply assume that proper now our staff is in a serious funk, and I don’t know all of the solutions as to why,” mentioned Ainge. “I want they had been enjoying higher, for them and for our followers.”
Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and “ball-stopping”
With regards to Celtics All-Stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Ainge was requested what he thinks about the concept that the duo — prolific scorers as they’re — have additionally had a deleterious impact on the ball motion within the offense. Particularly, that Brown and Tatum are “ball-stoppers,” halting staff passing to power their very own photographs.
“I feel it’s unfair to only say that they’re ball-stoppers,” Ainge defined, including that the dialog across the two gamers goes deeper than offensive utilization. “The largest factor about Jaylen and Jayson is that they’ve been shielded earlier than as a result of they’ve had different actually good gamers and veterans round them as they’ve developed and gone to a few out of 4 Japanese Convention [Finals]. Now, it’s on them. Now they’re the celebrities, and so they obtained the massive contracts, and so they obtained the All-Star nods, so the microscope is on them.”
Ainge credited Brown, 24, and Tatum, 22, for his or her poise within the present disaster.
“I feel that they’re each very mature children for his or her age,” mentioned Ainge. “I feel that they’re dealing with it effectively, for my part. I don’t assume that they’re pointing fingers.”
Evaluating offenses designed for “nice gamers like Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant,” Ainge mentioned that Boston does permit its stars to “cease the ball.”
“I feel its’ slightly bit unfair to only maintain the ball-stoppage on them, however I perceive it and I feel that they’ll get higher at it,” mentioned Ainge. “I feel that we have to encompass them with extra scoring off the bench, we’d like guys to play with extra swagger and confidence and that aren’t subservient to Jaylen and Jayson, and can exit and play their sport additionally and simply let it go.”
Ainge blamed himself for the bigger points with the present Celtics roster.
“It is a me drawback,” Ainge concluded. “And I’m saying that I like my two younger guys. They’re not good and so they’re studying, and this adversity is a part of their development and improvement, not deliberately, it’s simply the character of the beast.”
What he needed to say about the potential for a commerce
Having claimed blame for the Celtics’ points, Ainge was additionally requested how he may attempt to alleviate the issues with a possible commerce.
“We’ll see if we will make any adjustments,” Ainge replied. “I’m not seeking to simply do one thing for the sake of doing one thing, however I’m seeking to do one thing that may make a distinction on our staff.”
On Wednesday, Celtics proprietor Wyc Grousbeck additionally did an interview on 98.5, alluding to the chance that Boston might not use the big commerce exception it obtained in change for Hayward’s departure till the summer time.
Ainge was requested if it was tacit admission that the staff was giving up on the present season by doubtlessly ready for the offseason to make use of the Traded Participant Exception.
“No, I wouldn’t say that,” Ainge answered. “What I might say the timing is vital. We might use that commerce exception if the suitable deal got here alongside, however I feel that what Wyc might be saying is — as a result of we’ve talked about this rather a lot internally — is that the probably situation of a deal that we’d need would come alongside within the offseason versus the right here and now. Doesn’t imply we couldn’t use parts of it at this level, however which may stop one thing greater within the offseason.”
As for addressing the staff’s quick time period issues with a doable commerce, Ainge reiterated that “I don’t have these solutions and it’s most likely not the time that it’s going to be answered.”
Nonetheless, with a month to go earlier than the commerce deadline, Ainge didn’t rule something out.
“We’re speaking and we’re making an attempt to do some issues,” he mentioned of a doable commerce. “We’ve been shut a few instances. I don’t know the reply. Time will inform.”
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