Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Danny Ainge sat down with Rachel Nichols of ESPN’s The Jump to take one more look at the failures of the 2018-19 Celtics, and has been protocol for the team, he made sure to place zero blame on Kyrie Irving.
“Kyrie in his first year, year-and-a-half, was terrific for us,” Ainge said, “I really liked and was hopeful it would be a good marriage going forward. He really wanted to go home, that’s his choice, and I don’t really know why he gets all the blame.”
With a doe-si-doe on the horizon with the Kyrie (-less) Nets, it was clear this question would come up. Whenever the Celtics go on any sort of show, podcast, you name it, last season, and Kyrie Irving are brought up at length. While it’s easy to say that Danny is just trying to cover for Kyrie to not make him look bad, I tend to agree with him that he (Kyrie) shouldn’t get all of the blame.
Was he a humongous part of it? Yes, yes he was, but in a season that blew up to the degree last year did the blame can’t go all on one guy. To name a few things you can easily blame: Kyrie was a big diva, the Celtics had too many cooks with too many big egos, Brad couldn’t handle said egos, Gordon Hayward was store brand-Gordon Hayward, the young guys rebelled, and so on and so forth. There was so much going on and it does each reason for failure a disservice to pin everything on one guy.
This leads into who Danny actually thought was at fault in all of this: the man in the mirror.
“I do think it was my fault. I think there are some things I wish I’d done different,” Ainge began. “I think I think in hindsight, I wish I would have cleaned out the roster a little bit to make it easier for Brad. We had a deep roster. We were built for a longer run, but we had a lot of young guys who had a lot of success without Gordon and Kyrie. And the guys that had success without those two guys felt like it was their time for the spotlight, and it just didn’t mesh.”
This…this is where Danny is falling on a sword for his team. While he’s right that things could’ve been made easier for Brad with a dumbed down roster, it’s crazy to say that Danny was at fault for this. His job is to bring as much talent in as possible, while Brad’s job is to make that talent puzzle fit together. If the Celtics get rid of a guy or two in the rotation I still don’t think things go great. The whole situation was toxic and the more that comes out about it, the less surprising it all is.
To avoid what happened last year they would’ve had to trade one of their big pieces (Kyrie, Jayson, Jaylen or Gordon) to make things work. That’s how deep rooted their issues were at the top of the totem pole. Danny alluded to this a little bit with this next quote:
“The Lakers have really good depth, in my opinion, right now. But they have two stars. And there are two stars. There are no questions, ifs, ands, or buts, about it. Last year we had eight guys or nine guys that all thought they were equal to each other. And nobody just took the job and won it.
Saying they had 8 or 9 guys like that last year is a stretch but I would say they had around 4-5 who thought that. When the talent is that strong at the top and there are no real roles set, this is what happens. Guys feel slighted and they play for themselves rather than for the team. If anything, that is the main lesson we’ve learned. Talent doesn’t win when talent plays for me and not we.
Check out the full interview below!
Page 2: Where Tremont Waters turned some heads in his debut
Tremont Waters grew up playing against older competition, and as now, he was generally the smallest guy on the floor…
But by the time he checked out in Monday’s fourth quarter with seven points, three assists and a team-high two blocks, the two-way contract player had confirmed a few things with his head coach.
“He just has control of the game. He just has control of the game,” said Brad Stevens. “You don’t have to get too creative with any actions, you don’t have to run complicated things. You just have to get in space, give him a step and let him run the right play. I think he’ll play a lot better when it’s not his first time coming out here, but we think he’s really good.
“So like I said before, we’re not going to hesitate to play him.”
The rookie the Celtics have dubbed “Young Oldhead” has now made his NBA debut and boy was it a doozy. In a game where the Celtics played 3 rookies and most of the roster was under the age of 25, the former LSU Tiger shined.
He played at his own pace, didn’t try to do too much, and got others involved just as he always has. The fact that he was so calm in that situation is eye-opening. So many rookies come in and have jitters/bumps in the road the first time they step on the floor. Waters on the other hand, he looked like he believed he belonged, and he did. The man is wavy and the moves he’s got at his size are so difficult to guard. The moves, coupled with his quickness/intelligence are a killer combo on any level of basketball. He arguably was the most important player off that bench and contributed to a big win for the Hospital Celtics Monday night
While his Two-Way contract limits his time up in the big leagues, expect to see more of Waters down the line, and do yourself a favor and watch this man light it up in Maine next to Tacko.
And Finally…Kemba Walker is probable for tonight
THE REST OF THE LINKS
MassLive: 5 things to watch in Celtics vs. Nets
The Players Tribune: The Top 5 Toughest Players I’ve Ever Guarded (By Marcus Smart)