Danny Ainge
(Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

Danny Ainge Doesn’t Seem to Think the Celtics Are Championship Contenders in 2021

Danny Ainge, GM of the Boston Celtics, came out today and spoke outwardly against the notion that the C’s would be contending for a championship this year.

Ainge’s Hot Take

Ainge made his opinion known on the Toucher and Rich Radio Show on The Sports Hub 98.5 in Boston, where he frowned upon the roster and even went so far as to blame himself for the Celtics 14-14 record.

Ainge said:

Our roster obviously is not good. I mean, we are a 14-14 team. There’s no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. That’s who we are,” the Celtics’ GM said, taking responsibility. “This team, where we are, 14-14, if there’s somebody to blame, this is Danny Ainge to blame. This is not Brad Stevens. It’s not Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown. It’s like not good enough right now. And we all know that. And, you know, we need to get better.

Clearly, Ainge feels that Brown and Tatum are centerpieces of the franchise and that Brad Stevens is the right coach. So what’s the deal?

“I’m just saying that our starting team – that we envision as a starting team – has played 20 minutes all year,” Ainge added, “We just haven’t gotten any sort of consistent flow or groove. We’ve had great moments, good games, good wins, and just a lot of stinkers.”

Maybe the Celtics could use some leadership in the locker room, and possibly bring back a player like Al Horford, who exemplified everything that it meant to be a Boston Celtic.

Is Ainge in the Wrong?

While most fans and players constantly ask for transparency from the upper-level management of their organizations, I’m not quite sure this is what they mean.

To be fair, Kemba Walker has been dealing with a major knee injury for the better half of the last year, and Jeff Teague has not been the point guard that we all saw in pre-season.

Even still, just looking at the last few years, the Celtics have not been able to get over the proverbial playoff hump, even with a full and healthy roster.

In 2019-20, they lost to the Heat in the conference finals. Before that in 2018-19, they got knocked out by the Bucks in the conference semi-finals, and then back-to-back years got owned by LeBron’s Cavaliers in both 2016-17 and 2017-18.

What’s In Store for the Rest of 2021?

Maybe the Celtics should take a look around the rest of the league and realize that the ‘super-team’ is the way of the league. Aside from the Kyrie Irving experiment back in 2017, the Celtics have not made a push for a player of his caliber since. Ainge even owned up to the Kyrie Irving fiasco last year and claimed he did not build the team correctly.

Whether Ainge truly means his comments or he is looking to light a fire under his team is unknown, but one thing is for sure: the Celtics look like an average team right now. And that is a conservative way of looking at their situation, to say the least.