Danny Ainge
(Christopher Evans/Boston Herald)

Danny Ainge Stands Behind Stevens Despite Struggles

While some will say Danny Ainge is the most overrated GM in the NBA, I would like to think that he is the most volatile instead. He makes some good moves, then he makes some questionable ones. One thing is for sure though: he refuses to throw anyone under the bus for their struggles. Rather I should say, he refuses to blame Brad Stevens.

About a month ago, the Boston sports media was up in arms when Ainge said that the Celtics weren’t championship contenders. Fast forward to today and Ainge still doesn’t seem to be convinced. Ainge’s stance on where the blame should go remains more or less the same. Danny Ainge appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” show this morning and he essentially pleaded the fifth Tom Brady-style.

“I’m responsible. Brad’s responsible. … There’s not a formula. I’m around the team all the time. Every day I’m watching the preparation, I’m watching the players. Brad has zero responsibility for us shooting 5-for-34 from 3 last night, most of them being open shots. He doesn’t have responsibility when players improvise and are playing with lack of emotion after they miss shots. The only thing that he could do is yank his best players out of the game and go with the other players. That’s the only option that he has.”

If It’s Not Stevens, Then What Is The Problem?

The Celtics lost to the Dallas Mavericks last night, and the final score of 113-108 was deceiving because Boston did not look good at all. But to a certain degree, I agree with Ainge. The players have not been playing with any kind of consistency, plain and simple. The Celtics have also had lots of injuries to deal with on a nightly basis, which Ainge cited as a reason for the C’s dropping seven of their last ten games.

“I think we’re trying to identify how to get the team to best perform and, without anything else, we really do need to get healthy. We have different players out every night and there’s not a lot of time to practice and it really is difficult to sustain continuity. Having said all that, effort should be one thing that is consistent.”

Still, there has to be a point where the Celtics realize that there is not a lot of time left to secure a playoff spot. Right now, the Celtics are barely clinging on to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, with the Indiana Pacers just two games back. Sure, it’s great when Tatum scores 25, Brown scores 24, and Kemba scores 22, but 11/47 from beyond the ark last night won’t get it done.

Not to mention, Boston has not been playing with the usual Boston grit on defense, they’re just too inconsistent in every aspect of the game. Who knows at this point. Maybe the Celtics will make the playoffs, maybe they won’t. The only thing that is certain is this is the worst Boston has looked in a while, and Danny Ainge certainly doesn’t think Brad Stevens is on the hot seat this year.