For the first time really since last season ended, Danny Ainge opened up about everything that went into one of the most frustrating seasons in recent memory. Now when it comes to Ainge it's important you have your bullshit meter handy because you're going to get some classic Danny Ainge spin, but I thought the 6 minute interview was pretty interesting for a number of reasons.
Right off the bat, if you thought Ainge would even come close to slandering Kyrie Irving you haven't been paying attention. Not in a million years would he ever do that. Why? Because players and their agents are always watching. It's why Ainge has been firm with the "it wasn't really Kyrie's fault as much as people say" take. He'll go to the grave saying that even if there's a 5% chance he truly believes it. Optics are everything and Ainge is no dummy. The Kyrie Era was already damaging enough, no need to make it worst by piling on.
It was also refreshing for Ainge to take responsibility and acknowledge that it was his fault last year was such a shitshow. In some ways I agree, but also there's no way he could have known that Kyrie was going to quit in the postseason, and the few moves you could get on him for not making, like trading Rozier and Morris at the deadline were complicated. For Terry, we all had no idea if Kyrie's health was going to make it to the playoffs, and even though his unhappiness was clearly poisoning the locker room, I get why Ainge didn't make a move because if Kyrie went down they didn't have much to fill that role and Terry had proven he could be a starting point guard. With Morris, he was another guy who was unhappy and didn't really accept his role, but he was also their best player for the first like two months of the season. Looking back maybe Ainge should have sold high on him, especially if they didn't have plans to resign him and they did have the wing depth, so if you want to say Ainge fucked that up I can see your case.
Ainge pretty much admits that Jaylen and Tatum were bullshit about their reduced roles given the success they had the year before. We all sort of knew that, but it was interesting to see Ainge pretty much admit it. I don't think it's an accident that he mentioned how good the chemistry and joy is this season, something that is clear to everyone who watches but also the fact that both the young wings are FLOURISHING, just like they did in 2017-18.
I thought he also made a great point about the hierarchy of his roster and the difference between having all this depth of guys who are all on the same level for the most part and then something where there are clear tiers. That's much different this year and guys are clearly accepting their roles. I think Jaylen's extension has something to do with it, I think Kemba being a selfless star player has something to do with it, and I also think filling their rotation out with guys who are not looking out for themselves matters. The one thing I disagree with is how he said nobody really took reins as the #1 guy. That's not exactly true. The real answer is the wrong guy took the reins and didn't allow anyone else to even think about stepping up. That's the clear difference. Kyrie didn't empower his teammates to be better while underachieving in his role as the leader and #1 option. That's not the case this year and they are having multiple guys step up to fill that role because their star player encourages it. That's a huge difference.
All in all I would give the Ainge Bullshit ranking of like 3.5/10 which is a surprise. Really the only part you roll your eyes at you knew was coming, and for the most part I thought he was pretty honest. Hopefully now that shit sit down has happened we can officially move on from 2018-19 because in case you hadn't noticed the Celtics are back to being fun and are way better than anyone could have predicted.