Danny Ainge tried his best to defend his players while questioning their intensity levels. The Boston Celtics are 5-9 in February.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have tried their level best to keep the Celtics afloat. The team has fallen apart around them of late. Their loss to the 13-18 Hawks proved that the Celtics have a long way to go before they reach relevance.
Losing Gordon Hayward has affected their depth chart during a time when they were without a viable option to start at the 1 guard position. Hayward would have alleviated many of their playmaking concerns – the 6’7″ forward has been stellar with the Hornets.
Nevertheless, Celtics President Danny Ainge has a lot to ask from his team after a series of lifeless displays. 6 of the Celtics’ losses have come by a margin of 5 points or less, raising questions about Tatum and Brown’s ability in clutch.
Danny Ainge wants no part of blaming Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown
Ainge addressed all of those concerns in a rare public statement. He also revealed that he isn’t actively looking to rush into a deal to use their TPE worth $27 million:
“I wish I had answers for you. I don’t. I do believe in my players. I like them all individually. I think they have good futures. I just think right now our team is in a major funk. We’re playing terribly. We don’t have a good enough team — in my opinion.”
Given Tatum and Brown’s terrible individual outings against the Hawks, Ainge was neutral yet again:
“Here’s what the biggest thing about Jaylen and Jayson is. They’ve been shielded before because they’ve had other really good players, veterans around them as they developed — and went to three out of four Eastern Conference (finals).
“Now, it’s on them. Now, they’re the stars. And they’ve got the big contracts. And they got the All-Star nods. So the microscope is on them.”
Danny Ainge on the Celtics struggles: “It’s hard to explain. The intensity level hasn’t been there. I don’t know how to explain it. Our team isn’t playing well. They don’t play hard all the time. I don’t have an explanation. It’s been frustrating for the players and the coaches.”
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) February 25, 2021