Ainge: We like our talent
|09.23.10 at 1:14 pm ET|
QUINCY — Speaking to reporters before the Celtics annual golf fundraiser to support The Shamrock Foundation, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge noted: “I think this is the most talented team we’ve had in quite a while. Now it’s just a matter of it all coming together.”
Never one to tip his hand, Ainge acknowledged that the team has been bringing in players such as Rashad McCants and Adam Morrison (who just agreed to a training camp deal with the Wizards), but said, “We may be all done, and we may not.”
Where the Celtics are thin is at the backup wing position behind Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Ainge brought in Delonte West and Von Wafer, and re-signed Marquis Daniels to primarily fill those roles. West and Daniels, in particular, seem to have the inside track.
“Had we not had the [Kendrick Perkins] injury, maybe our focus would have been on backup wings for Paul and Ray,” Ainge said. “It was still a priority. After we got our center positions filled, bringing in Delonte and Nate [Robinson], I think were huge just to take minutes off of [Rajon] Rondo and Paul and Ray. I think we have great depth now in bringing Marquis back.”
On the subject of Daniels, it hardly seemed a given that he would return to Boston after falling out of favor, and the rotation, following a mid-season thumb injury. Ainge, however, sounded an optimistic note about his contributions.
“It didn’t work out for him [last year],” Ainge said. “Tony [Allen] earned the minutes, but coming out of training camp Marquis won those minutes. Marquis outplayed all of our bench players throughout October, November and December until he had the [thumb] injury. We know what Marquis is capable of doing.” Ainge also touched on a handful of other items including the health of rookie Avery Bradley who had surgery on his left ankle in the offseason and won’t be ready for the start of camp. “He’s a couple of weeks away at least,” Ainge said adding that the team wouldn’t rush his return.
On Kevin Garnett continuing to recover from keen surgery: “I think Kevin needed some rest and time off. I think he’s in much better shape than he was last year starting training camp. I think KG got better as the year went on. You saw him moving better in the playoffs than in the regular season.”
Ainge noted that while Shaquille O’Neal isn’t a great pick and roll player, it was his rebounding that attracted the Celtics. “He really knows how to rebound,” Ainge said. “We feel like in our defensive schemes we’ve really imporved our defense.”
On the subject of rebounding, this was Ainge’s take on Game 7:
“Last year your rebounding wasn’t every good in the regular season but it was very good in the playoffs. We got outrebounded bad in Game 7 and it wasn’t always the bigs. The Lakers put three guys on the offensive glass. [Ron] Artest really hurt us on the offensive boards. I don’t necessarily think it was because we didn’t have Perk.”
As for a prognosis on Perkins, who is recovering from offseason knee surgery, it seems that it’s too early to tell. “Nobody knows,” Ainge said. “He’s doing well. He’as ahead of schedule according to him and the doctors.”