Celtics GM Danny Ainge on The Big Show: ‘We haven’t really figured out’ Jeff Green
|11.09.12 at 6:19 am ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, in his weekly interview on WEEI’s “Big Show,” acknowledged that his team’s play has been uneven in the early going of the season en route to a 2-2 record. However, Ainge also noted that it is not unusual for a team that’s gone through considerable offseason changes to endure some growing pains at the start of the year during which the team’s talent isn’t necessarily reflected in the quality of its play or record.
“I hope it doesn’t take a while. I feel like we’re playing very good in stretches, but we’re just having some ugly stretches. I think that all the guys playing together has not been pretty at times, but we’ve had some good stretches. We’ve got to hang on to those, hope those outlast the bad stretches for now as we continue to improve into the season,” said Ainge. “The other guys, the new guys, really have to find their way and earn the trust of the team.
“Generally it takes a while to figure out who your team is. This year’s not different than any other year. Last year, we started 0-3. As time went by, I think a month and a half into the season no one thought the team was going to be good,” he continued. “We’re not playing as well as we’re capable of, but I do think you see good things out of each player, and I also see how difficult it is to get each of the players involved. That’s always a challenge.”
Ainge did acknowledge that Jeff Green, averaging 7.8 points and 2.0 rebounds in 21.8 minutes per game, is still searching for his fit on the Celtics roster.
“We haven’t really figured out Jeff and when to use Jeff or felt an urgency to go to Jeff,” said Ainge. “I think that Jeff has had some favorable matchups through the course of the game, but at the same time our main offensive sets that go through [Rajon] Rondo and Paul [Pierce] and [Kevin Garnett] are working. There’s not really a need to change what we’re doing to go there.
“I think Jeff has been inconsistent in his production and just trying to find his way. I think him more than any other player, is just trying to find where he contributes. What we need from Jeff, is we need him to play that great defense, rebound every night. There’s going to be nights where he can get that 20 points off the bench, and some nights where his number isn’t called that much,” he added. “He’s been fairly productive when we’ve called his number, but he hasn’t been a productive playing off the ball and playing off of our stars.”
Asked if Green has been too passive, Ainge described the subject as “a hard call. He has to find a way, we have to find a way, to allow him to contribute more. … In time he will figure it out and we’ll all figure it out.”
The Celtics architect had a more enthusiastic assessment of point guard Rajon Rondo, comparing the evolution of his game this year to incorporate a more effective jumpshot to the career path he saw from a future Hall of Famer.
“He really hasn’t changed much in his technique. What Rondo’s done, I think that this happens in the evolution of a lot of point guards. When I was coaching Jason Kidd in Phoenix, he went through the same thing. His whole life, he’s been a passer first and a shooter second,” said Rondo. “He’s actually looking to shoot instead of shooting because everyone is covered. There’s a big difference in your percentage. When you do shooting drills in practice, the idea is always that you’re shooting, not looking to pass and then shoot. I think Rondo does a little bit of that.”
To listen to the complete interview, click here.