In Appreciation Of… Danny Ainge

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be looking back at the Boston Celtics championship season in an effort to truly appreciate the efforts of those involved.  This is the first installment of the series.

The 5th pick.

After all the Celtics had been through, the Celtics had gotten the 5th pick. 

Now what?

Danny Ainge had been ridiculed for his so-called “5 year plan,” which we’re pretty sure didn’t include a #1 or #2 pick after year 4.  The blame raining on the team and its coach was starting to splash onto him.  On top of it all, his superstar had had enough of a decade’s worth of not winning, and was starting think it would never happen here.  Something had to be done.

There’s no need to go into detail about the trades.  We know what the trades were.  But a lot of GM’s wouldn’t have traded away the amount of players that Danny did.  They see it as some kind of admission that the plan didn’t work.  Ultimately, however, that usually just leads to more mistakes as GM’s try to cover the stench of their rotting plans.

So Danny had enough guts to make just about everyone available.  He also had enough of a head on his shoulders to make sure Rajon Rondo was NOT available.  That’s just as important as the deals that were done.  Danny knew what he had in his young point guard, and he knew that keeping him was key to this team’s success.  Its easy to say “everyone’s trade bait” and just start shuffling pieces off here and there to make it look like you’re doing something.  It’s another to actually come up with a plan B and know what needs to be done to make it happen.

Yes, Danny made a name for himself with the trades he did (and didn’t) make… but he built a champion with his free agent signings.  The plan came together when James Posey came into the fold.  Our identity as a defensive team that could make you pay on the offensive end became clear with the Posey signing.  The Eddie House signing gave us an offensive option that destroyed teams that decided to collapse on defense.  And in the end, when we knew we needed just a little more help, he coaxed PJ Brown out of retirement. 

And as we head into the NBA draft in just a matter of days… don’t we all feel very comfortable letting the man who essentially stole Leon Powe and Big Baby make the pick?  Aren’t we ok with the man who locked onto Rajon Rondo from the beginning… even when we didn’t really know what he was about… making a selection in a spot that many consider a throw-away?

Danny has shown no fear for doing the unpopular (Doc Rivers extension anyone?) when he knew it would be best for the team.  Yes, he’s made mistakes, but he made up for them by being willing to change course when he had to.  And for that, Danny, we appreciate the job you’ve done in helping us achieve the ultimate goal… an NBA title.

The daily links are few and far between.  But I’d like to call attention to this quote… which was emailed to me by a few people.  It comes from Paul Pierce

“Life has so many hurdles. Some of them I’ve hopped over, and some of them I’ve tripped over. The key is to get back up and finish the race.”

That’ll end up in some email and forum signatures.  Hey… if you got an extra $8,000 lying around… you can own Paul Pierce’s game 1 jersey

Also out there:  Minnesota can shape the entire draft  |  Is Anthony Parker ditching the NBA for Europe?  |  Stephen A. Smith is bad at draft analysis  |  Which might be why he’s been pulled   |  And check out the latest Carnival of the NBA.

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11 Responses

  1. Well said I can’t wait for the draft. I miss watching the Celtics already. Just have to go back and watch the blow-out again.

  2. I give Danny more credit for the smaller moves (Rondo, Powe, Davis, Posey, House) than for pulling off the big deals (KG and Ray).

  3. […] injuries derail championships Postseason power rankings – preparing for the draft Red’s Army In appreciation of Danny Ainge Lex Nihil Novi Doc deserves credit for the defense Commercial Appeal Grizzlies GM knows draft is […]

  4. one thing ainge does really well is…build championship teams

    and he is an excellent drafter, but to those who say they see the celtics drafting a foreigner, danny ainge doesn’t draft foreigners he drafts experienced college players late and when he could took chances on high potential high schoolers early

    trust in ainge at least to draft well anyway

  5. I’m with bigmck, props for posey, e house and some decent draft day trades. But stupid danny could still rear his head on draft day. On the bright side, maybe that would encourage Red’s Army to work on some of the Photo shop skills that drew me to this site way back.

  6. What am I missing? With Ainge as an exec, the Celts have vacillated from mediocre to pure laughing stock, except for this year. Granted, any GM deserves some time for a plan to develop. But although this crop of old geezers is a great team right NOW, they don’t stand a chance at holding off the jovial Lakers in years to come.

    Yours truly,
    Chick

  7. Ah Ghosty. You have no idea do you. The C’s have overcome some truly horrible hurdles over the past two decades. I challenge any team to overcome a first rounder overdosing, a future star dying of a heart attack, and having two shots to land Duncan and getting Billips and Ron Friggin Mercer instead.
    Ainge came here and churned players which was frustrating but all those moves got us a championship. This starting five along with a strong bench should remain contenders for the next two to four years. Perk and especially Rondo will only get better which will balance any aging of PGA during this time.
    Lakers success meanwhile is dependent exclusively on a healthy return of Bynum and perhaps trading Odem.

  8. […] But some very successful business people have really screwed up running sports franchises (James Dolan anyone?). It takes a rare breed to know that difference. A big-time CEO runs a business without emotion… while owning a team requires it. You need a fan’s passion to run a team… but a CEO’s calculating patience. It’s not easy. Which brings us to this ownership group… which we really couldn’t fully appreciate today without having already told the stories of Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge. […]

  9. […] the efforts of those involved. In the first three installments, we’ve appreciated Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, and the Team Owners. Now, we move on to the […]

  10. […] the efforts of those involved. In the first three installments, we’ve appreciated Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, and the Team Owners. We have spent recent days appreciating our key bench players, like PJ Brown, […]

  11. […] the efforts of those involved. In the first three installments, we’ve appreciated Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, and the Team Owners. We then spent time appreciating our key bench players, like PJ Brown, Leon […]

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