Quick hits from Ainge
September, 25, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
BOLTON, Mass. -- A handful of quick hits from Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge on Tuesday morning before the team's charity golf tournament at The International:
* On Rajon Rondo being among the elite point guards in the game: "The way he played last year in the playoffs, I thought was pretty incredible. He proved he’s the best player on the team. He’s a guy that has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches. And I think that’s a big step. We're excited for him this year, he’s worked really hard this summer as well."
* On retirement of Keyon Dooling and need for backup ball-handler: "I'm not really surprised. Keyon and I had a lot of conversation, so we sort of thought it might be going that way. But we probably won’t bring anyone else in, no, we like our young guys. We like Kris Joseph, and Dionte Christmas, and Jamar Smith, and they’ll be competing for that last spot."
* On the addition of Darko Milicic: "So Darko has been a good player in stretches in his career, and he has struggled in other places. He’s a big body and he knows how to play. So we’re hopeful he can, in our system, with our guys -- it seems like everybody that we’ve played at our center position over the last few years has thrived in our system, and playing opposite [Kevin Garnett], and with Rondo. We like his intelligence on the court, and his passing ability, and he’s 7-foot-1, 270 pounds, that helps.
* On competition at the big man positions: "There’s a lot of competition at the big positions with Jason [Collins], and [rookie] Fab [Melo] has looked good in September play in the [practice] facility. There’s a lot of competition -- Brandon [Bass is] going to play some there, KG will play some there, Jared Sullinger, [too]. We have a lot of depth there, lot of competition to play opposite our four stars."
* On adding Jason Terry and Courtney Lee to backcourt: "Jason gives us another playmaker. He is a shotmaker also, he can play off the ball playing with Rondo, but he can also run pick-and-roll, so it gives us another guy that can handle the ball. Courtney is a good defender, and he can make open shots. He’s not as much [of a distributor], but a solid player who can make open shots and defend multiple positions. We really like both of those guys. Great characters guys and hard-working players. They’ll both fit into our system."