Thursday, January 10, 2013
Ainge on Rondo, KG, Bradley's return
By Greg Payne
Quick hits following Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge's weekly appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI:
On Rajon Rondo needing to change his behavior in the wake of his recent one-game suspension: "I think Rondo said it best. They asked him how he would respond and he said, 'I'll adapt.' And, he needs to adapt. But I think it's more than that. I think it's an acknowledgement that this is the guy that runs the league. He's been running it for 30 years and I don't think anybody's out to get Rondo. I mean, he's put himself in this position, and I think he can get himself out."
On whether there's less trash-talking today than when Ainge played: "You know, I think that there is. Yeah, I mean, I think that there's still guys that talk trash, but I think there's probably fewer players that do that. And, again, when you're in a college environment and you go on the road, and even some high school environments, and you go on the road, boy, now the fans, they look up everything on Google, they know things that have gone on in your life. And if there's anything controversial, that student body knows everything, and I can understand how that can get under a player's skin, but there's really nothing you can do, right? If someone says things on the court, again, playing basketball, growing up on the playground with older kids, there's nothing sacred, and you just have to get used to tuning out what people say, what the fans say, what the players say. You've got to just play."
On Kevin Garnett's fourth-quarter performance vs. the Phoenix Suns Wednesday: "Kevin is just, he's a very good instinctive player, and his greatest asset other than just his length and shooting ability is how he's accountable for his mistakes and how responsible he is and how professional he goes about the job and he's not afraid of accepting that accountability and he takes pride in every possession. And, it's one reason why Kevin Garnett has been one of the best players in the game because you can't look at a stat sheet a lot of times and see Kevin's greatness. And there's very few players that aren't playing for those stats and for the fantasy league top 10 or the ESPN highlights, and KG is truly all about winning basketball games, and he has an impact on that. Whether he scores 10 points or 20 points, the guy has an impact on the game, and that's why we love him."
On Avery Bradley's effect on the team's defense since his return: "You know, Avery's arrival was huge because our defense is now back to the defense that we were last year. And we were one of the top defensive teams in the league last year and this year we were 21st. And by putting Avery back in the starting lineup, all of a sudden our team is playing at the same level, if not better, than we did last year. So, I know it's only a four-game sample or a five-game sample, but it's pretty impressive with the defense that we've played against very good competition as well. So, I think that you would have to say that Avery's impact has been huge. And obviously it isn't just Avery. But because of Avery, every other person's defense has picked up. And that's sort of KG-like."
On Bradley's defense limiting the shot clock for opponents: "I think that that's a factor. I'll tell you, the biggest factor I think is that that guy plays so hard, he exposes everybody else on the court if they're not playing defense, just by his play. How can you not see that? How can you not see this guy working so hard, fighting over every screen, defending every dribble and every pass? And if somebody else isn't doing that, they're exposed, and I think that stands out, too, and I think that elevates the play of his teammates."