Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe wrote a great article today about how committed the Celtics players are to returning to the NBA Finals. He interviewed Danny Ainge, who is very optimistic about both the upcoming season, and the development of the younger players. (Boston Globe)
Ainge, on the team’s dedication to winning:
“I think that the more important thing is that they themselves want another crack at it,’’ said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “Ray and Paul and Marquis and Nate, those guys all had opportunities to do other things. They all had other teams that had interest in them and they all chose to want to come back. Doc had other things he could have done, but everybody chose to come back. It’s not just about what I want or what [owners] Wyc [Grousbeck] and Steve [Pagliuca] want, it’s about what they want, too. And I think that that’s what’s the most intriguing part about it, or exciting part.’’
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: there’s not a group of guys more focused on winning an NBA championship than the Boston Celtics. Like Ainge said, the guys had opportunities to leave, but they never seriously considered any of them, because they wanted to play together, and they wanted another ring. When the Celtics won the NBA championship in 2008, there was talk about whether on not they would be hungry enough to repeat, hungry enough to sacrifice themselves for the team. Time and again, these guys have proved that they are willing to sacrifice almost anything to win another championship. It’s what I love best about this team. You can tell me the Lakers or the Heat are going to be better this season, had a better offseason. But there’s not a team in the league I’d rather root for– whether they wore the Celtics’ jerseys or not.
Ainge, on the development of Rondo, and Big Baby:
“I think Glen is just like most young players,’’ Ainge said. “Consistency is always the thing with young players. You get a good game here and a good game there, and Glen has provided that. He’s reached the point in his career where his teammates and his coaches have all the confidence in him to go out and perform at any moment — fourth quarter, on the road, at Orlando or at LA. They believe in him and he’s proven it. For Glen to take the next step is to be as consistent as the top-notch players in the league. He’s going to play a big role and he’s excited about that challenge.’’
I like the fact that Rondo’s continuing to improve,’’ Ainge said. “I like the fact that Baby’s getting better all the time and able to take on more responsibility.”