BOSTON (CBS) – Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich Thursday morning for his weekly appearance and discussed a whole host of topics, starting with the NCAA tournament.
The Sweet 16 starts tonight and many of the top NBA prospects are out of the tourney, leaving many to conclude that this crop of talent is overhyped and overrated. There’s still some quality players left standing, but nobody (save for maybe Julius Randle) that can match the caliber of a Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid, who were bounced in the early rounds.
Even though the top prospects were sent packing, it doesn’t change Danny Ainge’s opinion of them.
“We’ve watched all the top prospects play all year long, and there’s been much bigger sort of games that they’ve played and we’ve watched every one of them. So really one game doesn’t make that much difference. You have to pay more attention to why they play well and why they don’t. I don’t really put much stock into just one game, win or loss, in the NCAA tournament.”
Fred was curious to know if Danny happened to catch the Lakers-Knicks game from a couple nights ago. The 24-46 Lakers scored 36 points in the second quarter and another 51 points in the third against a New York Knicks team that’s fighting for their playoff lives. It was the most points scored in a quarter by a Lakers team in franchise history.
Yes, this Lakers team starting Wesley Johnson, Jordan Hill, Chris Kaman, Jodie Meeks and Kendall Marshall were able to put up more points in 12 minutes than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Jerry West ever did in one frame.
“I don’t know what happened but I did read about that. That’s a lot of points to give up in one quarter,” said Ainge.
This segued into a discussion about the game of basketball “then vs. now” from the time when Danny played to present day. The differences between the two eras are great.
“Our players work harder now than when we played. They play better defense than when we played. I think in our era we were better passers. I think the shooting is probably about the same. I think that for whatever reason there’s not as many quality big men as there was in the ’80s.”
Lastly, the Brian Scalabrine situation was addressed.
Former Celtic and current Warriors assistant Brian Scalabrine was reassigned earlier this week by head coach Mark Jackson. It’s being reported that the two just simply don’t see eye to eye.
Toucher and Rich asked Danny about the reported conflict and Ainge, having spoken to Scal since the demotion, says coaching will be a learning process for him.
“I think that Brian takes responsiblity for it, and at the same time I think it’s a learning process for Brian. Brian is a good guy, and Brian is a smart basketball guy. He has his philosophies and he’s a player that jumped right into coaching. He was a very vocal player, very opinionated in the locker room. He was always able to say exactly what he wanted to say and he probably went and was that way in coaching.
“Sometimes when you’re a coach and you’re part of the staff you have to know when to say things and when not to say things. I think it’s probably a good learning experience for Scal. A head coach needs one hundred percent support and he needs everybody to have his back. It’s really important to have that loyalty and support from everyone.”
We know the White Mamba has hung up his sneakers for good, but is a return to Boston as a coach a possibility?
Ainge didn’t rule it out.
“I would consider Scal if we had openings for a lot of positions in our organization. I have a lot of respect for Scal, his knowledge and his work ethic. Absolutely.”
Listen below for the full discussion, including Ainge’s thoughts on Rondo’s foray into broadcasting: