There's always that tension between a coach and his GM when it comes to younger players. The GM invested in the young guys and they need to play to develop. The coach has a goal to win each night and young players are detrimental to that cause more often than not. Of course the development of young players is also beneficial to the coach in the long run but that's hard to see in the short term. Especially when you have guys taking "one last shot at a title."
So Doc has heard your criticisms and isn't exactly going to back down. He points to the fact that he's played guys like Big Baby and Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins before they were veterans. He also points to the Wizards as an example of how playing the kids without them earning the playing time can be detrimental. So no apologies for the way he's handled Avery Bradley or JaJuan Johnson or the numerous young players before them.
Still, as the team reassesses going forward, they would be wise to make sure that the young talent is being developed.
But at least one rival general manager thinks the Celts would have been better served in the postseason had they given Moore regular time early on. And there are those who think one of Ainge’s best moves was not getting a better veteran in the summer of 2007, essentially keeping Rondo, then in his second year, on the court through his mistakes. Danny wasn’t about to get into specifics, but there’s no doubt he believes the kids need to get a consistent shot — particularly on a team that doesn’t hold many full-squad practices.
What about JuJuan Johnson?
Drafting an experienced player doesn’t guarantee immediate success, as Johnson appeared in just 36 games and averaged 3.2 points. The 6-foot-10 forward was buried on the depth chart, falling behind Ryan Hollins and Sean Williams, a pair of free agent big men signed off the scrap heap late in the season. Johnson will have a much better chance to make an impression this offseason, as the Celtics are scheduled to participate in both the Las Vegas and Orlando summer leagues next month. He should have some competition for playing time from this year’s draft picks.
No wonder the C's committed to both the summer leagues this offseason. They are going to need to give these guys some run on a court somewhere soon. It is kind of important to know what we've got with these kids, not to mention the upcoming draft picks.
At some point, the team needs to move forward and I think it will be this coming year. I maintain that even if the Celtics bring back Garnett and Pierce, it will have to get younger to succeed. That's not always going to be easy but with a full training camp, a regularly spaced regular season, and the chance to have actual practices once in a while, it might happen a little smoother than it did this year.
Youth will be served eventually. And the sooner the better.