Steve Bulpett has a solid interview with Ainge in the Herald.Â The whole thing is worth reading but I wanted to quote some of it here (of course, I couldn't pick just a few quotes, so I've cut and pasted half of it - but go read the whole thing).
Â Â Â Q: So how badly does this team need more experienced players now?
Â Â Â A: â€œSome people may disagree, and I feel like the statement Iâ€™m about to make opens up a whole can of worms for discussion, but I believe without question that this group that we have right now is a playoff basketball team . . . with no changes. But thatâ€™s not our only objective. Just being a playoff team is not all weâ€™re looking for. In order to be better than that, thereâ€™s two things that have to happen: We need to speed up the process with our young players so they can give us what we need, or we need to make trades for more experienced players.â€
Â Â Â Q: People have talked for a long time about how deep a draft this is supposed to be, but really how critical is it that you get one of the first two picks?
Â Â Â A: â€œI donâ€™t see it that way at all. I think thereâ€™s more players than that in this draft.â€
Â Â Â Q: But if you got a pick from (Nos.) 3 to 5 and didnâ€™t trade it away, wouldnâ€™t that player need a longer transition period than the first two?
Â Â Â A: â€œI donâ€™t see it that way.â€
Â Â Â Q: Are you saying you wouldnâ€™t be looking to deal the pick if itâ€™s beyond No. 2?
Â Â Â A: â€œNo, Iâ€™ll look at all potential deals. I wonâ€™t say I wonâ€™t trade it, and I wonâ€™t say I will. I just donâ€™t feel like I have to or I need to. I believe that it is a deep draft and I believe there are some potential All-Stars -- and some are even more prepared to play than the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the draft.â€
Â Â Â Q: How do you respond to all the criticism thatâ€™s been leveled at Doc Rivers?
Â Â Â A: â€œMy feeling is that, when you lose, everybody in the organization is up for criticism. I understand that. Iâ€™ve been criticized, and rightfully so. And Doc has gotten criticism, some of it justified and some of it not. Players have been criticized. Owners have been criticized. That all comes with the territory. But having said that, I think that some of the criticism is uninformed. I think Doc has done a good job. I watch Doc in practice. I watch the players respond to him. I watch what he does and what heâ€™s teaching them. When I watch the games, itâ€™s my job to determine whether itâ€™s the player thatâ€™s causing the execution issues or is it the coach. And right now Iâ€™m at the stage where I think almost all the mistakes that are being made on the court are more related to the players than they are to the coach.â€
Â Â Â Q: How would you rate your own performance?
Â Â Â A: â€œWell, I havenâ€™t done good enough. Thatâ€™s all I know. I need to do better. I believe I can do better, and I believe we will do better. Thatâ€™s really all I know. Everything else is just subjective. I know I need to get better.â€