Danny Ainge held a conference call with the media on Wednesday morning and touched on a lot of different subjects. Questions ranged from what the Celtics have been doing to keep the team together to how Ainge is preparing for the offseason. Here are the major takeaways from Ainge’s media availability.
1. Ainge says he’s hopeful the NBA season will resume: “Adam Silver has some tough decisions. I’m holding out hope we’re still going to play basketball this year. But that’s just me being a fan.”
2. On how the Celtics are staying together as a team: “We’re doing Zoom calls. We’re doing workouts with the coaches and strength coaches. We’re having special guests. We’re trying to do all we can.”
3. On who some of those special guests were: “We had Mark Wahlberg on. He was great. We had LL Cool J. The team loved him. And we had Dr. Myron Rolle. He’s got a great a story and was very inspiring.”
4. On players working out while quarantined: “Some of the guys are better about it than others. Some can be hard to get in touch with at times. But overall, I’m impressed with how much our guys are bought in and how they’re doing their work.”
5. On preparing for the offseason and a potential lower salary cap: “We haven’t gotten anything from the league. I’m focused on preparing for free agency, preparing for the draft, watching a lot of film. Controlling what I can control.”
6. On preparing for the 2020 NBA Draft: “You still have to keep working and preparing as if the draft is happening on June 25, until we hear otherwise. I don’t think the draft will be on June 25, but we haven’t been told that yet. We’ve been allowed to do calls with the seniors. We can’t communicate with underclassmen until we have that list.”
7. On how different the pre-draft process is right now for evaluating players: “Let’s use Rajon Rondo as an example. Had I not been able to meet with him and look into his eyes, I don’t think I would have drafted him. I needed to get to know him. To understand what kind of person he is.”
“At the same time, we drafted Avery Bradley without any draft workouts. We drafted Steve Nash when I was in Phoenix without a workout. You don’t always get guys in for workouts. You have to be prepared to draft a player without a workout.”
8. On how the loss of conference tournaments and the NCAA tournament impacts scouting, especially the evaluation of freshman players in pressure situations: “I think we sometimes overvalue a single game.” Ainge then pivoted to saying he misses the tournament and the start of baseball season and The Masters.
9. On “The Last Dance”: “I watched it with my family. It was fun because they didn’t have much recollection of it. If I chimed in, they gave me the ‘Hush. We’re listening to this!’ It was cool to see how little they knew about Michael (Jordan). And how intrigued they were.”
10. On playing games in empty arenas without fans: “It’s not as much fun. It’s not ideal. But it’s better than not playing. I’ve been in practices that are intense and are physical battles. It’s not ideal, but it could work.”
11. On the status of Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters, the Celtics two Two-Way players: “They’re still with us. They can still be with us. They’re still part of us. We don’t know what the NBA will decide on their time yet. Until the NBA makes a decision, they are with us.”
12. On Kevin Garnett: “Whenever I think of KG, I just smile. He was a leader. He was an incredibly hard worker. He was a unifier. He was driven. He wanted to win. One of the best players in the history of the game.”
13. After being needled about the Celtics getting inspirational guests and the media only getting him, Ainge ended the call with a mic drop: “Can we get me some inspiration next time? These questions are horrible.”