Celtics' Danny Ainge on roster changes: 'Are we good enough?'

By Ameer Tyree 7 October 2019 8
Celtics' Danny Ainge on roster changes: 'Are we good enough?'

The Celtics underwent some big changes over the offseason and general manager Danny Ainge addressed the team's new roster ahead of practice Saturday.

Ainge acknowledged there are questions that should be asked about the Celtics' personnel this year and how the roster differs from last season.

"There are different kinds of questions," Ainge told reporters. "I think that last year's questions were more based on, you know, how is it going to jell? There was not a question of how much talent we had.

"This year the question is, 'Are we good enough?'"

The Celtics lost Kyrie Irving and Al Horford in free agency and sent Terry Rozier to Charlotte for Kemba Walker via sign-and-trade this summer. They also signed Enes Kanter to a two-year deal.

Ainge realizes the team lost a lot of talent and expects multiple players to step up to fill the void created by the departure of two All-Star caliber players.

"We had to replace Al Horford, who's a terrific player, and that's hard to do," Ainge said. "He was a 3-point shooter. He was a rim runner. He could defend multiple positions. And so he could do a lot of things on his own, and he was very versatile. But we're going to have to replace him with multiple players. There isn't a player like him that was available."

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both players Boston hopes will have a bump in production in 2019-20. But so is Gordon Hayward, who struggled last year after returning from a season-ending leg injury that forced him to miss all but one game in 2017-18.

"Gordon is just a good basketball player. He can think, he can pass, he can shoot, he can create, he can defend, he can rebound," Ainge said. "I mean, he's a complete player. And we need him to just be that. And we need lots of other guys to play up to their best. And I think we have a chance to be really good."

Despite being considered one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference last year, Boston posted a 49-33 record and finished fourth in its conference.

But other teams like the Nets, 76ers, and Bucks are closing the talent gap and won't make things easy this season.

Ainge, however, is confident Boston can continue to maintain a winning culture.

"I think that, listen, the championship standard in Boston is well documented," Ainge said. "And we all know that. And that's what we love about this (city). And we love the success of the other teams. And we love the success of the Boston Celtics and what they've done, and the people who have played here and been in uniforms here in our history.

"And so I think that that feeling of high expectations is always good for us."

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Ameer Tyree