Early indications support the claim that Brad Stevens is no Danny Ainge, and perhaps that’s not the worst thing for the current makeup of the Boston Celtics.
Ainge, by almost all accounts, was good at what he did during his near two decades as the president of basketball operations of the Celtics. He did, however, do things that were understandably frustrating to Celtics fans and ultimately some of those came back to hamstring the roster.
Perhaps the biggest was his unwavering dedication to keep Boston’s treasure chest of draft picks. Ainge was all about the potential those picks could bring back, hoping it would help Boston build and development from within. And while he made franchise-altering decisions by drafting Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, more times than not those picks ended up not fulfilling said potential. You just have to look at first-rounders Guerschon Yabusele, R.J. Hunter and James Young for example, and the list is rather endless.
Stevens, though, at least at first glance, doesn’t seem to have the same infatuation. Or the same philosophy.
The Celtics new president of basketball operations depicted just that as he dealt Boston’s first-round pick in the upcoming draft in order to unload Kemba Walker’s contract. Walker, as you probably know by now, was sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday along with a first-rounder. Boston received Al Horford and Moses Brown in return while also swapping future second-rounders.
Yes, it was a disappointing end to an unfortunate tenure for Walker. But it was a move that needed to be done, and needed to be done rather quickly. Things already had seemed to run its course with recent reports indicating Walker’s feelings of the organization were souring.
So Stevens, perhaps unlike Ainge would have done, didn’t sit on his hands. He didn’t wait to get an extra second-round pick or play hardball in hopes of getting a better offer. The former coach of eight years made the trade before he was on the job for three weeks.