Ainge to Celtics fans: Boo me, not Jaylen Brown
From Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston:
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he genuinely felt bad when he found out that team co-owner Wyc Grousbeck was showered with boos while addressing fans at the team's draft party on Thursday at TD Garden, following Boston's selection of Jaylen Brown with the third overall pick.
Having been at the TD Garden on draft night, I can understand why Danny Ainge would feel bad. It was incredibly strange to hear Celtics fans booing Wyc when he addressed the fans in attendance after the third pick was made.
To paraphrase his closing statements, Wyc told the Celtics fans at the draft that Jaylen Brown was their pick tonight and he is their man for the future. This confidence is seemingly stemming from what leadership knows and what Boston fans will soon find out-- that Ainge believes Jaylen Brown will add some of the missing pieces Boston has been looking for.
In speaking with the media this past Friday, Ainge weighed in on the fan's gut reaction to Thursday's draft. Via Forsberg, Ainge said:
The only thing that I don’t like about that is that it’s a reflection of Jaylen. Instead of a reflection of me -- like, ‘We don’t like your choice.’ That’s OK to boo me. But 'Give [Brown] a chance' would be the only thing I would say. Like, let’s see. Let’s wait a year, then boo me. Let’s not boo the kid when his name is announced. As far as criticism in my position, I expect it, I’m used to it, and I don’t think [media members] can offend me. You can try, but I don’t think it’ll work.
In what has been touted as a two-player draft, I'm not sure there was any way for Ainge to walk out of the 2016 draft and look like he had secured banner 18. The real test is going to be what Ainge can do, if anything, in free agency.
For better or for worse, in about a week no one is going to be booing Wyc or Danny for what they did on draft night. They'll either be cheering for the pieces the Celtics assemble for the 2016-17 season, or booing based on the biggest pieces completing another team's puzzle.
By Padraic O'Connor