It’s the most common question around the NBA right now:
What is wrong with the Boston Celtics?
After making it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, then getting Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back, there were “finals or bust” expectations. Instead, they are 10-10 with an offense that is 27th in the NBA. Debate has ranged from what offensive tweaks they can make to a discussion of Gordon Hayward’s and Jaylen Brown‘s slow starts, and it always seems to end with trade speculation.
In character, Celtics GM Danny Ainge will be patient. Here is what he told Michael Kaskey-Blomain of the Boston Herald.
“I’ve been through this many, many years, and I’m not impatient,” said Ainge, who, after Saturday’s 113-104 loss in Dallas, presides over a 10-10 team. “I feel like obviously I know the frustrations our players have felt and the ups and downs that we’ve had through this season so far.
“But I think that we all know we should be doing more and doing better and are capable of it. That’s pretty much all I’ll say about it….
“But patience wins out more often than not — more than panic. It has to. I know panic is a bad way to react, so I will remain patient and allow our players to find their form.”
What, you expected anything else from slow-playing Ainge? He does not rush anything.
What this means is don’t expect a blockbuster trade. Or maybe even a B-movie trade. First off, the Celtics cannot trade for Anthony Davis in season, not that he is in any way available right now anyway (if Davis does not sign the $240 million designated veteran extension this summer then fire up your trade machines, until then it is all moot).
Even smaller tweaks will not be easy. With the West 14 deep with teams in the playoff hunt (literally, there is a 4.5 game gap between the 1 and 14 seeds right now) there are fewer sellers on the market, and there are now more teams looking to buy to get an edge. That does not lead to an efficient market.
What the Celtics have should work better than it does, and we still have three-quarters of a season left for Brad Stevens and company to figure it out. Desperation moves not the answer. At least not yet.