The Celtics are still struggling to find their rhythm this season, having now lost eight of their last 12 games to slip back to .500 (10-10). However, with the regular season at its one-quarter mark, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge isn’t worried, telling Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that he’s in no rush to make any trades to try to upgrade his roster.
“You know me. I’m always open to doing something,” Ainge said. “But that doesn’t mean I think we have to go and get something done right now. And it’s not that simple anyway. … 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. With some teams, it takes time, and some teams get it quicker. But I like a lot of things I see in our team this season, and I’m not going to be impatient.”
The Celtics entered the season with lofty expectations. After coming within one game of the NBA Finals in the spring, the team was getting injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back, and no longer had to deal with LeBron James in the Eastern Conference. The C’s were the preseason frontrunners to come out of the East, and despite their early struggles, they remain a serious threat. After all, as Ainge suggests, there should be plenty of room for internal improvement in Boston.
“Look, I’m always looking to improve our team,” Ainge said. “But every one of our players is capable of playing better than they’ve played.”
Hayward, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart are among the Celtics who are underachieving so far. Hayward, coming off a major ankle injury, has career lows in field goal percentage (.400) and 3-point percentage (.286), and Brown’s shooting numbers are way down too (..398 field goal percentage, .253 3-point percentage). Smart, meanwhile, is averaging a career-worst 6.4 points per game after signing a new four-year contract in the summer. All told, Boston currently ranks 27th in offensive rating.
Although we shouldn’t expect any moves from the Celtics anytime soon, Ainge will have no shortage of assets to dangle if and when he eventually explores the trade market. The club projects to have up to four first-round picks in the 2019 draft.
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