Boston Celtics executive Danny Ainge joined Mike Gorman and Chris Herren on Wednesday night’s CSNNE telecast of the game against the Atlanta Hawks, and made a few comments that some believed were critical of forward Jeff Green.
Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, said Green “can’t be the No. 1 guy on a championship team, but he can be an important piece on a championship team.”
“People forget that (Kevin Garnett), Paul (Pierce) and (Ray) Allen all struggled when they were on non-playoff teams before they got to Boston,” Ainge said during the broadcast. “Even though they had good numbers here and there, they didn’t have consistently good numbers until they got back together. Jeff needs help.”
While some took that as a shot at Green’s ability as a player, Ainge defended his player during his weekly visit to 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich.”
“I love Jeff,” Ainge said Thursday. “I mentioned there are only three or four non-All Stars to have as many 25-point games. I don’t think I was critical at all. I was just putting a perspective with Jeff that fans don’t know. They want him to be a superstar, and I think he’s a very good player.”
Ainge did say that Green “needs more pieces around him,” but he was honest when asked if he believed the forward was as good as Pierce before Allen and Garnett came around.
“No, I don’t,” Ainge said. “But Jeff is getting better. I think he’s getting better all the time.”