Throughout the Boston Celtics’ exciting NBA playoff run, a ridiculous notion kept being floated about.

Are the Celtics better without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward?

Boston’s two best players missed the entirety of the postseason due to injuries. Irving underwent a procedure on his knee in April and Hayward suffered a dislocated ankle/fractured tibia five minutes into the season and has slowly been progressing through his rehab.

The hot take surrounding the Celtics during their playoff run was that Boston no longer was Irving’s team and that the C’s did not need their stars to win a championship.

Well, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge can’t help but laugh at that absurd line of thinking. Ainge explained how the C’s will be much improved with their two stars back next season Monday, following Boston’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.

“I get a kick out of the fact that everywhere I go, people don’t think we need Kyrie or need Gordon Hayward,” Ainge said, via MassLive. “I have a much longer memory and remember how great those guys were and what an effort it took us to get them. I also remember how great they are and how young they are still. So we need Gordon and Kyrie, absolutely need them. If this playoff run and all the series of the playoffs didn’t show that, then I don’t know what does. We were able to win some games and we were able to fight through some tough battles, but we’re much, much better with Kyrie and Gordon.”

Hit the nail on the head.

The Celtics missed the presence of their stars in Sunday’s Game 7 loss to the Cavs. Both Irving and Hayward have the ability to create their own shot and could have jump-started a Boston offense that was bogged down by poor 3-point shooting and careless turnovers.

But Boston’s future certainly is bright regardless of whether Ainge elects to make a splash this offseason, especially with Irving and Hayward set to re-enter the fold.

The Celtics are set to start a lineup of Irving, Hayward, Brown, Tatum and Al Horford, with Rozier, Daniel Theis and Marcus Morris coming off the bench.

That should be something special.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images