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Trust in Ainge: The future is bright

It feels like every offseason we hear about how much of a mistake Danny Ainge has made with this roster. Nick Wright's take last year comes to mind:

Of course, the Celtics made it all the way to the conference finals, largely thanks to those "disaster" players listed. This offseason, many were clamoring for Ainge to make moves, either by trading draft picks, acquiring Myles Turner through Hayward's sign and trade (which obviously became impossible after Jordan gave Hayward a Brinks truck), or signing valuable vets. The Celtics missed the first two, and arguably only dipped their feet into the third option, with the signings of Tristan Thompson and Jeff Teague.

Going into the season without Kemba Walker was definitely concerning; the team was going to have to rely on Tatum, Brown and Smart to continue progressing, with the bench being a complete question mark. Grant Williams had a good run last season and into the playoffs as an undersized big man, Timelord had some good moments but was still a raw prospect, and the Theis/Thompson rotation remained to be seen. Jeff Teague was someone that Brad Stevens has wanted to add to the team for quite awhile, but was cautioned against by Timberwolves fans. Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith were obviously completely unproven.

Despite all of this noise, the young Celtics are off to a 3-2 start, with 4 of those games including playoff teams (Bucks, Nets, Pacers twice). Jaylen Brown is averaging 28/4/3 with 1.8 steals and Tatum is adding a solid 23/8/3 with 1.4 steals, both looking like All Star (and potentially All-NBA) quality players. Marcus Smart is doing Marcus Smart things. Jeff Teague and Tristan Thompson have provided huge contributions. Payton Pritchard looks like a solid rotation piece right out of the gate, and has only improved every game. Timelord looks the best he has since coming into the league.


Given all of these results, it looks like The Green are on their way to another deep playoff run. After going to the conference finals 3 out of last 4 years, many forget how young this team is. The current Celtics roster is the 6th youngest team in the league, behind only the Nuggets, Hornets, Knicks, Grizzlies and the Timberwolves, at an average age of 25.0 years.

With Kemba Walker out for the foreseeable future, we get to see more of the young guys, and our future:

With a core of Tatum, Brown, Smart, Pritchard, and both Williams looking promising, and Nesmith still full of potential (and who knows what Tacko will turn into), the Celtics have a really solid team that can compete for years to come. Ainge may be criticized for not trading his assets, but we ended up with an exciting young core that compete now and into the future. Exciting times are ahead.



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