The Boston Celtics came into this season as one of the frontrunners to emerge with the Eastern Conference crown.
Between Jayson Tatum’s ascension to superstar status, Brad Stevens’ coaching prowess, and a ton of versatility from the likes of Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart – Boston looked like it could make a serious run in 2021.
Unfortunately, that didn’t end up happening.
The Celtics have stumbled badly this year, culminating in a 35-35 mark that has them sitting 7th in the East. If they played in the Western Conference, they’d be 10th.
This week, Charles Barkley appeared on ESPN Radio’s Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin show and offered his thoughts on who is to blame for Boston’s disappointing campaign.
“Danny Ainge is a good friend of mine, but he’s not done a good job with all those draft picks he had,” Barkley said.
“He hasn’t done a good job because he made a mistake with Kyrie Irving, I think he made a mistake with Kemba Walker, and, um, that team is not very good at all.
“Think about it,” he continued. “Boston had a hundred number one draft picks and they haven’t done anything with them. Now they’re irrelevant because there’s nobody in their right mind thinking, like, Boston is even close to being a contender so, like I say, you have to blame the guys.”
Stevens also caught some shrapnel from Barkley.
“Brad Stevens got to get some blame for it too because when they were winning we were patting him on the back, now we got to kick him in the ass,” Barkley added. “That’s not personal, that’s just how this business works now.”
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
It’s hard not to blame Ainge for at least some of Boston’s woes.
Tatum was deeply upset by the Celtics trading away his best friend,and Ainge’s fingerprints were all over that move. Similarly, he refused to pull the trigger on a James Harden trade for a truly bizarre reason – and that could’ve immediately turned this squad into a championship contender.
Between Ainge’s crazy rants regarding the Celtics’ struggles and the team owner’s strange theories for why this year has been so disappointing, it’s hard to see how Boston rights this ship in the playoffs.
Obviously anything can happen, but at the moment all signs point to an early postseason exit for the Celtics.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.