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RE: Other GMs Critical Of Ainge's Comments
Again, this is just piling on. Ainge never said he wanted to lose games.
What he said was that if the Celtics happened to lose enough games where
they got a high lottery pick, it would not be the worst thing in the world
at this point for them. Is that really such a horrible thing for him to say?
He never said, "I want us to try and lose games."
Just another case of people twisting his words to try and tear him down. I
really can't wait for the mall to eat their own words when this team is back
on top. Because they will be there a lot sooner than a lot of people think.
Reply-To: Way Of The Ray <wayray@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Other GMs Critical Of Ainge's Comments
Date: 11 Mar 2004 08:49:13 -0500
Ainge's honesty nets negative reaction among other GMs
By Mike McGraw Daily Herald Sports Writer
Danny Ainge has taken considerable heat for his dismantling of the Celtics,
but give him credit for honesty.
Ainge might be the first executive in NBA history to admit he wouldn't mind
losing games so Boston can get better odds in the draft lottery.
"That's a tough question," the first-year general manager said. "I think
the playoffs are great for the players, coaches and fans. But I'm not going
to lie about it. For the long term, it's obviously better for us to get a
higher draft pick. That's just the truth."
Granted, this is the same Danny Ainge who was excited to obtain first-round
draft picks from Dallas and Detroit because he feels this will be a deep
draft. Right now, those picks would be No. 23 and 25.
"You have to understand how much I hate to lose," he added. "I'd never do
anything that would purposely hurt us on the court. (But) we want to
contend for a championship, not just be in the playoffs for a round or two.
"I understand that it's good for your players to get playoff experience.
But I'd rather take a hit on that if it means getting us better players so
we can get to the postseason and then make a serious run."
Ironically, Boston seemed like a lottery lock after losing 13 of 14. But
now the Celtics have won four straight and are back in a tie for seventh in
This generally has not been an issue with the Bulls, where the losses take
care of themselves. The problem with losing on purpose is the draft lottery
doesn't guarantee any team one of the first three picks.
Asked whether the Bulls would be better off finishing the season with one
of the league's two worst records, coach Scott Skiles insisted that his top
goal is to try to win each game.
But he also acknowledged that if the Bulls catch a break in the lottery and
draft a talented player, next year he could look back and say, "It's a good
thing we lost as many times as we did."
Some other general managers strongly disagreed with Ainge.
"I don't think you ever go into sports and say you want to lose basketball
games," Philadelphia's Billy King said. "Our fans pay too much money for
that. Why be in sports? Play the game to win."
Utah's Kevin O'Connor was particularly adamant about the subject. The Jazz
should be in a rebuilding mode but was just 2 games behind Denver for
eighth place in the West heading into Sunday's action.
"Absolutely not. Not for a second. Not for half a second," he said. "Anyone
who thinks (owner) Larry (Miller) or (coach) Jerry (Sloan) would ever say,
'Well, we're better off in the lottery,' doesn't know our franchise and our
people and how we do business.
"We play hard every night, work hard, do the right things. How could you
ever look these kids in the eye if you weren't trying to win just as hard
as they are? That's crazy."
Oddly enough, Utah is the only NBA team that has never participated in the
draft lottery, which began in 1985. Portland's never been in either, but
traded for Detroit's lottery pick in 1995.
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