Posted by David Lefort, Boston.com Staff
February 27, 2009 05:02 PM
Celtics president Danny Ainge joined WEEI's "The Big Show" this afternoon and discussed the signing of point guard Stephon Marbury. A few of his more notable quotes and observations:
Ainge confirmed Marbury will make his Boston debut tonight against the Pacers.
"Yeah, I think he's going to be in uniform tonight," Ainge said. "He's on his way over to the gym right now to get a quick prep on some of our simple offensive sets and some of our defensive schemes. Steph . . . should pick things up quickly and I think Doc [Rivers] will throw him into the fire tonight."
He added that Marbury allows Eddie House to slide over to shooting guard, where he's a better fit, and also said he was impressed with the way Marbury played against the Celtics in preseason. "Out there for a stretch in one of those games, he was the best player on the court," Ainge said.
Ainge raved about Marbury's skills, calling him "an extremely talented player who has been a star on teams that really haven't had much of a chance to have success." He also noted that the Timberwolves won just 24 games in Kevin Garnett's last year there, and that the Celtics had some subpar teams with Paul Pierce on the roster, indicating that Marbury sometimes winning and losing was beyond Marbury's control despite his individual talent.
"I'm not saying Steph has managed his life perfectly by any stretch," Ainge said. "But I do think he has been put in situations where he has no chance to succeed."
Garnett and Marbury were former teammates with the Timberwolves, and while there was some tension between them that in part led to Marbury's departure (he was reportedly envious of Garnett's salary), Ainge said Marbury is thrilled to be reunited with the Celtics' star, and Garnett is glad Marbury's here.
When asked why Marbury would accept a supporting role, Ainge said, "Good players are good players. They can adjust and adapt and find a way to fit in. Steph's been with a lot of different teams. He's had success, individual success, everywhere he's been. Team success hasn't followed him. In my opinion, some people would say that he's been the cause of his team's success, and I would say that he's been the best player on most teams, not unlike Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett before they got here."
In perhaps in his most interesting comments, Ainge compared the Marbury move to the Celtics' acquisition of his former backcourt partner in the '80s heyday, Dennis Johnson. "I really enjoyed my experience playing with [DJ]," Ainge said. "He was an emotional guy, and every few weeks you had an incident that you kind of had to manage, but the next day everything was back okay again. And he certainly contributed to a couple of championships for the Boston Celtics."