Ryan: Simmons 'too emotionally involved' in his takedown of Ainge

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Ryan: Simmons 'too emotionally involved' in his takedown of Ainge

Celtics Nation -- indeed, New England Sports Nation -- is still buzzing over Bill Simmons' takedown of Danny Ainge (and Glenn Ordway, and Kevin McHale, and Tommy Heinsohn, and many others) on grantland.com Thursday.

The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan is friendly with Simmons; he even announced his retirement on Simmons' podcast a few weeks back. And he made clear that "I do not wish to get into a public hissing contest with a man, against whom I could not possibly win due to his enormous following. Okay?"

But on Uno's Sports Tonight Thursday, Ryan took issue with Simmons for one fundamental reason:

"Here's . . . the difference between what Bill Simmons does, and who he is, and what reporters for media outlets do. Though he's bombarding us with a tremendous amount of data, at core, he's emotional. He is a Celtic fan. Self-proclaimed, there's no ambiguity, he never denies it. He's writing from the standpoint of a jilted-lover fan. An angry fan who, in my opinion, is unrealistically greedy."

And he's unrealistically greedy . . . because?

"This is the fifth year of a three-year plan," said Ryan, referring to the fact that the Paul PierceKevin GarnettRay Allen core was supposed to have a three-year run when it was assembled in 2007-08. "We've already gotten one extra year that produced . . . a playoff run in 2010-11.

"And the third year, two years ago, came within 94 seconds, four possessions . . . of winning the championship, okay? Ninety-four seconds. Are we having this conversation if those 94 seconds had been altered to a degree that the Celtics could have won that game? The answer is no."

Ryan admits that many of Simmons' points about bad trades and botched signings are legitimate -- though "he omits the Brandon Bass trade for Glen Davis, which I think was a good one. . . and Mickael Pietrus is a good signing, contingent on health, I grant you that" -- but doesn't want to hear the complaints about passing over certain players in the draft.

"There's a million of those stories," said Ryan. "Those things happen all the time. We can site that for every team. For every guy who went in the second round or late in the first, all these teams passed them in every draft, in every sport, every year . . . You can play that game with everybody! That's not a fair game!"

Ryan's conclusion?

"It's a vicious attack that is very humorous . . . Simmons works hard at this stuff. But . . . it's still written from the viewpoint of somebody who is too emotionally involved, in my opinion."

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

BOSTON -- Prior to this year, the Celtics hadn't been to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012. That trip served as a curtain call of sorts for the last great C's dynasty.
 
But this one, which ended with Cleveland's emphatic 135-102 Game 5 victory Thursday at TD Garden, is very different.
 
Rather than closing another chapter in the Celtics' longstanding legacy of greatness, it could serve as the beginning of a new narrative in the franchise's steady growth.
 
"For us to be in the Eastern Conference finals after the first year of this team really being together, adding additions like Al Horford and Gerald Green . . . I can go down the list of guys that we needed to learn to play with, and for us to talk about where we wanted to be and actually make it, it's a big-time accomplishment," said Avery Bradley.
 
Boston has been among the younger teams in the NBA, with the 31-year-old Green being the oldest player on the roster.
 
But what the Celtics lacked in experience, they made up for with great effort.
 
"The great thing about this is the experience," Bradley said. "We were able to go to the Eastern Conference finals, learned a lot about being in this position, and I feel like it's going to help us for next year."
 
But as we all know, the Celtics will look to strengthen themsevles this offseason, which means there's a very good chance they'll have a different look when they gather again in the fall.
 
How different is anyone's guess.
 
"It's difficult every year whenever you don't have guys back," said coach Brad Stevens. "I think you share a bond (over the course of a season)."
 
Stevens and this group have been together for eight months. Eight months of struggles, successes, frustrating defeats and euphoric victories that brought them to the conference finals, which is where their season came to an end.
 
But as disappointed as the players and coaches are inow, there's definite excitement about this franchise in the very near future.
 
Boston has the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft, with all indications -- for now -- pointing to Washington's Markelle Fultz as their choice.
 
And their top first-round pick from a year ago, Jaylen Brown, seemed to steadily improve as the season progressed. It was one of the few times in his life where minutes weren't just handed to him, which he admits was a learning experience unlike anything he had ever had, yet he adjusted and played better as the year went along.

"I've had ups, I've had downs, I've had opportunities, I've had mistakes," said Brown. "So I've been learning and growing and improving all year and I'm going to continue growing and improving and prove people wrong, prove doubters wrong."
 
Having the season end the way it did has indeed left a bad taste in the mouths of many Celtics.
 
"I can use it as fuel," Brown said, adding: "I want to get back to the same place I'm at now."
 
Bradley, who was on the 2012 team that lost to the Miami Heat in the conference finals, knows the Celtics are going to do whatever they feel is necessary to give them the best chance at competing for a title.
 
"It's out of our control as players," Bradley said. "We had a great year together. If guys are here, if guys aren't, we all wish the best for each other.

"But I do feel this is a special group. We all gave our heart every single night, played as hard as we could. I respect all my teammates, and I really appreciated playing with all the guys I had a chance to play with this year; a special group."