C’s back on track, thankfully…
…with losing. I know, I’m one of THOSE people. I admit it. But I think the Celtics had no choice after last year to “blow it up”. I also think they need to tank this year to get a high draft pick. If we are to believe all the talk about there being several franchise/All-Star type players available in the 2014 draft, that is. I can’t say I watch a lot of college hoops until February or so, so what do I know? For all we know, the 2014 draft could be like the 2013 draft. Of course we won’t know the true value of the 2013 draft for several years. But we do know a fat kid with asthma went #1…and everyone was shocked when he was chosen. And at #10 a kid from Lehigh was taken…Lehigh? Top 10? Regardless of whether the kid has talent, seems a bit of a stretch. Would seem to qualify as an “off year” for prospects. But again, we shall see.
The 2012-13 Celtics were built with some promise. Make one last run at a championship with the aging core. Add a few pieces to put them in the mix. But some guys didn’t work (Lee, Terry, Melo), were hurt for large chunks of the season (Rondo, Bradley, Sullinger), regressed (Bass) or showed their age more as the season went along (Pierce, KG). Keeping the aging core together again and adding yet other pieces (if they even could, since there were some hefty contracts on the books) for 2013-14 just didn’t make much sense to me…or a lot of people, including Danny Ainge. Doc didn’t want to be here either. As much as I hate to see Pierce in another uniform, this had to happen.
Once the trades were made and draft picks and assorted other flotsam and jetsam were acquired before the season, the question then became how far do they take it? Only they know…and they may actually still be trying to figure it out. If there are truly a number of “difference-makers” available in the next draft, they don’t need the #1 pick. So they may not need an all out tank. The season started out as if they were obviously trying to lose. Blew a 22 point lead in one game. Were in every game, but lost in the end. One of the games saw like 3 consecutive bad turnovers to turn a 2 point deficit to double digits in no time. But then they won 4 in a row, including an inexplicable road win against Miami. (Side note: I do want them to lose, but that win was actually enjoyable). Now you hear clowns calling talk radio saying that things like they “love the way these guys play” and “maybe the chemistry will be similar to the Red Sox and they can win a championship with these guys” and “wait until Rondo comes back…”, etc.
But let’s look at things rationally. If you take my totally unscientific idea of the way a true contenders’ roster should be built. There are up to 15 guys on every roster. I’m thinking those spots should come out something like this:
3-Above average starter
6-Top bench guy
7-9-Contributing bench player
10-Bench player with one discernible skill
11-13-Active roster filler
14-15-Developmental guys/washed up vets
Let’s see how I feel the current Celtics roster stacks up, again, completely unscientific:
Bass-Maybe 5 or 6
Bogans-11-15, probably closer to 15
Bradley-5 or 6?
Brooks-10, only because they say he can score
Crawford-Anywhere from 6-9
Faverani-10 for now, with upside
Green-Want to say 3, but 4 may be more appropriate
Olynyk-7-9 for now, with upside
Pressey-11-15, maybe closer to 11
Rondo-2, but obviously out for a while
Sullinger-6-9 for now, with upside
Wallace-Maybe 5 or 6
A lot of guys with numbers toward the higher end. Need more 1-6, not 7-15. Sure, the chances of Faverani, Olynyk and Sullinger improving from where they are now are pretty good. But will they develop into a “1 to 3” type player, based on my scale? Doubtful. 4 or 5 is probably the ceiling with those guys. The rest of the roster is what it is. I think we know what Bradley is at this point. Good D, can’t handle ball, not great offensively. I keep hoping Green will take that next step, but it appears that he won’t. He will dominate some games and disappear in others. Humphries can rebound, Lee can shoot a little, Wallace can help, Bass can do a few things, but nothing special with them. Crawford’s playing well at the point now, but does anyone expect that to last? Kind of wish they would play Brooks more to get a good look at him in game action. But the fact that they are burying him on this team and also didn’t pick up his option next year probably tells us what we need to know.
The summary is that, although these guys may play hard and try, they ain’t winning a championship anytime soon folks. Need more infusion of talent. And since marquis free agents historically do not want to sign here, the way to do it is the draft. Again, if the next draft is all it’s cracked up to be, then they really have to shoot for it. I was convinced over the summer that the C’s would try and trade Rondo once he proves healthy. Kind of skeptical of that now. Seems to have hit it off with Stevens. Seems to be a little bit of a coach now. Maybe they are just making him happy before they entertain offers and he sees his name in trade rumors. But maybe they plan to build with him, the 2014 draft picks, and guys like Faverani, Olynyk and Sullinger (Bradley? Green?). Hard to tell right now. I have to believe that Danny is trying to find trade value for Lee, Bass, Humphries, Wallace, etc. Not sure there is much, especially with their contracts. But maybe a contender will bite nearer the deadline. Although Humphries is making 12 mil this year (12 mil?)…so maybe not. Here’s hoping…in the meantime, enjoy the guys playing hard. Enjoy the coach that seems to be competent. But root for them to lose this year. Just this year. Take one step back to move two (or more) steps forward. It’s the NBA…it’s FAAAAAAN-tastic!