Not quite ready for Prime Time…
So there were plenty of fans around the region last week that were convinced that the Boston Celtics were going to hand the Golden State Warriors their first loss last Friday. And with Golden State near the end of a road trip, without Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, being bound to lose at some point…maybe the stars had aligned? I didn’t think so…of course that is easy for me to say nearly a week later…but I didn’t! I did think the Celts would be able to hang in there anyway.
Hang in there, they did. And they had a shot to win the thing a couple of times. More on that later. Sure, they didn’t get any help from the officials. But what did they expect? This is the NBA! All the superstars and the great teams are going to get the majority of the calls. This is the way it has been since the beginning of time. So though you may have heard many Celtic fans complain about the refs, you didn’t (and won’t) hear it from me.
Since then? A lackluster win against a mediocre Charlotte Hornets team. A stinker against the Cleveland Cavaliers, without Kyrie Irving, but still easily the cream of the crop…in the East anyway. And what appeared to be an abysmal defensive effort in a loss to the also mediocre Detroit Pistons…where someone named “Kentavious Caldwell-Pope” scored a career-high 31 points. Ok, I suppose Caldwell-Pope must actually be ok if he is averaging about 14 points per game…but still.
Time for the next move Danny.
Listen, I have been a fan of what Danny Ainge has done to get the Celtics back to where they rightfully should be…among the NBA’s elite. A little pompous to say that they SHOULD be among the elite? Maybe…but they do still own the most Championship Banners…so I’m sticking with it.
Ainge has gathered up a lot of serviceable players (if not stars) and an extensive array of draft picks. He has the services of a young coach, Brad Stevens, who seems to be universally respected. The current lot of players play hard for Stevens, and rarely utter a blip about inconsistent minutes or anything of the sort. They are buying in right now. The Celtics are a competitive team, that will battle on almost every night, no matter how far they get down. They’ll play until the buzzer and play hard at that. They probably have a shot at being the #2 seed in the East, when viewing the vast mediocrity of the rest of the conference outside of the Cavs.
But they also have a shot at being the #11 seed. Seriously.
Right now, they seem to be stuck in a little bit of no-man’s land. Therefore, the perfect time to take the next step.
What is the next step? Damned if I know. But Danny, Brad and all the other front office insiders should. And with the way the rebuild has gone thus far, I trust that they do.
Going back to having a chance to win against the Warriors, the C’s just couldn’t close them out. They don’t have a guy or two that can make THE shot at the end of the game. Isaiah Thomas is your best player. But SHOULD he be? Nope. He is a very nice piece. But they need more. Avery Bradley seems to be continually improving offensively, but is still inconsistent. Other “shooters” the team has? Erratic, at best. They gave minutes to R.J. Hunter earlier in the year and since he got hurt James Young seems to be getting those. But they are either not ready and/or are not the answer. 5-15 minutes per game for those two isn’t going to help in any event.
The big guys? Jared Sullinger is rebounding well…but shooting like crap. Including at the line…62% for a career 75% guy? David Lee and Amir Johnson? Useful, but…Tyler Zeller? Nice burst last night, but otherwise 11th man timber. I’m still not exactly sure what Jonas Jerebko does besides run around a lot and hit a couple of threes every once in a while. Speaking of threes…I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times…WAY TOO MANY!! Sully has thrown up 52 of them…at a .288 clip. At least he has gone from .269 to .283 to the current .288 the last few years. But yeah, please stop Sully! How is anyone letting Johnson shoot 26 of them so far (7-26, .269)? Yeah, one a game shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is to me. Why is a guy like him out beyond the 3 point arc at all?
Anyway, I’ve said a lot of the above more than a few times, I know. So I should have some answers, I know that as well. But I don’t.
What I do know is that you can’t possibly use all of the draft picks in stock. Of course other teams know that as well. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have value.
The question is, do those Brooklyn Nets picks have as much value as we all think (and have been told) they do? Maybe. I am aware that there are 50 plus games left. But the Nets currently are tied with the Pelicans for the 3rd worst record in the league at 7-18 (Lakers are 4-21…side note…that always makes me smile…and the 76ers are an almost unbelievable 1-26…which after harkening back to the rivalry in the 80’s, also makes me smile). There are a couple of other less than mediocre teams that could affect things, but I suppose the Nets pick would ideally be Top 5 anyway.
Is that a good pick? Who the hell knows? I admittedly do not know the impact players in the NCAA right now (and which will change once players start declaring for the draft and all). But the scuttlebutt I am hearing is it is that Ben Simmons kid from LSU and not much else. At least there isn’t much chatter about anyone from what I have seen. If it’s the “Anthony Bennett” draft of 2013 (Caldwell-Pope at #8!!), what good are the picks? Ok, so Victor Oladipo (#2), Ben McLemore (#7), C.J. McCollum (#10), Michael Carter-Williams (#11) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (the “Greek Freak”…I should’ve just said that) (#15) may very well work out long-term, to name a few. And yes, I just looked those all up. (The Celtics? Kelly Olynyk at #13 and Colton Iverson (!) at #53).
Anyway, the Celtics have never had much luck with the ping-pong balls. And if the talent coming out is questionable, maybe it’s time to start shopping the “coveted” Net picks?
NBA veterans? You want DeMarcus Cousins? I don’t. Talent is undeniable. But I am done with Rajon Rondo type players on my team. You may say that there are boatloads of those in the NBA. I would probably agree. But I’d try to stay away from that ilk if I could. Just takes one to bring down this thing Danny and Brad are building. Dwight Howard? With some of his recent comments, one may assume he is heading down that “bad attitude” road as well. Kobe? Haha…kidding. At this point, it’s hard to know what NBAers are/will be available. Things are pretty tight in the East and other than the Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs, the same can be said in the West.
At least the Celtics are more entertaining to watch this year. But let’s hope Danny can swing something relatively soon to keep the arrow pointing up…
Posted on December 17, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged Ben Simmons, Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Brooklyn Nets, Danny Ainge, DeMarcus Cousins, draft picks, Dwight Howard, Golden State Warriors, Isaiah Thomas, Jared Sullinger, Klay Thompson, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Rajon Rondo, Steph Curry. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.