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Massive (brain) dump…this is it…

Part III…and we’ve had some clamoring from the masses for some Celtics talk.  Well, at least one reader.  Let’s do it:

*Wow, Jared Sullinger is suiting up tonight.  This came out of nowhere.  But let’s give the dude some credit.  Shortly after they ruled him out for the year, reports came out that he was over 3 bills and not working hard at conditioning, to say the least.  He was taking some hits…and not saying he didn’t deserve them.  But now he will be back on the floor tonight.  Give him his due for not folding up shop and getting fatter in preparation for next season.

*The C’s are enjoyable to watch again, yes.  But let’s also please not fall in love with this team.  I’ve been hearing some chatter on sports radio this week where people think that if they sneak into the playoffs, they have a decent chance of beating Atlanta.  Hold your horses, folks.  Atlanta historically has proven to be kind of a dog team.  But maybe not this year.  I’m not counting on it anyway.  Just doesn’t seem realistic.

*But the real reason not to fall in love with this team is because they just don’t have the horses for the long-term.  Sure, they have a bunch of good players…I would actually prefer the term “useful” than good.  A lot of the guys on the team are certainly people to like and are absolutely worth rooting for.  But are they championship level?  Not a chance.

Let’s break down the roster:

Who are their best players?  If you just took the best 5, regardless of position, you would probably choose Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, Evan Turner, Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas, right?

Not a superstar in the group.  And a team absolutely need 1-2 superstars at a minimum in the NBA…just the way it is.  Even if Sully gets and keeps in shape, he is not that guy.  Maybe an ideal 4th option?  Bradley may be in the “4th option” category as well.  He has unbelievable nights, followed up by many average ones.  There is something I like about Turner.  He seems to have some good all-around game.  But a top tier guy?  Nope.  Smart is young and if his offense improves, can he get there?  Maybe.  But I’m not counting on that.  On this team, there always seems to be someone else on the floor with him who can handle the ball as well.  Maybe that’s just taking some pressure off the rookie for now.  Who knows?  Let’s hope he continues to play fierce D though.  After watching Rajon Rondo not care about D after he tore up the league early in his career and watching Bradley’s D also seemingly decline over the years, if Smart decides not to play D anymore a few years down the road it wouldn’t surprise me.  Thomas was a nice sparkplug when he first got here.  But he has bounced around a little, is shooting 38% from the field and Brad Stevens only plays him 26 minutes a game.  If he was a stud, he’d be out there more.  I’ll take him as my 6th man when the C’s get all the pieces though.

The 2nd tier is probably comprised of Brandon Bass, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder, Tyler Zeller & I suppose Jonas Jerebko if you were so inclined. I’d love to include James Young in this group.  I think that even though they are fighting for a playoff spot, Young should’ve been playing big minutes.  Let’s see what we’ve got!  The fact that he is getting no time at all is a little concerning for me.  Bass is a nice player.  But more of a bench guy on a good team.  You could say the same about Olynyk, Crowder and Zeller.  Those guys have some good games.  But from what I have seen, it looks to me like they are no more than bench guys for when the C’s finally are championship timber.  I suppose it’s better than what I thought of Crowder when he came in the Rondo trade.  I thought he was a throw in.  Turns out he has some value.  He does shoot way too much for my liking though.  Jerebko?  Maybe.  Not really enough sample size.  But he looks like a decent bench guy to me too.

The rest of the roster:  Shavlik Randolph is mostly useless.  Phil Pressey is a nice 13th man.  If you have to play him more than 8 minutes a game, it’s probably not a good sign.  Luigi Datome?  Who the hell knows?  Stevens says he loves him, but he never plays him.  He may argue that there are too many bodies in front of him.  But I would argue that maybe he can shoot but he can’t do anything else.  Whatever.  Gerald Wallace?  Totally washed up.  But if he inexplicably keeps his great attitude and supposed leadership qualities around this team and doesn’t really care about playing (but actually does ok when they throw him out there), I will take him.  Of course it helps that he is pocketing over 10 mil a year to barely break a sweat.  So, I guess I would probably do what he is doing too.

In summary, Danny Ainge needs to take some of these useful guys, package them with any of the abundance of picks he has, maybe a trade exception or two and get even better players.  See if they can somehow woo a top tier free agent to town as well…as unlikely as that is to happen.  Let them shoot for the playoffs this year, it’s too late to “tank”.  But then do something like…

*…this team somewhat reminds me of the 2006-7 Celtics.  But that team at least had Paul Pierce in place.  This team does not have that kind of player.  Doc Rivers was in his 3rd year as coach (record worse every year…amazing how you are all of a sudden a great coach when you have great players…oops, I digress).  The rest of the roster had a bunch of useful guys as well, you can judge the varying degree of usefulness if you want.  Big Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Tony Allen, Rajon Rondo, Gerald Green, Kendrick Perkins. Leon Powe, Delonte West…and you can add Wally Szczerbiak and Sebastian Telfair there if you want…plus Michael Olowoka…nope, nevermind him.  Doc couldn’t figure out who to play, so he varied minutes wildly.  The best thing that happened to Doc was the KG and Ray Allen trades.  He had like 6-7 guys who could actually play, shortened his bench…and the rest is history.  Danny has to make lightning strike twice…or else the Boston Celtics may be stuck in purgatory.  Otherwise known as “middle of the pack” in the NBA.

*Couple of non-basketball thoughts:

*I used to love “homer” announcers growing up, like Johnny Most.  He didn’t necessarily rip his own team, but he let you know when they were not playing to their level of expectation.  But guys like him used to hammer opposing players.  “McFilthy and McNasty” (Rick Mahorn and Jeff Ruland).  Bill Laimbeer is a criminal and all that enjoyable stuff.  Got you pretty fired up listening to the game.

Now?  You either get Tommy Heinsohn blaming the referees for everything.  Saying there is a foul on every play.  Or you get guys like Jack Edwards.  Someone said that Patrice Bergeron is overrated recently.  He is a little overrated, though I love him as a player.  Then one game he scores less than a minute after puck drop (in a game they eventually lost) and Jack goes nuts.  “Overrate this!!” he says.  Really?  You are attacking a random person (reporter or something, don’t remember who said it…not sure I even knew who it was actually), for their opinion?  Why, because you feel the need to back the guy up?  Ridiculous…

Or you get the guys who don’t say anything critical of anybody at any time.

Problem is, they stations the announcers work for, radio and television, are all owned by the teams now.  I get, to some degree, why they are what they are.  But do they need to be over the top with praise instead, even when it is totally undeserving?  Kissing everyone associated with the teams’ arse?

Just diminishes the whole experience, if you ask me.

*Scott Boras.  What a total fraud.  Here he is openly ripping the demotion of Kris Bryant by the Cubs to anyone who will listen.  Why?  Because if the Cubs ship him out for 12 days, they have seven years of control, as opposed to six.  No brainer to me, even for a big money team like the Cubs.  IT’S LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!  Doubtful it will impact the season.  And if I am running a business, I’m doing the same thing.

He must have forgotten that the players have agreed to that type of stuff in probably most previous Collective Bargaining Agreements.  He also must have forgotten that guys like Mike Trout routinely come up a month or two into the season and then are there to stay…and no worse for the wear.

Most of all, he forgot that he ALWAYS tightens the screws on the teams, squeezing every extra penny he can get out of them on EVERY contract.  But the teams can’t do something like that to him?  Joke.

Maybe it is unfortunate for Bryant, as he should probably be on the Opening Day roster.  But he will survive, I am sure.  I guess as long as he doesn’t blow his knee out in the next two weeks…


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