A mere two hours before yesterday’s trade deadline, Celtics reporters were all stating the same thing – expect Danny Ainge and his crew to stand firm and let the deadline pass with no moves. Think again! In the dying stages of the 3pm cut-off, the Celtics got involved in a very productive way.
With the first half of the season gone, and the Celtics possessing a similar record to that of last year, the same questions are being asked, what is better for the team: playoffs or lottery?
When Ainge traded away both Rondo and Green for future assets, it was assumed that the Celtics would waive the white flag this season in hopes of a high lottery pick – but after a stirring victory against the East-leading Atlanta Hawks going into the all-star break, the unlikely thought of playoffs for these stubborn Celtics in 2015 is now starting to become a reality. But what is best for this team? To make the playoffs or to blow it up even further for a better draft pick to keep building? There is a valid argument to be made for both camps.
An unlikely run to the playoffs could have a greatly positive effect for this young Celtics team. For starters, it would mean that our young core has stepped up, increasing their value to the team and around the league – this is especially important considering Ainge’s history of drafting/developing young talent, and then trading for a superstar. It would also mean that Coach Brad Stevens will add another feather to his cap and pick up some valuable playoff experience whilst gaining even more recognition for the job that he has done. Having a successful culture within the team is also critical with free agency on the horizon as potential free agents would factor this in to their decisions.
If the Celtics were to sputter down the home stretch and only make the playoffs because the lack of competition in the East, then there could be a negative effect for this team. The team could miss out on a potential lottery pick/quality young player, they could be stuck in the dreaded land of mediocrity, or there could even be a false sense of where this team is really at.
We have all been down this road before – Ainge guts the team, and lets them free-fall into the lottery, where we cross our fingers, cross our toes, clutch on to a rabbits foot or a four-leaf clover in hope for at least a top 3 pick in the draft. In theory, this is a great idea, especially when the draft class is tipped to yield some potentially great players, it is a great way to acquire a franchise-altering player without having to sacrifice money/players/assets for them.
The reality is however, unless the team is bad enough (bottom 2, which the Celtics have no chance of being) – there is no guarantee that you could end up with a top 5 pick, let alone a top 3 pick. This strategy can be flawed as the team would be relying on luck over anything else, and for the Celtics, luck has not been on their side when it comes to the lottery balls.
“I would love to see our team in the playoffs, but I don’t want to see us back into the playoffs with a really bad record and not even have a fighting chance. If our team can keep getting better by developing, if we can make some deals at the trade deadline that put us in position to actually get into the playoffs and have a chance to win a playoff series, I think that would be a lot of fun.” – Danny Ainge, January 30th, 2015
Danny Ainge has nailed exactly how I feel with this quote. I would love to see the Celtics reload at the trade deadline, and make a serious run for the playoffs. Given that the Celtics have already won 20 games, and has the most games remaining against teams that are sub .500, the chance to increase lottery odds may prove quite difficult – especially with Lakers, Knicks, 76ers and Timberwolves all on 13 wins or under. What I do not want to see however, is a team that makes the playoffs due to inferior competition, and then in turn, gets swept by a higher seed.
With the trade deadline rumours swirling all around the NBA and the Celtics in particular, it seems like it is a real possibility that the Celtics may actually pick up a piece or two to assist in a push for the playoffs which is a far cry from what direction everyone thought the team was going after trading Rondo and Green within a month of each other.
Given the position we are in, I would love to see a young, feisty team fighting all the way through for the second half of the season – we have tried to be lottery players in the past with no high picks to show for it. As a fan, it is so much fun to watch a competitive, scrappy team fight hard and play for something meaningful every night rather than watching a lot of moral victories. Not wanting to be mediocre is one thing, but wanting to either contend or have one of the worst records with no in between is too extreme. Let the young guys learn, play and earn playoff experience.
What do you think is best for this Celtics team? Would you like to see them make a run into the playoffs, or would you like to see them try their luck at a higher lottery pick? Leave your comment below.
Our tenth edition of ‘Green Runs Deep’ proudly features Jay O, a contributing member of RedsArmy.com, and a Boston area native. I’ve always enjoyed following Jay on Twitter, as he posts constant high-quality tweets, has excellent knowledge about the game of Basketball, and is intensely passionate of his beloved Boston Celtics. Jay also happens to have an outstanding sense of humour.
Enjoy his story. -@AusCelticsFan
It’s been a while since Banner 17, and a lot of you might be wondering where all of the guys from that glorious championship run are up to. Read on as I bring you up to speed on our proud Celtics from the 2007-08 season.
P.J. Brown (#93)
Brown now lives in Slidell, Louisiana where according to ShamSports.com, he now runs a not-for-profit youth foundation. Her daughter, Kalani Brown, had inherited his physical prowess and had followed his footsteps to the elites. At 6’5, Kalani is currently a top-5 college prospect for 2015.
Eddie House (#50)
After getting traded by the Celtics to the Knicks, House had made one more title run with the Miami Heat in 2011 but notably lost against the Dallas Mavericks. The following season, he was cut by the team to make room for Norris Cole.
The last news from Eddie House’s post-retirement life came on the 31st of December 2014 when he gave an impassioned speech to the Boise State Broncos prior to their Fiesta Bowl match up against the Arizona Wildcats. House drew criticism for this as he was 0-8 against the Wildcats during his 4-year college career in Arizona State.
James Posey (#41)
Posey is currently serving as an assistant coach for David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers. This job came following a successful first season as an assistant coach for the Canton Chargers, the Cavs’ D-League affiliate. Prior to his assignment to the D-League, Posey had helped out in former NBA player T.J. Ford’s AAU team. Posey had also returned to school to complete his degree.
Scot Pollard (#66)
After his retirement in 2008, Pollard entered the broadcasting industry working for NBATV alongside the likes of Cheryl Miller.
As of October 2014, Pollard had been working with the Indiana Pacers radio crew. Pollard had also appeared in two films: Axeman at Cutter’s Creek (2012) where he played the Axeman and Jayhawkers (2014), a movie about the 1956 Kansas Jayhawks team, which featured the great Big Dipper, Wilt Chamberlain. Pollard played the role of B.H. Born.
Leon Powe (#0)
As of September 2014, Powe had been hired by the Celtics to assist Danny Ainge. To quote Powe, his role in the Celtics front office is to “do whatever Danny want [him] to do.” Sherrod Blakely clarified that his role is a community/player-related position.
Powe was last seen catching up with Rajon Rondo during the latter’s homecoming after getting traded to the Dallas Mavericks on the 19th of December 2014.
Gabe Pruitt (#13)
Pruitt bounced around the league for awhile after winning a ring with the C’s in 2008. Pruitt’s last contract was with Panionios, a Eurobasket club based in Athens, Greece.
Brian Scalabrine (#44)
Scalabrine, a perennial fan favourite in Boston and widely held as one of the most popular Celtic ever, signed with the Chicago Bulls in 2010 where he played until 2011.
In 2013, he served as an assistant coach for Mark Jackson’s Golden State Warriors. However, Scal was reassigned to the Warriors’ D-League affiliate after he clashed with Jackson about their coaching philosophies.
Much to the delight of Celtic fans all over the world, Scalabrine decided to come home in 2014 to work as a Comcast Sportsnet announcer. His homecoming essay parodied LeBron James’ “I’m Coming Home” essay. He covers away games in place of the ageing Tommy Heinsohn.
Sam Cassell (#28)
Two months after being traded by the Celtics to the Kings in 2009, Cassell agreed to become an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards where he stayed until August 2014 when Doc Rivers came calling. Cassell then left the Wizards to join Rivers as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers. However, this was not before he could convince former teammate and 2008 NBA Finals MVP Paul Pierce to sign with the Wizards.
His son, Sam Cassell Jr., had committed to play for the University of Connecticut Huskies until 2017.
Ray Allen (#20)
Allen is no doubt the most disliked member of the 2008 Celtics championship after he left the team in 2012 to join the Miami Heat, where he won a second ring.
Celtic fans have never forgiven him.
He is currently on a hiatus, waiting for the current NBA season to pan out before making a decision whether to keep playing or retire. As usual, his future will remain unclear until we hear from him ourselves.
Kendrick Perkins (#43)
Perkins was a part of one of the most controversial trades in Celtics history, where he was traded away to the Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic back in 2011. He still plays for the Thunder but has certainly not forgotten his Celtic roots. It is safe to say the Boston had never recovered from the void left by Perk at the center position. Not yet, at least.
He had remained best friends with now Mavs point guard Rajon Rondo through the years.
Glen “Big Baby” Davis (#11)
Davis was traded to the Orlando Magic for Brandon Bass where he strived offensively. However, injuries derailed his production. Davis was bought out by the Magic in February 2014.
He had since reunited with Coach Doc Rivers, whom he always saw as a father figure as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, where he signed as a free agent three days after being released by the Magic.
Tony Allen (#42)
After failing to reach an agreement with the Celtics, Allen signed with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2010 where he had been playing ever since.
Allen, known for his tenacious defense, is now a crucial piece to a Memphis team set for a deep playoff run in the Wild West.
Like Perk, he still takes great pride in his Celtic heritage, even stating in a 2011 post game interview that “[he’s] a Celtic, but unfortunately [he] wears a Grizzlies jersey right now.”
Allen (@aa000G9) is also one of the most interesting NBA players to follow on Twitter where he constantly share uplifting quotations and funny moments from his life, including an image of his son vomitting on him.
Kevin Garnett (#5)
Kevin Garnett missed the playoffs in 2009 after a knee injury. Along with Pierce and Allen, Garnett led the Celtics to the championship the following year.
On the 28th of June 2013, Garnett agreed to waive his no-trade clause and was traded to the Nets along with Pierce and Terry, where had been playing ever since. Garnett is currently carrying out the last year of the contract he signed with Danny Ainge back in 2012.
Unsurprisingly Garnett still has a regular group text with Rondo, Pierce, Perk and Big Baby where they converse on a regular basis.
It is highly likely that this is Garnett’s final year as an NBA player.
Pierce had recently told the media that he and KG are considering a future career in the Celtics front office.
Paul Pierce (#34)
After the 2008 Finals, Pierce led the C’s to yet another championship appearance in 2010 before falling to the Lakers.
On the 28th of June 2013, Pierce along with Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry were traded to the Nets for Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, a $10.3 million trade exception and three future draft picks. Pierce ended his career in Boston as the all-time leader in 3-pt field goals attempt (4928), 3-pt field goals made (1823), free throw attempts (7979) and free throws made (6434). He also left as Boston’s second all-time leading scorer (24,021) behind John Havlicek and points per game leader (21.8) behind Larry Bird. He also played the third most games (1102) in Celtics history behind Robert Parish and John Havlicek.
Pierce currently plays for the Washington Wizards in an offseason (2014) signing that sent shockwaves all across the Twittersphere.
Teamed up with John Wall and Bradley Beal, Pierce, behind Rondo, has the second best chance to appear in the NBA Finals among all the active members of the 2008 Celtics championship team.
As mentioned above, Pierce had recently told the media that he and KG are considering a future career in the Celtics front office.
Rajon Rondo (#9)
After winning the title in 2008, Rondo went on to become a legitimate NBA superstar, leading the league in assists twice (2012-2013, steals once (2010) and becoming an All-Star (2010-2013). Rondo left the Celtics as the club’s all-time leader in assists (8.5) and steals (1.9) per game career average.
To most (if not all) Celtic fans’ disapproval, Danny Ainge shipped Rajon Rondo along with Dwight Powell to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright, 2 future draft picks and a hefty $12.9 million trade exception.
This trade teamed Rondo up with a core of Tyson Chandler, Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons, making the Mavs’ starting five arguably the best in the league.At least, for the time being. This means that of all the active members of the 2008 Celtics championship team, Rondo is in the best position to win another title.
Do you miss these Celtics? Keen to know more about some other Celtics who have moved on elsewhere? Pop a comment and we’ll do our best to find out!
Our ninth edition of ‘Green Runs Deep’ features Ģirts from Riga, Latvia, better known in the world of Twitter as ‘@GeeZeeCeltics‘.
Ģirts is 20 years old, yet wise beyond his years. A popular figure on Twitter for not only his passion for his Celtics, but his high-level of knowledge of the game.
However, his intellect is not merely limited to the game of Basketball. I’m blessed to consider him as a friend.
Enjoy his story. -@AusCelticsFan
2014 may not have been the best year for the Celtics on the court, but there was definitely some heat in the kicks department.
I have compiled a list of the top five green kicks of 2014, in no particular order.
CSNNE and the Boston Celtics thank Rondo with a quick montage and send off message from Mike Gorman.