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How will I deal with Powe’s departure?

 

CHRGLPThe same way I dealt with Ryan Gomes’ departure.

Ryan Gomes was one of the  now infamous Celtic second round picks that turned out to be a diamond in the rough- to anyone who doesn’t watch college basketball.  Gomes, like his would-be future counterparts Leon Powe and Glen Davis, was the best player on his college team (easy Tyrus Thomas fans).  Prior to the 2005 Draft, Celtics fans were well acquainted with Gomes by way of him playing his college ball just down I95 at Providence College.

Having a College All-American fall to your team late in the second round is pretty much the best any Draft Watcher can hope (aside from an international pipe dream).  Seemingly destined to be a rotation player for the Celtics, Gomes worked extremely hard his rookie season, starting in 33 games and averaging nearly 8 points and 5 rebounds a game (Basketball-Reference), easily outdoing the Celtics first round pick (who for some inexplicable reason, fans still want to waste a roster spot on, I mean more power to him if he proves me wrong, but I just don’t see it…as a I digree parenthetically).

NBA scouts had Gomes pegged as a tweener who at 6’7″, was too small to play power forward, and lacked the necessary ball handling and shooting ability to play small forward…and in a lot of cases they were right.  Gomes is too small to be a power forward.  He’s not the massive but short power forwards that can hack it at 6’7″ because they just out muscle everyone (á la Craig Smith, DeJuan Blair) and he’s not tall enough to really be a back-to-the-basket power forward (á la Al Jefferson, Kevin Garnett).  To put it simply, Gomes’ success can be summed up in three words: He’s a baller.

He’s an absolute baller (okay four words).  He works ridiculously hard, he fights for rebounds, he finishes at the rim, and he’s a reliable midrange jump shooter.  He’s also an extremely high character guy.  He’s a player any GM would be happy and lucky to have.  IN another words, he’s pretty much Leon Powe.

In fact, Ryan Gomes and Leon Powe’s similarities are shocking (the least of which being their near mirror-image qualities of their last names).  Both played for smaller, but highly reputable college basketball programs in big time conferences (Gomes- Providence, Powe- Cal).  Both played power forward in college but were so dominant that they could essentially play where ever they wanted.  Both were passed up by teams that could have really used them and luckily wound up with the Celtics.

While Gomes uses his basketball savvy, however, Powe uses his Power.  Part of the reason Powe is so fun to watch is that fact that teams without a shot blocker can not contain him in the paint.  He’s too strong and too good a finisher despite knee injuries crippling (terrible pun) his leaping ability.

And then there’s Powe’s adversity.  I swear, the fact that the guy can smile is a shock to me.  Growing up poor in Oakland, living in a car, having knees that refuse to believe he plays basketball.  Going through what Powe has been through is unfathomable- just like seeing him in a Cavs uniform.

Hopefully, it’ll be similar to the way it is when Celtics fans see Gomes in a T’Wolves jersey.  It’s nice that he gets to start, it’s nice that he’s playing well, and it’s nice that he’s making money.  All of those things can make Celtics Fandom root for Leon Powe.  Unfortunately, he’s wearing maroon and gold (and not of my alma mater, which, I must admit, would be sweet in some sort of Twilight Zone).  Celtics fans had the luxury of Gomes going to another conference, but in this case, there’s no such luck.

Let’s be honest, it’s going to absolutely suck seeing Powe play for the Cavs.  I’m predicting an absolute visceral reaction to take place in my stomach when I see him tie his maroon shorts the first time he enters the game.  Thinking about LeBron-to-Powe combinations, or, infinitely worse, seeing Powe high-five Andersen Varejao makes me very depressed.

All that being said…

One really can’t dwell on this too hard.  What’s done is done.  Danny Ainge has shown that he doesn’t believe in player loyalty for fan favorites.  In his first year as GM, he traded away fan favorites/starters Antoine Walker, Eric Williams, and Tony Battie.  And now he didn’t resign Leon Powe.

Why?

Because he wants to win, and has shown he can.  It’s a sad, sad fact that there is a boat load of uncertianty about whether or not Powe will come back and be 100% and Ainge felt he just couldn’t handcuff a roster spot.  He traded away Gomes (and others) to get Kevin Garnett and won a Championship.  Hopefully our collective sadness over another favorite player’s departure can bring us another one (that and a healthy KG, Rasheed Wallace off the bench, Marquis Daniels backin’ up Pierce, and what are they doing about a back up point guard??…)

  • josh

    when will ainge release tony allen??????????

  • dhough

    It is gonna suck! I have to rationalize some way, so here goes; Leon demonstrated so much heart and soul as a Celtic that other teams are willing to pay against long odds to get some of his mojo. He deserves their respect and dollars. Will he have the same mojo? I don't think so. But that does not negate the presence he gave the Celts. It was hard to see Bill Russell coach on the West Coast; hard to see Paul Silas leave Boston and get another championship; hard to see Larry in Indiana, the Chief in Chicago . . . Leon will be missed, but hey, look at the front court he will face if he returns. Gotta love what Danny has done even if Leon is displaced in the process.

  • mallz

    man leon played with that grit garnett has been known for. now that hes gone its more of phychological thing to celts that they need to overcome. i PRAY danny can free up more roster room in the sign n trade for daniels. HONESTLY IF ALLEN IVERSON IS STILL ON THE MARKET APPROACHIN TRAINING CAMP. I STRONGLY BELIEVE DANNY WOULD GET HIM. he gave marbury a chance n allen is a better player than marbury. a.i is a man tryin to hold down consistentcy. but hes held it down so long now he needs to smell ring. his accomplishments so far can land him in the hof. if trainin camp comes closer. i hope ppl put a putition for ai in celtic green

  • tebucky

    seriously, we all know TA is worthless but isn't his expiring deal worth SOMETHING?!?!

  • http://vittoriodezen.wordpress.com Vittorio De Zen

    You hit the nail on the head with the last paragraph. It sucks seeing a talented young guy leave, especially someone who plays like Powe, but you guys can console yourselves with your 60 wins (assuming KG is healthy).

  • http://Aol.com Matthew

    Farewell leon. We will all miss you. Don't take it personal leon, i'm glad your getting paid but I'm going to cheer when kg or daniels dunks on you! Intact I can't wait to see Cleveland destroyed by any and every team. Sorry. But hey thanks for the memories!

    Ok now on to Allen not iverson just Tony….. Danny please please please find a taker for TA. Europe? Can we trade to Europe? Scal can go with him! Sign lestor or in another universe AI…?

    Purely dreaming AI house daniels Bbd Wallace…that's a starting 5 right? No more crack pipe dreams…. Pg is our only issue unless we use dAniels as pg.

  • Sweeney

    I am just mad you mentioned Anderson VerryAHo' in a column. Thanks for ruining my day…

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  • BitterCeltsFan

    Grrrrr! Sheldon Williams better be good.

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  • Conall Mac Michael

    I am devestated Powe is gone, he was one of my favourite bench players and his hustle and grit is what made the celts so much fun to watch, the fact they had so much style (Paul, Ray etc) but also substance (guys with heart like Powe), the worst thing is that he's going to the Cavs, which means it's going to be damn hard to root for him. I genuinely want him to do well because he deserves to do well. Ah well 'Go n-eírí leat' is what we should say to Powe

  • http://Wooden Pasard

    How much of an impact can Leon Powe's knowledge of our defensive schemes help his new team against us opening night, and down the road in match-ups. I will have to see us beat the Cavaliers opening night to be convinced that there is no effect. Then the true litmus test may come if he comes back healthy, and we have to contend with the man physically on the court with LeBron. There are so many intangibles, and uncertainties, but we(the C's spearheaded by Danny Ainge) have taken every step to give us a fighting chance to compete with the newly re-vamped Magic, and Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference title.

  • http://Wooden Pasard

    A.I. would be sweet. Those jerseys would fly off the rack.

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