I would like to begin this post by echoing Brian’s sentiments in the previous Notebook Post. To say we’ve been slacking would be an under-statement, however, it would also be incomplete. As Brian mentioned, we here at CelticsHub are committed to not manufacture storylines (we’ll leave that to the professionals). You won’t see headlines like, “Is Paul Pierce Better Than LeBron James?” unless it is quickly followed by a “No.” For that, I think you are appreciative (right?).
Anyway, this lockout has been a total bummer. Not only has it caused most of us to focus on other things- football, spending time with loved ones, diet, exercise, various vices- but it also has led us to frame this upcoming season completely different. I thought about this concept when I was stuck in a New Orleans hotel all day because Hurricane Irene delayed my flight home, You see, a close friend of mine is getting married and the groomsmen decided it would be a good idea to spend the weekend experiencing everything Bourbon Street had to offer. What was meant to be a brief two-day foray into Cajun Culture turned into nearly a week of gumbo, beads, and hot sauce. That takes a toll on a person’s soul (and wallet).
(backside shown to protect the guilty innocent)
As I’m soul searching in a New Orleans hotel at which I am no longer an official guest I begin to think about other things that beget desperation. Without fail, my mind arrives at the Celtics.
For years Celtics fans and detractors alike have been discussing this concept of a “championship window” and every offseason there has been one reason or another to be hopeful. After 2008, the sentiment was, “can the Celtics repeat?“. After the 2009 season, it was, “well if KG had been healthy…” only to be followed up by “the Cs really could have used Kendrick Perkins in Game 7 of the Finals.” Every offseason up until this one had some kind of hopeful undertones.
The catalyst for this realization? Reading this Paul Flannery article (WEEI.com) on my smart phone. It’s worth the whole read-thru, but in case you are in a time crunch let me summarize the main premise: Jeff Green may not be as bad as you thought. Eeeeeshhh…
Maybe it was fighting off the urge to abruptly expel everything I had consumed the night before (I admit nothing). Maybe it was the fact that we arrived home well after the day broke and had to check out at noon forcing an earlier-than-desired rise. Whatever it was, I felt sick and downtrodden when I read it. Compared with any other offseason in the Big Three era, this year reeks with the bleakest potential.
So let’s breakdown the past few offseason outlooks for handy reference:
When Zach Lowe (Sports Illustrated né CelticsHub) still wrote here, we used to have a huge difference of perception. This led to many an argument in the CelticsHub war room (email chains). I was always hopeful that something good could come out of each offseason, that the Celtics were always right there in contention. Zach, on the other hand, was a self-proclaimed pessimist. He would find any little thing to lower a total win or a playoff prediction.
Now, I’m starting to think and feel like Zach.
A few weeks ago, Kevin Pelton (Basketball Prospectus) outlined a Celtic rebuilding plan as a special to ESPN Insider. Like Flannery, is this really what Celtics’ fans have to look forward to? As soon as the post was published, I get an email from Ryan describing Pelton’s post as a “terrible Milwaukee-style rebuilding plan.”
For those of you without ESPN Insider, Pelton’s suggestion is to replace Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Jermaine O’Neal with Al Jefferson, Omer Asik, O.J. Mayo, Matt Barnes, and Robin Lopez. Please note: this is just the raw breakdown and Pelton does go on to explain his rationale. Also to be fair, it’s not like he has a lot with which to work. Free Agents don’t exactly flock to Boston unless there’s a good chance to win a ring. If the Celtics are going to competely rebuild, the team will again be entrusted to Danny Ainge. Ainge will have to shift back to building a team rather than just adding complimentary pieces, although his track record suggests he has better success in doing the former. Is that really what this offseason hope is going to be?
(as a quick aside, have you seen this recent picture of Von Wafer? Maybe he will be able to bring some hope to Celtics’ future).