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Standing Pat Not An Option

 

Steve Bulpett has a nice piece in the Herald today where he looks at a few Boston options as we approach the trade deadline. It’s refreshingly free of loyalty-for-loyalty’s sake.

When Doc says, “I want to see what we can do when we’re all healthy,” it’s another way of saying he hasn’t yet seen consistent signs the Celtics are capable of standing up in a seven-game series against any of the top-tier teams. Maybe for a night or two, but not better in a best-of-seven.

Close your eyes. Is there any scenario you can picture that has the Celts beating Miami or Chicago in a first-round series? Or a second?

We’re willing to bet Ainge can’t either. And to admit so wouldn’t make him or you disloyal or, worse, like one of them damn media wretches. It would mean that you’ve done a cost-benefit analysis based on facts in evidence.

Bulpett is likely right about Ainge’s viewpoint. Ainge has been on WEEI a number of times this season and his comments have been blunt: the Celtics do not have championship potential based on their play. Doc’s health concerns are unquestionable. The Celtics are already Pervis Ellison-thin at center and it’s only a matter of time before we learn Jermaine O’Neal is done for the season. It’s no stretch to assume Boston would be pummeled on the glass by any number of playoff teams even with Kevin Garnett turning in a Herculean effort.

Of course, the Celtics are playing better since the break and if they pick up road wins against most or all of Philadelphia, the Lakers and the Clippers this week, you could reasonably argue the team needs to add a player or two and make a run at it. The Celtics are the darkest of horses, but an injury to any of Miami’s Big Three, along with Boston adding a bench scorer and a rebounder could make the spring interesting.

I believe Ainge has to make a move one way or another. If he sends this group into the playoffs as-is, they’re a second round out, at best. They may not make it out of the first.

Adding a low-cost Michael Beasley-style scorer to the bench and a center who can rebound and/or protect the rim gives the Celtics a puncher’s chance.

And of course, if that’s too difficult to pull off, there’s the other way to go. Bulpett:

The belief here, too, is that the Celtics wouldn’t mind getting worse to get better . . . you know, buy a lottery ticket. If they could find a deal that got them something for the future (a draft pick or the rights to a currently entwined foreigner) but hurt them this year to the point they missed the playoffs, a lucky bounce of the ping-pong balls might be the best thing that could happen to this club. Or do you forget what a Mr. T. Duncan did for San Antonio’s fortunes?

The Celtics are stuck in the unproductive NBA middle right now. I expect Ainge to chart a course away from it by March 15. One way or another.

  • ElRoz

    I say just go and try to get a rebounder-banger – a PF or a Center if you can do it w/o giving up a lot….but is that a possibility? Giving up Bradley seems too much right now…and the same for JJ as well – so what can they offer? Sasha, Marquis, JO, Stiemsma…. Or instead train and train and play and play JJ and Stiemsma and hpe they will improve come playoff time…use KG-Wilcox at center, Bass and JJ at PF.

  • zach

    I'm confused so as a fan (or as a GM) why would you prefer to draft 1 – 5 spots higher versus having 1-2 exciting playoff series (assuming we get the 6th or higher seed)? Do you know how much revenue even 1 playoff round generates? How is this logical? Is the 12th pick going to bring up closer to a championship than the 17th pick? We might not sniff the playoffs for 3 years so I think we should try to enjoy one last play off run. Tanking for Anthony Davis makese sense but tanking for pick 13 makes 0 sense.

  • zach

    Also, I think there is SOME chance the Celtics can beat the Bulls in the post season. They have had so many close series and games. Don't think they can beat the Heat barring injury.

  • lucidsportsfan

    There is no possible trade they could make that would significantly improve their title chances THIS season. My feeling is they might as well go one last run with this group and let the contracts run out. I think we often forget that the league is entertainment. They might not win a title, but they are still plenty good enough to make a run and be fun to watch! http://www.lucidsportsfan.com/2012_03_04_archive….

  • CG12

    I think that Bulpett is generally right, but that Danny will find it difficult to make a trade that leaves the team sufficiently better off in the long run that it is really worth doing. As we have seen, there are PR and chemistry costs associated with trades, so that needs to be considered in evaluating any trade of the New Big Three Plus One. If management truly thinks that Rondo is not a guy they can build around, they should trade him immediately, because his trade value is high, but could crash tomorrow.

    I strongly suspect that the Cs will try to pick up a couple of spare parts, ride this thing until the wheels fall off, and go into the offseason just as they have planned for years. Sign Ray and KG to discounted vet role player deals, pick up a second tier marquee free agent, re-sign J. Green, and this looks like a pretty nasty team next year.

  • The Cardinal

    Danny will – and should – do the best he can to help the team win right now. Next year will take care of itself, and as a fan who believes in Celtic pride, I want to see Boston take it’s best shot now regardless of this oft-repeated idea that they have little to no chance to win it all this year.

  • James Patrick

    why gamble on the shortened season? unless Ainge can say with complete certainty that the big 3 won't come back at reduced salaries, why mess with a chemistry that is well intact that can create the groundwork for the next generation of Celtics? Look what happened last year when he messed with team chemistry?

  • T.J.

    I agree with CG. Lets ride this thing out unless New Orleans for some reason is willing to work with us to get Kaman. Once you get to the playoffs, its anyone's game. (Even though the Heat look way too strong right now.) After this year, I think KG and Ray will re-sign at a discount; bring in a good F.A. or two and this team will look fine. But, never count these guys out. We all learned that 3rd year of the Big 3 era.

  • CelticsBIG3

    I've already said it here. Just leave it alone. We saw the damage to chemistry a mid-season trade has. We were rolling last year and became a .500 team post trade. Never forget the strangeness of a shortened season and a 1999 Knicks team who bumbled into the playoffs and shook up the NBA by going on a trip to the Finals. But who am I to say? I've been enjoying what this team does lately and would prefer to see how far we can get as a team. If we can move a few pieces (Daniels, Stiemsma, Dooling, etc) to bring in a guy who does nothing but hit the glass and play defense, then do it. But not at the cost of losing a Ray Allen who drives most of our offense just by running off of screens. This is the third time i posted this having it deleted over and over again by the way

  • yourdumb

    Lucky bounce of the ping pong balla? The lottery is fuckin rigged, are you kidding me? Its a goddamn joke. No way the celtics barely make lottery amd win. Hell the celtics could be 1st in lottery and get screwes. The horneta havw the lottery in the bag…. aince stern runs em.

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