Post-game Reactions

Let’s catch up on a couple of notables from recent days. Speaking with Gary Washburn of the Globe, Danny Ainge tempered some of the early season playoff dreams Celtics fans might have after Boston’s better than expected start. Here’s your bucket of cold water:

If the Celtics reach the playoffs, their own first-round pick will be no higher than 15th, meaning they would fall out of the lottery and likely would miss out on a chance to draft franchise player. Ainge said he hasn’t thought about the Celtics making a playoff push.

“I don’t know, because there’s too many variables, it’s just not that simple,” he said about the postseason. “Making the playoffs is not a goal. I need to explain that a little bit. If there’s a bunch of teams that are just injured and playing and you finish five, six, or seven games under .500 and you made the playoffs just because of that, that might not be such a great thing. I’m only concerned about how our players are playing, and if it so happens we make the playoffs and we earn our way and our guys are getting better, then I’m thrilled.

“We’re not excited about being 10-14. That doesn’t bring excitement to anybody, but progress does.”

The key message here is Danny Ainge is not going to add parts to this team in hoping of advancing its position for this season unless they also fit into his long term plan. He’s not buying the fool’s gold of the standings, given the team is still under .500 and is, by record, the 18th best team in the league. This is a good thing.

Ainge is more likely to offload immediate-impact pieces than add them. Brandon Bass is one candidate to be moved to a contender. And as we’ve noted recently, so are Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford.

With Crawford, there may already be a suitor in pursuit. Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News suggests he could end up joining another ex-Celtic guard in Miami:

Miami is looking to deal for a young wing player who can score and take some of the load off Dwyane Wade. A few GMs have identified Boston’s Jordan Crawford as a player the Heat will go after in the coming days/weeks.

Miami doesn’t have a lot that would obviously interest Boston, but Ainge could probably get past his aversion to sending a player to a conference “rival” (to the extent Boston still has any rivals) if the return was strong. Miami could also try and draw a third team into the mix to get Boston an asset they’d find appealing, or include a future draft pick.

Crawford has been fun this year, but selling high is not a bad idea because he doesn’t project to be in Boston next season unless Ainge moves Rajon Rondo this season, in which case the PG role is open and Crawford could fit the short-term bill. His shot-creation and shooting skills make for an appealing package if you believe he’ll continue to play this consistently. But it’s his immediate allure — a low-cost PG with an 18.55 PER — that may make him, ironically enough, expendable. Simply because Miami won’t be the only team looking for a scoring upgrade at the guard spot between now and the deadline. And future assets may make more sense than present ones for Boston, especially if Crawford is not the only guy on his way out of town.

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Ryan DeGama

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  • The Cardinal

    Wow, I read Danny's statement and came away with something different: "Backing into the playoffs because other teams have key injuries is neither gratifying or a goal, but if our guys earn it through their own talent and tenacity (and overcoming out own key injury (ies), then so be it." I'm not sure whether one or both of us are doing our own version of South African sign-language interpretation here, but it's clear to me our own biases are coloring this issue.

    Boston was never going to be a deadline buyer and none of the serious anti-tankers on this board – including y'alls truly – have ever wanted us to be! For all y'all tankers, please take note: "win and make the playoffs if we can" does not equate to "win and make the playoffs at any ridiculous cost." If the existing roster – even minus one or two pieces at the trade deadline – is good enough for a 4 – 8 seed, then so be it – I'll celebrate. But no one in my crowd has seriously suggested hamstringing the organization's 2014-2015 financial flexibility by become a trade deadline buyer (unless you're bringing back a top 10 or 15 player in this league under a reasonable contract, which probably isn't even possible).

  • The Cardinal

    One more thing – although everyone keeps focusing on Crawford the point guard, Crawford the shooting guard is where this kid is going to excel for someone – whether it's in Boston (yay!) or elsewhere (boo!).

  • Sophomore

    Crawford has shown a lot. I wouldn't let him go without getting something useful back, and I can't think of anything the Heat has that we would want. We can't even dump a contract on them; all their salary is tied up in players they can't move.

  • Jim

    It is pretty clear that the writer of this post is not a Crawford fan. I am not so sure he has the crystal ball of what the team may or may not do as far as trades but giving a young player like Crawford away who can play both guard positions does not make any sense.. How can you make the statement that Crawford does not project to be in Boston next year? This team has lacked anyone at the back up point guard position for too long to make that assumption. As the Cardinal pointed out Crawford can play sg too. Of course the writer thinks that Bradley can play the point guard position which he has proven he can not.

  • skeeds

    seriously 0 scenarios I could think of that would make Miami a good suitor for us. As much as I'd love to have Crawford stick around as our 1 man off the bench splitting minutes between playing the 2 with Rondo and the 1 with Bradley (that would be an excellently balanced 3 man rotation for the future), Ainge is very, very likely to oversell him. The frenzy for scoring pg's, (the most useless of players) is so big that a mediocre-bad team is bound to jump at him the way he's playing.
    I trust Ainge in stealing a great piece from someone desperate. My pick is Giannis Adetokounbo of the Bucks. a: because he's Greek as am I, and b: all national pride bias aside, the kid is superstar material, a more athletic version of Nick Batum worse case scenario. 6-11, still growing, handles like a pg, shoots the 3, blocks and rebounds like a PF, only 19 years old. The way the Bucks are scrambling to fill their arena, Ainge can do that trade with his eyes closed.

    • Sophomore

      Interesting trade; haven't seen enough of the kid to know if that talent will pan out, but he might turn into something pretty good.

      Hard to see the Bucks doing it, though. Crawford makes them better this year. All he does is cut the number of ping-pong balls the Bucks will have without making them a good team.

      • skeeds

        Oh it would 100% be a bad move from the Bucks side, especially with the upside this kid has. But it's not unlikely, no more than a move like the Raptors "oh, sure we want Rudy Gay, here's a bunch of assets we could make better use of" kind of thing. The Bucks have no idea whatsoever what they're doing, as evidenced by what they did with Monta Ellis, Bogut, Brandon Jennings and so on. Never underestimate the power of ignorance…

        • Morpheus

          I am a BIG Giannis fan too. Seriously with his skillset at 6'11? Insane, you don't get players with that skillset at 6'11 too often.

          • Morpheus

            If Danny has the eye for potential, surely he would be looking hard at Giannis and thinking long and hard at what he could offer to pry him away before the Bucks realise what they have.

          • cos

            if you guys really think Milwaukee is giving up the greek freak for crawford, may I interest you in a bridge I'd like to unload.

            While the bucks have not been great at player mgmt, I'm 100% confident they know what they have in Giannis. The fans there are begging the ownership to trade the vets and tank to get another stud. they've bought a fricken billboard there.

            Lastly, DA should have taken him in the draft when they could have over taking KO.

          • skeeds

            No no the Bucks 100% know what they have in him, and they seem to be taking his development very seriously. I was so pissed that Ainge didn't get him. The one very,very bad aspect of his management is scouting non-us players. Granted, Giannis might've been the hardest one to scout. He only played 2nd division(!)
            I'm not saying Olynik was a bad pick, just that Adetokounbo is exactly the kind of gamble one should take when he's rebuilding…
            He went for 13-9-4-1 the other day. Damn it Danny!

          • Morpheus

            They didn't know what they had in Tobias Harris.

          • skeeds

            Cos is right. If Ainge had an eye for potential he would've drafted him 6 months ago.

          • John

            I really don't get why people hate Ainge on this board. he dumped two aging players on the Nets for three future unprotected picks, he sent Doc to the Clips for a pic and then hired Brad Stevens to replace, he acquired Jordan Crawford for two players out of the NBA right now, drafted Sullinger, Rondo, Onlynk late, got Pressey and Faverini for nothing. Yeah, he makes mistakes, just like every GM in the league.

            But bashing him for Olynyk over Giannis? We don't know how good either of these players will turn out. Why don't we wait and find out before calling for the GM's head.

  • hax

    2 1st round picks from Miami, along with a 3rd team to take Joel Anthony, while sending us a 1 year contract.
    Seems like the only intriguing deal. And Riley wouldn't do that.

  • Dmitry

    Trade Crawford for Ray Allen and bench him, sweet vendetta!

  • The Cardinal

    The thing I can't figure out is even if Boston is willing to move Crawford, what will they likely get in return that will surpass what he is capable of doing for this team over the next 4 or 5 years? Forget all the small sample size crap, the guy was acquired last season because Mr. Ainge knew he was talented.

    Other posters have noted how much Boston has historically overvalued some of its young players and just to piss some folks off, Bradley, A. immediately comes to mind. Conversely, Boston (but not necessarily Ainge as I'm thinking back to Chancey Billups and Joe Johnson) has occasionally shown potential All Star level talent-blindness. This is where Jordan Crawford comes to mind.

    Let's face it – if even a fraction of the stories questioning Crawford's attitude and coachability were true, he would have been booted to the D-League long ago except for one very obvious thing – he is truly a gifted shooting guard who has the ability to run the point when needed. Think about that then think about how many current starting guards or sixth men guards you can say that about? Another thing to think about – what two players do you have on your squad or that you intend to acquire that will be able to play shooting guard and point guard as well as Crawford does either one?

    Final thought on JC – if you were voting on Eastern Conference All Stars based on how well they have played so far this season, could you objectively identify 4 guards who are more deserving of a place on the team?

    • Jim

      Excellent points. Please start writing for Celtics hub as you have shown you know much more about basketball then some of the writers at this site.
      People seem to forget how long we have gone without a backup point guard who also can play shooting guard , not turn the ball over and score too. I am amazed at some of the trades people come up with that are not realistic. Yes of course Ainge would trade Jordan Crawford or anyone else on the team if it made sense. Just imagine where this team would have been if Stevens had not inserted Crawford as the point guard. I see Crawford as another piece to build upon. Does anyone think Rondo will start and be as good as he was before he got hurt? It will take some time to shake the rust and there is no telling what form he will be when he returns. As long as we keep Crawford we have insurance . I want to see us grow our talent not trade it away for some late round draft choice.