The 23rd Winter Olympiad is nearly upon us, but here in Australia, you wouldn’t know it. They don’t really do “winter” here, and interest in the Games is tepid at best. Nor can I myself claim to be the biggest fan of the winter events.
I think this year in particular is tough because there are very few stars to pull for. But what if that wasn’t the case, what if we made the Winter Olympics a bit more familiar? Suppose the IOC called on the Boston Celtics to spice up the Winter Games. How would the C’s fare?
I’ve taken the liberty of selecting a few events where some of the Celtics would simply thrive:
Bobsled: Marcus Smart
Now, right away, I want to agree with Ryan’s point and suggest that Marcus Smart would in fact make a great figure skater. The way he sells flops, I don’t know, it just seems like there’s a performer in Smart that’s waiting to be nurtured.
I stand by the belief that Marcus Smart would be the best 2-man bobsled driver on the Celtics, but his figure skating form is undeniably impressive. pic.twitter.com/zQBDC9o23b
— Ryan Bernardoni (@dangercart) January 6, 2018
Ultimately, I think it’s best to put Smart on the bobsled team. There are a few reasons for this. Fearlessness comes to mind right away, which is something Marcus has in spades. Say what you want about his outside shooting or playmaking, but doubting Smart’s near-reckless courage is a fool’s errand.
Smart also isn’t the biggest guy, and has a relatively low center of gravity. Those sound like they’d be helpful in bobsled, right? At the very least I can imagine Smart being super valuable in that bit where they race to push the sled to the track.
Biathlon: Gordon Hayward
All things considered, Gordon Hayward should stay very, very far away from skis for the foreseeable future. But in our hypothetical Celtics Winter Olympics, Hair Gordon is the star of the biathlon team.
Now, I do know Hayward was quite a serious tennis player tennis growing up. And tennis people are often skiing people. That said, he also grew up in Indiana, where opportunities to ski are undoubtably few and far between.
Hayward is, however, quite involved with video games, and as such, might have the focus and steady hands to excel in the sharpshooting parts of the biathlon event. I’ve never held a gun in my life, but I’ve played enough Halo that I think I’d hold my own. Following that logic, Gordon Hayward could be legendary with a rifle. (Seriously, how good was Halo 3?)
Gordon Hayward is already back to playing games without his cast on. Impressive to see him doing weight training on his leg this early into the rehab. /s pic.twitter.com/OWeGl7uDu0
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) December 6, 2017
Hockey: Al Horford
I find hockey to be supremely impressive. Ice skating alone is challenging enough, but the balance of the deft and the physical in hockey is simply astounding. So I don’t want to take anything away from actual hockey players in saying Al Horford would be an absolute problem on the ice.
Horford is neither a stone-cold bruiser nor a skinny big who spreads the floor. He’s somewhere in between, and as best I can tell has the right skills and vision to do well in hockey.
He’s about the same size as Zdeno Chara, which is a good analog. Would Horford be an excellent passer from the crease? Yes. Would his three-point shooting translate into a wicked slap shot? Sure, why not? Would he put people through the glass every now and again? I’d like to think so.
Curling: Terry Rozier
Now this is almost wishful thinking, but perhaps outdated wishful thinking. Because one of Rozier’s biggest faults in his young career has been an inability to finish at the rim. Far too often has Terry hung a fast-break lay up a bit short and blown an easy opportunity. Getting him involved with curling, a sport that is more anal than a prostate exam would perhaps improve his focus.
In what is shaping up to be a break-out season for Rozier, his work at the rim is improving. He shoots 53.3 percent within ten feet of the basket, which is an acceptable metric. He still takes just 28.6 percent of his shots in that range, however, which is a tad low for my taste. Some time on the curling circuit could help Terry become an even better offensive threat.
Pairs figure skating Kyrie Irving and Guerschon Yabusele
This is also a bit of wishful thinking, in that I giggle every time I think of this playing out in real life. But beyond the hilarity of Kyrie and Yabu recreating “Blades of Glory,” there’s also a bit of reasoning to this.
Yabusele isn’t just the Dancing Bear. He’s also got that charming charism that would make him a star. Remember when everyone went nuts when he dabbed? Imagine if he did that in sequins.
— Casey Baker (@CaseyBake16) December 7, 2017
Kyrie meanwhile, well he’s always putting people on skates. Maybe it’s high time he laced up himself. Considering his outrageous level of body control and spacial awareness he has on a basketball court, I actually think he’d do quite well in figure skating. Plus he’d gush about the energy he and Yabu share, and the song choices between the two would be fantastic.
Two quick last things. First, the newest Celtics, Greg Monroe, would make an excellent mascot. His nickname is Moose, after all, and moose and winter is an important pairing.
Secondly, in “researching” for this article, I came across an untouchably interesting nugget of Olympic basketball history. Someone needs to make a movie out of this. At the very least, I thought I’d share.
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