Here we are, back to Celtics lottery talk.
Once, when men named Bird and Parish walked these streets, things were different. Then came the Bad Times. ML Carr's "championship driven" teams managed to produce an unexpected bonus- 2 lottery picks. We'd be getting our next Russell, and maybe a Cousy to feed him the ball.
Then, God abandoned us for some wretched Upper Mexicans from San Antonio. We were left with incumbent Antoine Walker, a power forward who can't post up, box out, or guard anyone taller than 6'8"- and who wets himself and screams "Nooooo,,,don't dunk on me againnnnnnnn..." whenever he drives by a K-Mart.
We also got the "backcourt of the future", athletic Ron Mercer and Chauncey Billups, who turns into a 17ppg, 5 apg contributor....for Detroit. Trader Rick turned Chauncey and David Wesley into Kenny Anderson, who ends up backing up the guy who used to be Gary Payton's backup, because we turned Kenny(and Vitaly Potapenko- acquired for the draft pick that became Andre Bleepin Miller) into Seattle power forward...well, we'll get to that in a minute.
Pierce fell into our laps. This must have been some Karma payback for the Duncan thing. Sort of like when some Down's Syndrome guy gets a Tommy Lee-sized unit, if you know what I'm saying. Still, the team flops. Pitino loses his mind, seeing Celtic ghosts walking through the door, then flees like Noah before the flood.
Lo and behold, the team actually starts to gel. Mistakes are erased- we actually find someone dumber than Pitino, and turn Travis Knight into Tony Battie. Pierce asserts himself, and can't even be stabbed out of stardom. Walker, for all his faults, plays like an ironman and learns the joy of passing. We trade for some veterans. We promote Pitino's understudy, and Coach OB stops the bleeding. The team makes some noise in the playoffs.
But the noise is "Nooooooooooo". While able to sneak up on Indiana, the Celtics wilt like Chamberlain when faced with the league's iron. New Jersey beats the Leprechauns like a rental car, with Walker in particular having his flaws exposed. Even if the Mean Green had slipped by New Jersey, regular season encounters with San Antonio and LA resulted in 40 point Shaq nights and bitter Texican reminders of What Could Have Been.
The Celtics then are in a strange position. They are young and mediocre. This is like when a date tells you that he/she thinks you're "nice". They will get no more Lottery picks, and they will not be able to afford free agents.
They get desperate. They make moves. Moves made of desperation. Vin Baker is brought in. He signs a 7 year deal and starts some serious, Guns n Roses-style drinking. He is eventually waived. This is the LESS disastrous move we make.
Danny Ainge is brought in to take over the GM spot. In no time at all, he:
- trades Walker and Delk for LaFrenz, Welsch, and a #25 draft pick who will get 3 years, guaranteed. We also get an expiring Chris Mills contract (I wonder what idiots gave HIM all that money, long term???), which Ainge is presently trying to squander.
- makes 2 multi-player trades with last year's 19-63 Cleveland team, getting NONE of their good players in return.
- In a little-known charitable move, Coach OB let 31 different black people sit on the bench at home games and pretend to be Jumaine Jones. Each ersatz JJ made $5000 donations to the Reggie Lewis Foundation. A cleverly-disguised Serena Williams actually got 6 rebounds in the Chicago game.
-despite his philanthropy, OB crosses Danny Boy and is firedconvincedtoresign. He is replaced by a man named I.M. Interim, and the team stinks like the steam rising from Vin Baker's vomit.
- faces 3 days in February which may or may not destroy this team. He has a commodity in Ricky Davis. He has a "get out of cap free" card in Mills. He has a good 7th player in Jiri Welsch, and an injured Raef LaFrenz. He has a rookie PG, and 2 character actor big men. He has 2 draft picks, one of which is looking better every day. He also has a flat-out ace in Paul Pierce. How he trades, reorders, keeps and uses these assets will determine if I have to start watching hockey again.
God help him if he screws this up and bails, like he did in Phoenix. He will be captured, stuffed, and displayed in the New England Museum of Failure, between the "Dukakis in '88" exhibit and the Arc de Buckner.