With the recent trade for Ray Allen and the emergence of Al Jefferson, the Celtics arguably have assembled as much talent as at any point since the early-to-mid-nineties. Remember, during the post-Pitino era, the Celtics had two fringe all-stars and a slew of "battle-tested veterans". With several trading chips still available, a couple of young guys poised to make "the jump" and an Eastern Conference still considered to be weak, does the current roster have enough talent to go a step further than those teams from the early part of the decade?
In order to comprehensively analyze this conundrum, I contemplated carrying out a detailed comparison of the roster as currently constituted (alliteration not intended), as against the 2002 incarnation, or maybe the 2005 unit, which won the division. Hmmm…Jefferson or Walker? Perkins or Blount? Rondo or Payton? Ray Allen or Ricky Davis? The possibilities were intriguing.
However, then I instead considered doing another juvenile pun-filled parody piece, which I knew would safely make the cut due to it being the quietest part of the year. What a dilemma. Find out what I decided after the jump…
Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Boston's Got Talent, with your host, Jim O'Brien!
Jim O'Brien: I am not Jim O'Brien, I'm Regis Philbin.
Jim O'Brien Regis Philbin: That's better. Hello, everybody and welcome to tonight's show. We've got some great acts lined up for you today and as ever, your judges are David Hasselhoff, Brandi and Piers Morgan.
The judges smile, cheesily, seductively and smugly, as appropriate.
Jim O'Brien Regis Philbin: Right, let's start things off with our opening act. Contestant number one is a young kid from Houston, Texas. Ladies and Gentlemen, Gerald Green!
Green nervously shuffles out on stage but then once the music kicks in, performs a spectacular high-flying, death defying routine and finishes with an extravagant flourish.
Jim O'Brien Regis Philbin: Well, there you go, Ladies and Gentlemen! Gerald Green! Let's see what the judges think. Gerald, go over and stand by the judges.
Gerald walks off in the wrong direction and heads back stage.
David Hasselhoff: Hey, Gerald! Over here, buddy. There you go. Alright.
Brandi: Well, I was entertained! You definitely have a lot of talent. It's a yes from me! *presses the "check" button*
Piers Morgan: Yeah, you have some talent. So what? Where's the creativity? And you've really got to work on that image. Your headband looks like it's going to ping off the top of your head at any moment. Sorry, but it's a no from me. *presses the "X" button*
The crowd boos. Philbin looks oddly comfortable at this moment.
David Hasselhoff: Ummm, kid, I think you need to work at your awareness and positioning, but I'm going to give you another chance. You're through to the next round! *presses the "check" button*
Gerald's headband pings off the top of his head.
Jim O'Brien Regis Philbin: Our next contestant is from California. Paul Pierce!
Pierce's routine seems to consist of him showcasing his acting skills, by reacting to a series of people smashing him in the face with a hammer, a plank of wood, a frying pan and so on.
Piers Morgan: Well, that was just … weird. I wasn't convinced at all. You need to sell the pain a lot more. What was with the fake blood and spitting out those pretend teeth. Just awful. *presses the "X" button*
Paul Pierce: Wait a moment, this was real! I wasn't showcasing my acting skills, I was showing off my pain tolerance levels. They were my real teeth.
Piers Morgan: I'm sorry, I'm British, so I evidently don’t know much about dental hygiene. I'm afraid I just don't buy it. You need to look at some of the better actors of your generation for some tips. Wade, James, Bryant. You're not even close to their level yet.
Brandi: I have to agree. I'm sorry! The whole thing just came off as flat. *presses "X" button*
David Hasselhoff: So, Paul, I guess this isn't the first time you've had a bouffante-haired German before you? Remember the 1998 draft?
Paul Pierce: Shut up. Are you even German?
David Hasselhoff: I'm going to have to agree with Brandi here. Not only was the performance flat, but the audience was flat too. *presses the "X" button*
Jim O'Brien Regis Philbin: Oh, that's too bad. Hard luck, Paul. Our next contestant is Brian Scalabrine!
Scal just stands in front of the judges.
Brandi: What's your act?
Scal: This is pretty much all I do.
Brandi: So, your talent is to do … nothing?
Scal: Pretty much. At least I am better than an ambulance. Feedback?
Piers Morgan: Well, I don't think there's much chance of you being described as flat. *presses the "check" button*
Brandi: Seriously? You're putting him through?
Piers Morgan: Yeah, I think he brings a lot of things to the table.
Scal: You're not wrong there.
Brandi: Well you get a … *presses the "X" button* … from me.
David Hasselhoff: You know what. There's just something about you. You have a presence that almost fills the whole stage. You're through to the next round! *presses the "check" button*
Scal: I wish I was still in Jersey. They'd have probably hung a banner for this. *sigh*
Jim O'Brien Regis Philbin: Coming up after the break, these three more sensational acts: This guy will walk through fire! This guy will show off his pinpoint accuracy by throwing a ball and hitting the orange ring with it every single time! And you're not gonna believe what this guy can do with his eye! But first, let's remind ourselves some of our most successful contestants from the past.
(Cue dream sequence-style flashback):
They run a clip of Mark Blount's hilarious juggling act (although he insisted it was just an attempt to grab a rebound), followed by Piers Morgan's scathing criticism of Antoine Walker ("you don't have nearly as much range as you think you do"), then an over-excited Vin Baker having to be restrained as he tried to climb over the judge's desk to grab what he thought was a five foot brandy and finally Antoine walking off with the title after displaying his competitive eating abilities, although he protests that he was just comfort eating a bucket of chicken backstage following Morgan's earlier comments.
We'll be right back after these commercial messages......
Well, I don’t think anyone can be in any doubt that I have irrefutably proven the amelioration in the Celtics talent levels over the tenure of Danny Ainge's reign as [whatever his job title is these days]. Who needs stats?