The Portland Trail Blazers come to town tonight, and you know what that means! Greg Oden's first game in Boston. And of course you know what that means. Nostalgia and reminiscing about that emotional roller coaster of an offseason in 2007. And you know what that means! Gratuitous linkage and quoting of myself. (This feels a little like when Dwight got faxes from himself from the future, only in reverse)
Here's what I said the morning after the lottery in an article titled "The Big Stomach Punch"
Waking up this morning, I don't feel any better. I feel a little sick in my stomach. I'm sure Celtics fans all across the world feel the same.
The funny thing is that yesterday I was so very excited. It was like I was 10 again and it was Christmas morning. I was giddy. It hadn't even occurred to me that this could really go this wrong. I mean, logically, sure, I knew we could miss out on 1 or 2. But that's not what my heart said. My heart believed. I was completely sold. We weren't just going to get a top 2 pick, we were going to get Oden at number 1. It was going to happen.
The first hint was the Bucks at 6. "That doesn't seem right." My head said. "Shut up, you're overthinking this" my heart said. Then he pulled out the Celtics logo and my heart stopped. Dumbstruck I couldn't even react. Out of nowhere, my dreams were shot, Christmas was canceled, and my team was doomed to another 10 years of failure.
I thought about it a lot last night and this morning and I've had time to ponder the implications. You'd think that after that I would have a better perspective. Sorry. I don't. I'm still depressed.
Who could have predicted that the Big Stomach Punch could have been the turning point that put us where we are today? Even the most insanely optimistic fan couldn't have said, "yup, I knew even then that we'd be NBA champs the next year." But that's just what happened. And we owe it all to that event.
If we won that draft, chances are pretty good that we'd pick Oden (though some believe Danny would have picked Durant). Either way, I'm not sure Paul Pierce would have accepted another several years of rebuilding. In fact, it wouldn't have made sense for Ainge to hold onto him.
Sure, we'd still have some of the guys that we grew to love, like Delonte, Big Al, and Ryan Gomes. Adding Oden or Durant to that group would have been exciting to watch. Maybe if we got lucky we would have seen some of the same success that the Blazers are enjoying with their young ballclub. But the chances are just as good that we would have seen the same kind of young team growing pains that the TWolves and Sonics/Thunder have had the last few years.
So thank you lottery balls. Thank you for dashing my dreams and destroying my hopes. Without hitting rock bottom, we would never have reached the top.