You guys know that I'm an open book by now. So I have no problem making the following confession. I think I'm going to have to give up dreams of a top lottery pick.
You see, I've been rooting for the team to win every night, I really have. On the other hand, I've found a lot of satisfaction in the losses as well. Partly (selfishly) because each one proves I was right not to overestimate the team and partly because each one gets us a step closer to the lottery. But a funny thing happened along the way to Secaucus. We're even better (so far) than I had anticipated. Plus the East is much, much worse than I expected. I keep waiting for the Nets or Knicks to turn things around but so far no dice.
Add these things together with a returning Rajon Rondo (sooner or later) and I think the odds actually favor us making the playoffs. Perhaps as the 4 seed. Note that as the 4 seed we would not have to play Miami or Indy in the first round. It would be the 5th seed. We could conceivably win a playoff series (or two???) this year. That would be really good for the development of our players.
That's not an empty trip tot he playoffs to get swept by the Heat. That's real playoff experience that they could learn and grow from. Not just the players, but Stevens as well. Remember that he's used to the one game per team tourney style and he'll have to get used to the game to game adjustments by coaches in the playoffs.
Of course all of this would be at the expense of a high lottery pick. We could be watching a legit shot at a game changing player slip through our fingers with each passing day. We'd still have our pick and the lesser of the Nets/Hawks picks and that's nothing to sneeze at. But a couple of solid players aren't equal to a future star.
Obviously none of this is news to anyone here. In fact this is what has gone through our heads each and every day for the last couple of months. But I think I'm finally starting to believe that this is a playoff team. Perhaps it is simply time for me to forget the lottery and let that dream die so I can focus on rooting for my team to win without internal conflict.
Obviously a lot can change between now and the Spring. We've got the trade deadline and just under 3/4 of a season left. If we do somehow end up with a top 5 pick, I'll be giddy despite the losses that bring that about. But with the Sixers and Raptors tanking and the Knicks and Nets unable to get out of their own way, we might be looking at the 4 seed come April. And that's not such a bad thing.
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