The Rumor Vortex
The last week or so has been filled with the predictable trade rumors involving Pierce, Garnett, Bass and even Jeff Green. The world of speculation and trade-machine gossip is at maximum volume and each NBA fan either: a) takes part in the universe of make believe GM and offers heavy criticism of their team’s GM for not making the make believe move they “know” will save their team or improve their team’s future or; b) reads the reports that indicate the future of the team is at stake and any moment could signal the last time that two of the team’s cornerstones put on the Celtics uniform; c) lusts after the younger, high-upside players that might arrive in return; or d) attempts to ignore all of it in the belief that the team as currently constituted has a legitimate shot to win again this year.
I lean about 60% toward option d (try to ignore), and about 30% toward option b (read the occasional report), while 10% goes toward option c, because DeAndre Jordan is a true defensive center who would be ideal to build around.
What gets lost in all of this is an appreciation for what the team currently has. And what we have is a re-energized collection of players who seem to be hungry to make one more playoff push. The threat of pushing the “detonate” button on what we have outweighs any dreams of 2015 success. Let’s remind ourselves that we have a very solid young nucleus when healthy. Regardless of how Rondo’s game might frustrate some, there is no reason the team can’t learn to play with this same cohesion when he comes back next year. It’s easier to learn from your mistakes and change your frame of mind when you watch your teammates have success without you. I have little doubt Rondo will adapt in ways that allow Jeff Green to continue to thrive the way he has been over the last 10 games. Rondo, Bradley, Green, and Sullinger are a great young quartet. Adding a perimeter shooting big-man would be ideal. That group with DeAndre Jordan at the 5 would be great defensively, but would have serious issues from the outside. Fab Melo might be useful in 2016, but if you’ve been paying attention, Chris Wilcox is rounding into shape and appears to be useful right now. Ainge’s confidence in this group is founded on the fact that this team has shown serious resolve over the last month, and they deserve the opportunity to stay intact and let the dust settle in June. Speaking of dust:
Tuesday’s loss to Denver: The Dusty Truth
Paul Pierce’s 2 of 14 shooting from the field cost the Celtics a great road win on Tuesday. It’s likely the rumors have taken their toll on Pierce. It’s also likely the the All-Star break allowed Pierce’s body to tell him how much it needed a rest. Unfortunately, Pierce has to ignite his engine quickly and get back into the groove he found just before the break. Garnett had a solid first three quarters, but ran out of gas in the fourth. With the game on the line, KG shot 1 of 4, missed both of his free-throws, turned it over once and goal-tended a three-pointer.
The Nuggets are an astounding 23-3 at home (only the Spurs have fewer home losses), and have two of the most exciting young players in the Association, lightning-quick point guard Ty Lawson and Faried!@!
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Thanks for reading,
5-game road trip predictions:
4-1 (5 votes)
3-2 (12 votes)
2-3 (17 votes)
1-4 (10 votes)
44 total votes