Allow me to channel my inner Seinfeld here for a moment. Just how does one become overrated or underrated? Is there an application process? And who decides exactly what is rated? If you are underrated long enough and everyone agrees that you are underrated, don't you eventually become rated? Or possibly even overrated? Is being overrated actually kind of an underrated thing? Isn't being underrated kind of overrated? I'd rather be overrated personally. But then again, I love attention, so that's just me.
Anyway, I thought I'd bring up a few topics and arbitrarily deem them overrated or underrated based on my best guesstimates and swags. Hope you enjoy. If you do, there will be more of these this summer. If not, well, we'll just all agree that it never happened.
The ink wasn't even dry on Doc's new coaching contract before I was sick of this term. In fact, talking about how sick I am about it is also old. It is so old and overrated that I think there's a legitimate push back against it with fans and media folk. So of course at some point this season (or even the offseason) I can totally picture myself flipping the script and going into full tank mode just to try it out and be ironically different. Kind of like an NBA nerd hipster.
Underrated: Former Nets
As fans, it is a given that we overrate our own players. So when we trade legends for guys that that were under-performing at their last stop and their former team and fanbase were all too eager to see them go, it is only natural to set expectations low. Consider that accomplished. In fact, expectations are so low, that you would think that Gerald Wallace is the second coming of Theo Ratliff and Kris Humphries is radioactive. Wallace can't really shoot and isn't worth his contract but he's a hustle guy that I think C's fans will actually enjoy watching. Humphries is no longer a reality star and can rebound which puts him a leg up on most of last year's team. Oh yeah, and Bogans will be a nice veteran leader for the locker room. So he's got that going for him... which is nice.
Overrated: Draft picks
Don't get me wrong, it is absolutely the right thing to gather first round draft picks in a rebuilding process. It is wrong, however, to assume that the Celtics will be able to sit back and use all these picks and come up with the next generation Thunder. None of the picks are likely to be lottery quality and there's some question about our own pick being all that high. I see many if not most of the picks in question as trade chips to cash in at the deadline or after the season. We might be able to trade up in next year's draft, but I think the pricetag will be high to do so.
Underrated: Fab Melo
I'm completely guilty of this myself. I dismiss him from most of my discussions about the future of the team. For the moment, I just can't justify adding him to any non-garbage time rotation (down season or not). With that said, he's still got raw talent on defense and he didn't exactly shrink over the last year. Records show that he's still seven feet tall. Defensive seven footers have thrived in this league in the right environment. The coaching staff has to be patient and deliberate with him, but the wait could pay dividends down the road. (Unless he's a complete knucklehead, in which case I'll adjust his rating to rated)
Overrated: Rajon Rondo's attitude
Maybe I'm wrong, I'm not in the locker room, I'm not an "insider." But I don't get what the big deal is with Rondo's personality. He's quietly cocky. He's smarter than the average bear and he knows it. He doesn't try to be fake with people and that can come across as rude. But you pretty much know what you are getting with him at this point, so shame on you if you (as a teammate or coach or organization) don't treat him according to his personality. Part of coaching is knowing what works for each personality type, so Brad Stevens will have to make sure he uses different tactics with Rondo than he does with say Jeff Green or Avery Bradley. Rondo is definitely a different kind of cat, but that is what makes him so special on the basketball court. Obviously he has to own some of this and continue to mature and work on his reputation a bit. I just feel like the constant insinuations that he's got an "attitude problem" don't do anyone any good and only serve to alienate him.
Underrated: At least one player on the Celtics "Core Four"
Rondo is probably a little underrated at this point but I think most know that in the right state of mind and health, he's an All Star, period. But people could be very pleasantly surprised by Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, and Kelly Olynyk as well. In fact, any one of them could see their first All Star game this coming year. I really think that one or more of them could become one of the stars of the league for years to come. They have that kind of potential.
Overrated: At least one player on the Celtics "Core Four"
Of course the flipside is also true. Odds are pretty stacked against all those guys being home runs, despite the early positive results we've seen so far. Someone on that list could very well get chronically hurt and end up becoming a bust. Part of the reason Olynyk and Sullinger were there when we were picking had to do with their lack of athleticism. What if they never figure out how to overcome that (against legit NBA competition)? Or to make this less dramatic, there's a very good chance that one or more of these guys levels off at "borderline starter on a good team." That wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but it would be a disappointment for a lot of fans (like me) that believe in these guys.
So there you have it. Hopefully I didn't overrate this idea in my mind and underrate your boredom too much. I hope I didn't accomplish too much in this article. I mean, how boring would this blog be if everything were simply "rated" and we all agreed upon the relative value of everyone and everything about the Celtics? In fact, stick with us on CelticsBlog and you might just find the summer months to be (dare I say it?) underrated.