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Afraid To Fly

There has been a very weird vibe amongst Celtics fans all year and it is growing with each game.  It is almost as if many Celtics fans simply want this team to fail.  Many were almost disappointed with last night’s victory (or at least very unimpressed).  Not because they are gluttons for punishment, but because they see no current hope for the team as currently constructed and see the only glimmer of hope being a shot at the newest Chosen One Greg Oden.

I’m not going to use this space to rehash the “is Iverson good for this team” argument.  I will point out, however, that several fans are against the idea simply because he might prevent us from staying in the lottery.  Honestly, if you hold to the fact that the Celtics could not win a title with him, then it is sound reasoning.  On the other hand, it is hard to know what additional moves Danny could make after the trade to help continue to build a winner.

If the team makes no more moves this year, it would seem that they would struggle to put together more than the 33 wins they got last year.  The thing is, the rest of the Atlantic and several teams league wide are also struggling on a massive scale.  It seems, early on, that 33 wins might not even secure as high as the 7th pick this year.  In fact, by the end of the year, David Stern is going to have his hands full monitoring the teams that will be blatantly tanking down the stretch to improve their ping pong ball collection.

Which brings us to our other losing option.  This team isn’t going to be the worst in the league as long as Paul Pierce is healthy and on the team.  Every few games or so, he’s going to simply go off and carry the team to victory.  He just can’t do it every night.  So is the answer to trade him away for a high draft pick?  Would sending him to the Bulls for players and the Knicks pick be the way to stack the deck for Oden or Durant?  Or would the Ghost of Duncan Draft Past haunt us with having to settle for Aaron Gray and Al Hortford?  Personally, I hold to the bird-in-the-hand theory that prefers having a franchise player around rather than rolling the dice on maybe getting a guy that might be a franchise player someday.  Just too many “maybe’s” and “might’s” in that statement for my taste.

And who is to say that we don’t have the talent assembled to turn things around?  If Jefferson continues to improve, there is your low post scoring threat.  If Gerald keeps progressing, there is your second scoring option next to Paul.  If Perkins gets healthy, he’s your low post rock.  If the points can keep learning, they can run the show.  If they aren’t dealt, West, Gomes, Powe, and company can be the solid role players (or more).  Of course to be fair I have to point out that there are a lot of “if’s” in those statements.

Still, many fans don’t seem to have a lot of faith in this team.  Fans don’t want to be one-and-done in the playoffs and miss out on a chance at Oden.  In some ways I can’t blame them.  On the other hand, I personally can’t bring myself to root against this team as long as I see some potential for hope.  I’d rather see a winning environment established than to accept losing.  I came into the season hoping that the young players would grow and the whole team would mesh nicely as a unit.  There is still time for that to happen.  It is a long season.  On the other hand, there are other trades that could happen and plenty of chances for this team to fail.  What a strange year.