I want the Boston Celtics to win Banner 18...don't we all? But you and I both know that it's unrealistic to expect this roster to win a championship this year. There just isn't enough talent and Danny Ainge has already called it a rebuilding year anyway. There is a possibility that the C's end up a top-five pick; yet there are enough quality players to potentially make a run at the playoffs.
What an unusual season it'll be for our Boston Celtics. With that said, what are you realistically rooting for this season? Would you rather the Celtics drop a lot of games for a great draft pick, or still make a run at the playoffs? I asked our CelticsBlog writers for what they want to happen.
My first choice is a championship. On the off chance that the team doesn't turn out to be a title contender, I'd like hard fought, competitive losses please. I'll always root for them to win, but when they don't I won't be nearly as bothered with it so long as they compete night in, night out. This year is all about development and growth. That's hard to do in a losing environment but not impossible. Having competitors like Rondo and Gerald Wallace will help keep people sharp. And if there are some that don't give full effort, well they'll be that much easier to say goodbye to in the near future.
I wrote about this exact topic last week in, "A conversation with myself." To summarize, I struggled between rooting for the C's to create a winning culture by making the playoffs, or dropping a hell of a lot of games this year in order to get a top draft pick. Ultimately, I decided on the latter; it's for the best that the Celtics have an abysmal year. A championship is the best-case scenario, but a top-five pick in the absolutely stacked 2014 NBA Draft is the second best. There are a multitude of players that I would be happy with, and I want at least one of them heading into the future. I think losing equals winning for the 2013 Boston Celtics.
I want them to be fun to watch and play hard every night. I don't care if they lose games as long as they are playing hard and trying. I don't think this team is so bad that they will get a high lottery pick. Tanking has never worked for this team and I wouldn't expect it to work this season. If they play hard and make the playoffs, I'd be fine with that because they will get some good experience for the young players.
Being a long-time Celtics fan, I obviously always want to see my team succeed. Unfortunately, that's just not ideal right now. In order for the Celtics to get through this rebuilding period as quickly as possible they're going to need a good pick or two in the star studded 2014 NBA draft. The only way to do that, though, is by avoiding the postseason by any means necessary. Sure, it'd be a nice little surprise if this team could sneak into the playoffs as the eighth seed but, at the same time, I'm not interested in watching the Celtics become the Milwaukee Bucks 2.0. Hanging in NBA purgatory will get you nowhere and the Bucks are living proof of that. I'd rather see the Cs struggle than watch them settle for a back end playoff berth. Just remember: Assets, Assets, Assets!
This is what fans will struggle with the most this year. As a fan, you want to see your team win as much as possible but with the route Boston has chosen to go, too many wins will be detrimental to rebuilding the team. Ideally, you want this team to win enough games to where it doesn't create a losing culture with the young players but not enough to make the playoffs as a low seed. The end goal is attaining a high draft pick because of how valuable a commodity premium draft picks are in the league.
I've given up on the Celtics ever getting a lottery pick that they are may be entitled to get based on the standings. With that said, I was very much in like with the youngsters that were shipped out in 2007, especially Big Al, Delonte and Ryan Gomes I'm perfectly happy watching the kids grow this year, and quite frankly couldn't stand the "wait around for the playoffs" attitude last years team had during the regular season. So I don't need the lottery or the playoffs for this team, just progress and effort on the court.
I don't buy lottery tickets and I don't trust ping pong balls. The chances of landing in the top five of next year's draft compounded by the uncertainty that whoever we pick will be a star, a bust, or anything in between are circumstances that teams fall into, not on to re-boot their franchises. I'm a big believer that winning is an attitude, regardless of the outcome of a game or even a season. When Pierce and Garnett were sent to Brooklyn this summer, we traded Pride with a capital "p" for promise and it should be priority #1 for Ainge and Stevens to restore that Celtic tradition right away. Even when Boston struggled last year, there was always that sense that winning was the only option. That sounds like locker room material, but cultivating a winning culture like that--especially with the number of young, talented players on the team right now--is important. It sets the foundation for the rebuild and makes the Celtics an attractive destination for free agents when the team comes into some cap space in the near future. Realistically, this team isn't a contender, but it has every opportunity to finish strong down the stretch. They'll start the season without Rondo on a brutal November stretch that includes half a dozen back-to-backs and a majority of the games on the road, but post All-Star break, I'd love to see the team close out the season at a 25-15 clip. That could put us at .500 and sniffing a playoff berth. Tankers will hate that kind of meandering success, but if the team is playing well at mid-season, that means our trade assets are increasing in value, the young bucks are maturing, and Boston could be active at the deadline. You always want to invite prosperity through the main door and there's no better welcome mat than winning.
Obviously I want to see the team compete and play hard every night, and for the C's to find some semblance of success during Brad Stevens' first year as a head coach. But a #7 or 8 seed in the playoffs won't do much good for the team moving forward. The word "tanking" has an obvious negative connotation and no Celtics fan wants to see the team suffer through a season filled with losses, but a great draft pick in next June's loaded draft is probably the best-case scenario for the franchise's future.
I want the Celtics to try hard and still be awful, because nobody likes living in that frustrating zone of continuous mediocrity. This has always looked like a rebuilding season, and I don't think the Celtics have the assets or ability to build for the future any other way besides losing and earning a lottery pick. I also want the Celtics to be fun. When you're faced with hard times, the best practice is (usually) to embrace the hard times. And if I'm going to embrace the Celtics being awful again, I want them to be really, really bad and really, really fun.
Well, aren't we all hoping for the worst...or is it actually the best? I don't know. What are you rooting for this season? Let us know in the comment section below!