One of the best parts about the Celtics making a run to the postseason last season has been the raised expectations for this season. Sure, that puts more pressure on the team to perform and it may end up becoming more of a curse if the team takes a turn for the worse. But selfishly I'm thrilled with it because it means the end of "tanking" talk. Well, almost the end.
Our friend and widely respected reporter Steve Bulpett needed to get one last reminder in before the season starts that last year may not have gone exactly according to plan for Danny Ainge.
It remains our belief that if you pumped Danny Ainge full of sodium pentothal, he’d admit he would have preferred a shot in the lottery to the inevitable first-round fly-swat by Cleveland last season. Clearly he was wishing last June that his first pick was high enough to get Justise Winslow on his own, instead of offering Charlotte multiple picks and at least two of his own children (Austin dodged a bullet on that one) for the right to move up. But now it is time to more purposefully turn a corner.
Yes, getting Winslow without having to give up 30 draft picks to do so might have been preferable from an asset perspective. Maybe that was Danny's intent all along. But I don't think, even under the effects of whatever truth drugs you gave him, Ainge would say that he was displeased with the way the season turned out. Progress is a good thing and playoff experience, however brief it was, is still valuable.
I'm captain of the good ship "get a superstar" but this team has enough youth for the moment and now we've got picks coming to us that are tied to other teams' win-loss records. So I think we can go back to doing what comes naturally: Rooting for our team to win and for other teams to lose. So no more tanking talk now, right? Steve?
The caveat here is that the Celts could still wind up making a high lottery run if one or more trades become available that would weaken them in the short term for greater gain down the line.
Note: This last bit was just in jest. If you click and read the article linked above (and you should be doing so with Steve's stuff regularly) then you would see that the overall tone of the article was very pro-winning and the word "tanking" was never mentioned.