Clearly I’m an optimist by default. Every year “could be the year!” Every draft could result in the next Celtics star. Every offseason could finally bring those “fireworks” we’ve been waiting for.
Perhaps I’ve laid it on too thickly. In an effort to provide balance to the force, allow me to tap into my inner panic button for a moment.
Perhaps the Celtics can’t figure out the Bulls and end up being the worst 1 seed ever.
The Celtics entered the offseason as the number 1 seed with the highest percentage chance of winning the lottery. In a few weeks time, we could have been swept out of the first round and fallen to the 4th pick in the draft. That’s still on the board.
But wait, it gets worse.
What if Danny Ainge decides that enough is enough and pushes his cards to the center of the table and settles for the best deals he can find? We need scoring! The 4th pick and Al Horford are traded in a 3 way deal for Carmelo Anthony and Jahlil Okafor. We need rebounding! The 2018 Nets pick, Jae Crowder, and Avery Bradley go to Detroit for Andre Drummond. Cap space is gone so Gordon Hayward contentedly accepts a max extension from the Jazz. Paul George goes to the Lakers for shockingly little and Jimmy Butler goes to the Sixers who start building a long term contender in our division.
I spend all summer talking myself into a nucleus of Thomas, Smart, Anthony, Okafor, and Drummond only to find that Melo is a shell of himself, Drummond regresses further, Smart shoots more and for a lower percentage, Okafor really is empty stats, and it turns out that we miss Amir Johnson’s defense more than we thought. We end up finally getting more rebounds but fall back to the 7-8 seed range, firmly entrenched on the treadmill of mediocrity.
(For the sake of karma and my sanity, I’m leaving injuries out of this whole equation, but those can happen to any team at any time.)
Meanwhile, the 4th pick ends up being the best player in the draft and the Pistons win the lottery in 2018. Brad Stevens leaves to coach Duke, Danny Ainge retires, and Wyc sells the team to a Russian billionaire who promises to fix everything, ...right after he’s done with his extreme parasailing lessons off the coast of Madagascar. Rick Pitino is named President of Basketball operations.
Make it stop! Make it stop!
Ok, now that we’ve laid that as the backdrop, maybe reality will actually be a pleasant surprise. See kids, the key to a happy life is setting expectations as low a possible!