My kids are on a summer swim team, which means they have to pack up their things for the pool every day. Those bags are packed and only half un-packed so regularly that they are currently almost as heavy as the kids carrying them. Every once in a while you have to sit down, hold your nose, and dig through them to clean out some of the clutter (pool toys, extra clothes, snack wrappers, etc.).
That’s what this column is going to be. Cleaning out the swim-bag that is my brain as we head into the deep end of the offseason. None of these thoughts is worth diving into a whole column (at least not yet). Just splashing around in the shallow end with scattered thoughts for now.
Tacko Fall is adorable. He’s a big, sweet guy who’s freakishly tall and really rather nimble for a guy his size. He bends normal concepts of spacing and angles. Just by being on the court he’s a distraction and a wrinkle that both sides need to account for. With all that said, I’m trying not to get too carried away. I’m no expert scout, but it seems to me that there’s an element of gimmick to his game. Like a box-and-one defense or a full court press. At some point good teams will largely figure out how to attack his weaknesses and gameplan him off the floor. I’m rooting for the kid just like I am for any undrafted rookie trying to make an NBA team. I’m just not going to get too carried away demanding that he needs to be on the 15 man roster.
Speaking of which, I’m really trying to talk myself into not obsessing over the 15th roster spot this year. Every year I hang on every scrap of news about the guys who are vying to stay above the cut line. It makes for good content and it is interesting to a point, but when was the last time one of those guys made a significant impact on the team that year? I’m all for keeping a guy around for long term development and “break glass in an emergency” availability. I’m just not going to stress over who gets voted off the island at the end of camp.
Checking my watch, has there been a new Kyrie Irving update in the last couple of minutes? When did he make up his mind? Who did he talk to and when? What did he mean when he said this or that? What other stories are we going to hear? Am I the only one that’s already sick of these dribs and drabs of Gossip Girl drama? Again, I get it. It is content and this blog certainly plays a role in riding the narrative wave. Also, I get it that the team feels that it needs to justify the timing and direction of their summer decisions. But at some point we collectively need to move on. Let’s appreciate the ones that stuck around and give the new guys space to be themselves.
Speaking of which:
Breaking my postseason twitter break to issue the following proclamation: Kemba doesn’t have to be the anti-Kyrie. He just needs to be Kemba. Let the man be who he is. Thank you.— Paul Flannery (@Pflanns) July 18, 2019
Also, there’s no replacing Al Horford, period. This is a different mix of guys. They will have all the opportunities that any team has to blend and grow together. We don’t need to hear about what GREAT CHARACTER guys they are every five minutes. We get it. Nice guys, got it. Here’s hoping they really do get passing grades in chemistry next year. Also, let’s hope that they are pretty good at basketball too.
Really hoping that this is the year of Jayson Tatum. For this team to succeed, they’ll need one or more from the group of Tatum, Jaylen Brown, or Gordon Hayward to take a big step forward. Tatum just seems to have the highest upside out of the three (though I’m not ruling out the other two). And while we’re here, I’m hoping that Marcus Smart’s career shooting season is the new norm and not one of those outlier seasons.
It will be very interesting to see how this next season plays out. If the team is making enough progress by the trade deadline, there are a few movable contracts that the team could package together for additional help. Or perhaps we’ll start to hear whispers about Ainge holding on to his assets for the next star to become available (KAT? Beal?).
Plenty of time to get into all of that later. My advice is to grab a book, find a spot by the pool, and enjoy the summer. The blog will be here for you when you get back.