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“Basically the worst parts of the Bible”: mailbag answers to your pandemic questions

You had some deep thoughts and questions for me. I am still recovering from them.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

You gave me questions (thank you!). Here are my answers.


What are your thoughts on how the pandemic will effect our team’s professional growth?

More specifically, the young players who have been destined to alter the course of the franchise like Tatum and Brown and perhaps some of the bench. What about a player like Tacko Fall, who is already 24?

Tatum has made The Leap. Brown has made a leap. Nothing can take that away from them. That said, losing the end of this season equates to losing a season of their greatness with the supporting cast that is currently around them. Future years might bring about more growth and different supporting casts, but they’ll never have this season back.

Tacko is a project no matter how old he is, so he just needs more time and practice. Like everyone he’s suffering from not playing right now but I’m not overly worried about him either.

What I am more focused on is the older players. On one hand, Kemba only has so many seasons left in his prime so any more lost seasons (and he lost a lot of seasons in Charlotte) is not a good thing. On the other hand, anyone that was dealing with injuries is getting an extended (albeit forced) break.

Charlotte Hornets v Boston Celtics Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

Motor City Kid

Does this crazy situation create more or less player movement when that time comes?

I think the movement will have more to do with available free agents (not a great class this summer) and not as much to do with the season being cut short (if that is what happens). I suppose there could be some “unfinished business” feelings for teams that weren’t able to prove themselves in the playoffs. The Sixers immediately come to mind. That’s a team that (like last year’s Celtics) was counting on a deep playoff run to wash away the bad taste of a rough season. So will management bank on another year of that nucleus trying to get their act together or will they break up the band and try a different plan?


Until we have mass-produced testing available for everyone in the country to use

Isn’t bringing any league back and continually testing all the players who are in the prime of their athletic lives a waste of valuable resources? There are many places in this country where people are being turned away from testing who have COVID symptoms, and if your symptoms aren’t obvious then they’ll definitely just tell you to stay home and self isolate

I tend to agree here. As much as I see the value to bringing sports back to the world as a needed entertainment distraction, I don’t want to do so at the detriment to people in need. Unless they have worked out the supply chains, I don’t want to tie up valuable and potentially life-saving resources with a non-essential thing like sports.


What comes next?

Finishing off this season in a highly abnormal way may be possible (isolating teams and having daily tests, etc.), but what are the prospects of starting next season? A few season-ending games and a slightly abbreviated playoff might work for getting the NBA a cash infusion this summer, but you can’t play a whole season that way. When can they even make the call on next season?

As far as we know, everything is still on the table and I’m sure they’ve worked out several different strategies and contingencies. At some point (perhaps soon) I think they do have to make a call on this season in order to maintain some sense of normalcy for next season. Even if they start the next season later, there are all kinds of complications that would arise.

Technically I think the league could still try to squeeze in an abbreviated playoffs but to do so they’d need to allow for a couple weeks of practice, reduce the teams invited (maybe with play-in games?), figure out the logistics of where to play the games (Disney?), and so forth. Of course all of this would require some kind of return to normalcy in the world at large which still seems a ways off (I’m no scientist, just a feeling).

I’m usually an optimist, but I don’t think we’re getting basketball this year so let’s focus on preserving some level of normalcy for next year.

Brooklyn Nets Vs. Boston Celtics At TD Garden Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images


Celtic Politicians

Which Celtic’s on court skills would translate the best into the political arena? Whose game would make him a great president?

Fun question, thanks. Let’s see, I think Kemba would be a great candidate. He’s got a great, ever-present smile, he’s a leader, and he’s continuously voted the best teammate. If anyone can unite the country it would be him.

Jaylen Brown is a great candidate to be the vice president. He’s so bright and willing to learn and do what it takes to win without all the limelight.

Tatum, Hayward, and even Brad Stevens are too boring to get the voting basse energized (sorry guys) and Marcus Smart is too radical (in a fun/good way) to get the popular vote.


Hey Jeff – how do you think this season would have been different

If we had drafted Brandon Clarke at 20 instead of dropping back two slots to draft Williams and pick up Edwards?

I like the intangibles Grant offers, but it’s hard to argue his impact has been anywhere close to Clarke’s. Meanwhile, Carson has yet to provide anything. I know we are playing the long game, but with two of our best players near or past of 30, I think an instant contributor like Clarke would have made our bench scoring woes much less pronounced – and put us in better position to contribute for a title. (Or even opened the possibility of trading Hayward for, say, Andre Drummond.)

Hard for me to argue with Danny Ainge’s drafting track record - in particular since I don’t pay much attention to the college game. However, I was a fan of Clarke base on the scouting reports (and his name!) and I would have probably preferred him to trading back. Especially if we could have also drafted Williams.

I like Carsen Edwards in theory, but I am officially worried that he’ll ever be able to find success at this level given his size. I certainly wouldn’t have traded Hayward for Drummond - just not a big fan of his fit on the Celtics. But if Clarke had some in with a good amount of success, he could have been a good bench option as well as a good future piece.

NBA: Boston Celtics-Media Day Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports


What happens if the NBA does not finish the 2020 season and also the 2021 season?

listening to Medical doctors and scientists they all keep saying that there will be no large gatherings until there is a vaccine. IF that is true and the other fact we know that a viable vaccine takes upwards of 8-16 months, what will the NBA do if they cannot play the entire 2021 season?

I mean with the draft, the contracts, teams rights… has anyone made any statements about the what happens if there is a second wave that hits harder than the 1st next year?

Ugh. I have to admit that I haven’t even thought of this possibility until you brought it up. Yeah, I guess a worst case is losing another entire season. At least I hope that’s the worst case. Anything more than that and the next games we see are the Hunger Games.

Losing a whole other season would likely require the players union and owners to collectively bargain a plan ahead. Do they just start the next season a full year later? Or do they cancel the season (meaning contracts run out)? Ugh, what a nightmare. I have to stop thinking about this now.


Something’s gotta give

We need some kind of positive development on the medical front. I don’t think it has to be a vaccine. Any set of treatments that could reliably keep the vast majority of symptomatic cases from getting to the stage where they need to be put on a ventilator would be a big help. Once the disease gets that serious, it seems like the chances of dying or suffering permanent lung damage go way up. And having a way to shut down the “cytokine storm” reaction when that happens would also be huge. The reason for the drastic restrictions now is that the medical system is completely unprepared for this and has few options for treating the sick.

Until we have something effective to deal with this, a second wave seems very likely once the restrictions are relaxed. The worst case would be if the virus mutates and starts causing fatalities in young people. If you follow who is dying of this now, it’s mostly members of the “Silent Generation” (born from a couple of years before the Depression up through 1945) and the very old left from the “Greatest Generation”. Very, very few people under 50 without existing serious illnesses are dying. If that changes, we are in for something close to a societal collapse. So we are critically dependent on the medical profession coming up with some way to mitigate the worst effects of this virus, even if they can’t totally prevent its spread.

I feel like this is the scene in Armageddon when Billy Bob Thornton describes the situation as “basically the worst parts of the Bible.”


Did the Celtics win banner 18 this season?

Yep. Let’s just go with that.

Matt O’Connor

Great mailbag questions all around!

I’d love to hear both CB staff thoughts and fan opinions/debate on every question posted here so far. I don’t think any of us can give definitive answers on almost any of them, but great topics for discussion, nonetheless. Especially patientceltics’ question about which current Cs would make good politicians. I’m honestly surprised at how few NBAers go into politics. Only ones I can think of, really, are Bill Bradley, Chris Dudley, Dave Bing, Kevin Johnson and Tom McMillan. Kind of surprising considering the “platform” these guys establish while playing, and the loyalty of fans. Larry Bird could probably run for senate tomorrow in either Mass or Indiana and win.

I mean, he has my vote. It would be fun to hear him trash talk the other candidates in that sly Indiana drawl.

As an aside, for some reason Larry Bird has been on my mind a lot lately. I guess because we don’t have current basketball so we’re reverting back to memories and classic games.

I have also been doing a lot of shooting hoops by myself on our home basketball rim in the driveway. I know I grew up patterning my shot off of Larry’s. Not that it looked exactly like Larry’s or had any fraction of the success of his. It was just what I pictured in my head as the “right” form.

Lately, however, I’ve started transitioning to picturing Jayson Tatum’s form. I guess because he’s long armed like I am and there’s more of a slingshot feel to it the feels right when I shoot. Hey, maybe if I work on it enough I can add a sidestep shot to my game. You know, for all those scouts out there looking for a 44 year old wing that doesn’t play defense and dribbles off his foot far too often for someone that’s played the game this long.

Thanks for the questions everyone. Sorry I couldn’t provide happier thoughts. Stay safe and love each other.

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