...the Boston Celtics select, STUPIDITY!
I swear this is the most inept front office of any Boston sports franchise in any generation. Yup, worse than Dan Duquette in the 90's for the Red Sox. Imagine, even worse than the current Boston Bruins management (which is still, by default of owner Jeremy Jacobs, still rooted in previous ineptitude).
How much worse? They screwed up what should have been an easy pick at the #5 slot (Corey Brewer). One of their greatest needs- 2-guard with crazy defensive skills and an improving offensive game- solidified under half an hour into the draft. Done. Close the book. Good night, we'll see you next season with this playoff team after we do some housecleaning of a few veteran contracts.
But did Ainge & Co. do that? Um, no. Instead they traded away the #5 pick for essentially someone else's (and yet another) heavy veteran contract. Now, granted the "silverish" lining is the fact they did unload 1 ugly contract (Szczerbiak's), but in the process basically got double the contract back.
Who is this mystery man for whom the Celtics so masterfully traded? Wait for it. You'll never belive this blockbuster, Wait. For. It...
Ray Allen (*sigh*).
Yes, THAT Ray Allen. The guy who was dropped off at the bus stop by the Milwaukee Bucks several years ago, picked up by the Sonics (who, as payment in return, drop off their underachieving/declining star, Gary Payton, at the same bus stop). Did I mention Allen turns 32 this year? And he's logged more frequent flyer miles than Southwest.
The guy that is virtually 1:2 ratio in steals to turnovers, and not even 2:1 ratio in assists to turnovers. The guy that is a "poor man's Paul Pierce". By that I mean a "shoot first" small forward/shooting guard who has (if it's even possible) a lower defensive awareness than Paul Pierce himself. And look at their career stats (eerily similar):
Meanwhile Brewer, a guy that should quite easily fit into the Celtics lineup and fill the defensive liability that is Pierce was left as scraps for the #7 pick by the T-Wolves. A guy that would have been an above average-to-All-Star quality 2-man for the next 10 years was passed by for a max contract 32 year-old veteran whose contract has 3 more years. But gee, at least they dumped Wally's contract, right? Duh, the Sonics knew they shaved half the salary and 1 year off Allen's contract by doing it.
But, unlike the Celts, the Sonics filled their outstanding needs via the draft by getting Durant to take up the scoring slack of Allen and trading for the aforementioned Celt's #5 pick- Jeff Green to be Durant's wingman. Add to that they saved some cash and can now resign Rashard Lewis. This team is much better managed under 1st year (and 30 year old) GM, Sam Presti. This was an "Epstein-esque" move- on par for Presti with the Boston trade that made Theo famous- Nomar Garciaparra for Orlando Cabrera and Dave Roberts. You get the scary feeling these moves serve the same purpose and get the Sonics towards the promised land (an NBA championship) A LOT faster than it will ever help the Celtics- kind of like the Red Sox and Chicago Cubs after the Nomar trade. The Sox took the key role players and won themselves the 2004 World Series and the Cubs held their collective breath for the next Nomar DL stint.
Here, the Sonics got themselves chemistry guys and got younger too- a 1/2 punch even the '04 Sox didn't get. Look what happened after the 2004 MLB season. The Sox should have/could have signed Cabrera to a long term deal. The Sox should have/could have kept Roberts for at least 1 more year.
Instead they let Cabrera get his asking price in Anaheim, where he's on pace to average .291, 8HR, 73 RBI, 85 R, and 22 SB in his 3 seasons since landing in L.A. Instead they have signed Edgar Renteria to a ridiculous $10 mil per year and let him go 1 year in, replaced him with Alex Gonzalez who couldn't hit his weight despite a smooth glove, and now another year later put in Julio Lugo who has redefined the worst attributes of both his predecessors- he can't field OR hit for the Sox.
And Dave Roberts has been a good outfielder in San Diego, but he would have been the perfect 4th OF in Fenway instead of Wily Mo Pena. His legs would be kept fresh instead of trying to play everyday, and he would have made J.D. Drew's woes earlier this year bearable by standing in and being relied on to get on base for a hot bottom of the order/top of the order with some lineup of Youkalis, Lowell, Varitek, and Pedroia (I intentionally have left off Lugo) to get to Big Papi and Manny.
The Sonics pulled that off. They got chemistry guys (like Cabrera and Roberts) in Durant, Green, West, and even Wally. They got younger too in the 1st three guys and Wally will be gone soon enough that he's not a liability financially- which leads to the resigning of Lewis. So the Sonics have a nucleus of Lewis, Durant, Wilcox, with Green off the bench for any of them and Ridnour/West supplying PG duties and a healthy Szczerbiak at the 2-guard until they sign a top free agent next year. I'd say that makes them Conference Finalists in 2 years, champs in 4.
As for the Celtics? Well, I best get my "Big Baby" jersey while he's still around and hope for a playoff berth by, say, 2014- the 10 year anniversary of the '04 Sox no less. Maybe by then, Ainge will have been fired and the mistakes can be undone.