I know it doesn't change anything to think about what might have been, but sometimes I like to punish myself and think about what could have happened if we kept certain players or if rumored trades went through. The last two games starting me thinking along these lines.
Ever wonder why Gilbert Arenas goes off on the Celtics and plays his best games against us? Back in the 2001 draft, the Celtics made a promise to Arenas. We had 2 first round picks and they told Arenas that they would take him. However, they didn't honor that promise and took Joe Johnson at #10 and Joe Forte with #21. Arenas didn't go until the 31st pick in the second round. Ever since, Arenas has had a grudge against the Celtics. Was his entrance in a prize fighter's robe a message to the Celtics? His 44 points definitely were. How different would this team be with Arenas playing along side Pierce all these years? I guess we will never know what that broken promise could have meant to the Celtics.
We picked Joe Johnson in that draft and midway through his rookie year, we traded him to the Suns for Rodney Rodgers and Tony Delk. This is an example of why you don't trade a young promising player for older veterans who are role players. If we had kept Johnson, would he have developed into the player he is today? Is this an example of a player who needed another system to blossom? He certainly blossomed in Phoenix and right now the Hawks are 2 and 1 with him leading the way. I don't think we really gave him much of a chance to develop and gave up on him too quickly. Would he have made a difference on this team? I have to believe he would.
And then there is Chauncey Billups. Pitino drafted Billups with the 3rd pick of the draft. He started off strong but fell out of favor with Pitino who traded him to Toronto for spare parts. Imagine this team with Billups at the point. But he didn't become the PG he is now right away. After Toronto, he went to Denver and finally to Detroit where he really blossomed. We will never know how things might have worked out if Billups stayed in Boston, but we do have 2 PGs right now who show promise and with just a little patience who knows what will happen.
Speaking of point guards. Last season we traded Marcus Banks to Minnesota after originally hoping that he would be the fast break PG we needed. Checking in on him in Phoenix, he is averaging 6.3 points ( on 37% shooting), 1.5 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 turnovers. Certainly not numbers that jump out at you. This is one of our might have beens that I think is working out in our favor. I don't believe that Banks would ever be the PG that we needed here.
In this past draft, we passed up drafting Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay, both very talented players to trade for Telfair. Foye would not have been available to us even if we had kept the pick as McHale wanted him and would have taken him at 6. Brandon Roy is very much looking like the Rookie of the Year at this point averaging 18.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg and 5 apg. Depending on how Telfair works out, passing on this kid may prove to be a mistake. Gay is also playing well, but I don't think he would have fit our team as well as Roy would have.
Looking at the trade that almost was this summer, trading for Iverson may not have been such a bad thing after all. Philadelphia is 3 and 0 and Iverson is averaging 35 points (shooting 52%) along with 3.5 rpg and 8 apg. But then again, he is averaging 6 turnovers also. Would these numbers along side Pierce make us a winning team? Would his attitude cause more chemistry problems than his numbers would solve? One thing about Iverson is that he plays hard each and every game. We sure could use some of that on the Celtics right now.
This brings me to the final what might have been. Back when Doc was hired, Danny said that Doc was the only coach on his list and that is who he wanted. But at the time Rudy Tomjanovich, Paul Silas, Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Fratello, Paul Westphal, Larry Brown, and Mike Dunleavey were all available. Looking back, would any of those coaches have been a better fit for this team? Doc was a good coach the first year to develop the young players and get them to mesh. But now as they are all ready to take that next step up, Doc seems to have outlived his usefulness on this team. Stan Van Gundy, Paul Westphal, Paul Silas, Rick Adelman, Dennis Johnson, and several other very good coaches are available now should the Celtics continue to struggle and the owners decide to replace Doc. I would think that if Doc is fired this season, either Tony Brown or Danny Ainge will take over as interim coach. Or maybe they will just leave Doc in place and tank this year to get a chance at the Greg Oden sweepstakes.
Thinking about what might have been can't change anything, but it does give me something to think about instead of fretting about the state of the current Celtics. I have a feeling that I am going to need a whole lot of koolaid to get through this season.
Yeah, I thought of this too just a few nights ago.
Not only Billups and Joe Johnson, but also Ben Wallace (yeah, we had him in spring training as he was trying out for us) and Bruce Bowen (another excellent defensive player who could have solidified our current weakness).