I have always loved that Kermit the Frog song... And it has never been truer than this season. On the one hand we have a team full of potential. On the other hand, that potential isn't being realized quickly enough. Yes, in his third season, Al Jefferson is finally putting up numbers that show that he is progressing. Delonte West is playing well when he isn't injured or sick. But other than that, the entire team is up and down, including the vets. One player who is very enticing and has played very well every time he gets on the floor is Leon Powe. The only problem is that he only gets on the floor a few minutes per game.
There are a couple of articles this morning that really magnify what is going on with this team. The first one is from the Concord Monitor. One of the most telling paragraphs from the article is this one:
And many of these games have been winnable. Six of the last 11 losses have been by six points or less. You know where good coaches come into play? At the end of close games. It's become clear, or more clear, or painfully clear, that Rivers is not a good NBA coach
. While many argue that no coach could win with the players we have, I beg to differ. We have 2 very fast point guards who could control a game if given the go ahead to run and to run the team. But our point guards are handcuffed in Doc's system. We have bigs who could dominate in the paint but yet they spend a lot of time out on the arc for some bizarre reason. I guess this is why Doc loves bigs who can shoot the 3. But we don't have that luxury any more since Raef was shipped to Portland and so Doc should have them playing closer to the basket. Most of the time when our bigs get the ball, they are too far out to make a move.
The article goes on to fault Ainge for giving up the 7th pick for Telfair who has become the 3rd string PG when we could have had Brandon Roy who is in the running for Rookie of the Year. I think the trade for Telfair wouldn't look near as bad if we had a coach who knows how to coach a running team. But as it sits, with the coach we have, that trade doesn't look very good. The article ends with these thoughts.
How can I even really enjoy rooting for the Celtics to lose if I'm worried Ainge is going to blow it come draft night? What if he gets the top pick and takes the more seasoned Joakim Noah instead of Durant, a revolutionary player, only to realize later that Noah has no offensive game and his physical skills lose a lot of luster outside of college? What if that uncontrollable point-guard tick strikes at just the wrong moment and he takes Acie Law? I can't take another first-round point guard, let alone another Acie. What if Ainge trades the pick for a veteran player, but that veteran player is another Trailblazer castoff? What if it's Darius Miles?
I'm worried about all this.
The Celtics can't win, they're not getting better, their coach isn't a good game or practice coach, their director of basketball operations is losing his touch, Secaucus is calling and the irritating sounds of rebuilding are getting louder.
I guess all of us should be worried about this. But, I think Danny still has his touch as far as drafting. I think Rondo and Powe were great picks and both will be very good players if they had a coach who knew how to use them correctly. I don't think the trade for Telfair would look as bad if we had a coach who knew how to run a fast break basketball team. If Danny is tanking this season, it is by keeping Doc Rivers as coach, and nothing else.
Yahoo Sports has a very negative article about the Celtics and the fact that they are outright tanking to get a chance at Oden. This article says that Danny has just one chance leftto turn this floundering franchise around:
Ainge has one shot left to save his flawed administration. It's the bounce of the lottery balls, the 7-foot generational center who made a stop at Ohio State. As a college freshman, Patrick Ewing was a scrawny, baby-faced kid. Hakeem still knew more about playing soccer goalie than center. Oden is different. He is 19 years old, going on 29.
He finishes the article by saying that Danny preferred the lottery when he had a chance at Howard and he once again prefers the lottery to winning. He conjectures that whether they are losing on purpose or not, they aren't that interested in stopping the losing streak.
A basketball coach in the The Daily Collegian has just a short piece about the Celtics with these thoughts included:
The Boston Celtics are one of the worst franchises in modern sports. From Wyc Grousbeck - the ridiculous, immature, meddling owner - all the way down to the players, who have the audacity to say that they are improving after having lost 11 straight games, the Celtics are a hollow shell of what they once were. Now they're a traveling humiliation, taking the Boston jerseys all around the country for other teams to stomp on. And all of this game presentation stuff is getting out of control. Do you like those dancers? If you do, go to a ballet. It seems like the one thing that's being lost out there is the quality of the actual game, but forget about that. It's not important, right?
He does have a point. In all the hoopla they are bringing to the Garden with dancers and promotions etc, they are forgetting about the most important ingredient: a quality basketball team. The criticism and scorn is coming from everywhere these days. The Celtics have become a laughing stock of the league.
Sigh. With articles like these springing up all over, it is very hard to stay positive. Even truckloads of green koolaid isn't going to help this time. But I still can't give up on these players and this team. It is too deeply ingrained in my dna. I love this team. I cheer for this team. I expect a win every time the play, even now. I genuinely like the players we have on this team. Every one has a great work ethic and a lot of heart. They try hard but just can't put it together. I personally feel that a lot of this has to do with the coaching. Doc micromanages. He has to call plays and control the action on the floor the entire game, but if he would just let them play,I think that they would be much better. He has destroyed the confidence of our young PGs as well as Green and Perk by playing games with them and their playing time. What puzzles me most about Danny is his continued support of Doc Rivers. Maybe he is tanking and the best way to tank is to keep Doc at the helm. I just don't know any more. What I do know is that I won't give up on this team. I won't stop rooting for them to win. And it isn't going to get any easier in the near future.