In this era of 10 minute oil changes, 1 hour photo developing, and instant oatmeal and every thing else, we tend to get impatient with anything that takes awhile. This includes basketball. Where in most cases a little impatience won't change much, in basketball impatience can be the difference between continual mediocrity and building a contender.
Pitino was impatient with Chauncey Billups and traded him for Kenny Anderson so he would have an instant PG instead of trying to develop Billups into the PG of the future for the Celtics. Billups is helping to lead the Pistons to championships while Kenny Anderson is out of the league.
Jim O'Brien was impatient with Joe Johnson and traded him for instant help to propel them down the stretch. Joe Johnson is now helping other teams get better while the two players we got for him, Delk and Rodger, are long gone.
Another example of impatience is Jermaine O'Neal. I see any number of message board posts saying that we should get O'Neal and how good he is. Well, it took O'Neal years to get that way. He was drafted out of high school by Portland in '96 and only averaged 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds his first year. Second year he upped it to 4.5 points and 3.4 rebounds. In O'Neal's 3rd year in Portland, his averages dropped to 2.5 points and 2.7 rebounds and he played in only 36 games due to injury. If he was in Boston I can just read all the posts saying what a bust he is. In O'Neal's 4th year he averaged 3.9 points and 3.3 rebounds. This kid showed promise in high school. Enough that he was the 17th pick in the first round. But yet in 4 years he doesn't seem to be showing a lot of progress. Then, in 2000, he was traded to Indiana for Dale Davis. In his 5th year in the league he finally started to show the talent that was promised when he was drafted. He averaged 12.9 points and 9.8 rebounds. If Portland had just a little more patience, they could have this young and promising All Star center on their team. O'Neal has continued to improve his averages every year after his fifth year in the league when he finally broke out.
I am sure you can see where I am going with this. The Shaq's, the Kobe's, the LeBron James's who come into the league and make an impact right away are few and far between. Centers and PG's especially take more time to develop. Especially when you draft a player out of high school or an underclassman, you have to realize that they probably won't be stars right away. High school players have to learn the game all over again on the pro level as it is nothing like the high school game. Along with that, they have to learn to live on their own for the first time, learn how to condition their bodies for the NBA season and their whole lives are in upheaval.
Now, if we compare Perk to O'Neal, we can see that Perk is slightly ahead of where O'Neal was in his 4th year and he has played a lot fewer minutes in those 4 years. The first year, Perk only played a total of 35 minutes in 10 games and averaged 2.2 points and 1.4 rebounds in those 3.5 minutes a game. His second year, he still didn't get much playing time he averaged 2.5 points and 2.9 rebounds in 9 minutes per game. His third year, he was still not playing much because he was behind Raef and Blount who was being showcased. When Blount was traded mid-season, Perk finally got to play more and was playing very well when he injured his shoulder. He spent the whole summer rehabbing his shoulder and when he was starting to come on this past season, he developed plantar fasciitis and played in a lot of pain all season. To his credit, he played through the pain and although it limited his movement and jumping ability, he gave it all he had every game. A number of fans are getting impatient and want to move him because of the injuries and because he isn't dominating like they think he should. But this kind of thinking is why J O'Neal is an All Star in Indiana and not Portland and why Chauncey Billips led the Pistons to a championship and not the Celtics.
Sure we can trade our young kids with so much promise for a player who can help us right now... But just as Chauncey, O'Neal and Joe Johnson are starring in the league long after the veteran players they were traded for have fallen by the wayside, if we become impatient and trade our future for some immediate help, a couple of years from now we will be in the same position and OUR young players will be starring and leading their teams to championships when whoever we get for them will be long gone.
Coming into this past season, many people were calling for a trade of Big Al because he wasn't living up to our expectations for him. He was injured much of his sophomore season and some people felt that he was soft. Al broke out this past season and there are very few, if any, fans who want to trade him now. Just think how we would feel if Danny had given in to the pressure to trade Al for Artest or even for Iverson. While they continue to decline, Jefferson will be improving and dominating in the paint for years to come.
Perk is entering his 5th season. Al, Tony and Delonte are entering their 4th season. Green and Gomes are entering their 3rd season. Rondo and Powe are entering their second seasons. They are no longer a very young team. Perk, Al, Delonte and Tony can be considered veterans in this league. Al broke out last season. Tony was well on his way to a break out year when he went down with the injury. Perk has steadily improved in spite of a lack of playing time and battling injuries. Delonte and Gomes have solid games and play like veterans. Rondo is a jumper away from being able to dominate in games. We will add a talented player in the draft with a top 5 pick.
Chemistry is important in the league as players learn their teammates tendencies and they learn to feed off of each other. We see the results of chemistry as we watch the top teams in the playoffs, like the Pistons and Spurs, who have been together for several years. We need to keep the core group of players together on this team and we will be rewarded as we see them blossom and break out to become the stars that we knew they would be when we drafted them. A trade for an all star in his prime is one thing, but trading for middle of the road veterans as we have done in the past to win a few more games is unacceptable. I for one hope that Danny has learned that patience is a virtue and that being impatient may just doom the Celtics to a perpetual state of mediocrity.