I don't know about anyone else, but this has been a summer of mixed emotions for me. First, there were the hopes for the lottery. Celtics fans were excited that we would get the #1 or #2 pick in the draft. We had dreams of Oden or Durant in green. We were due, right? and Oden's #20 was one of the few not retired. All the signs were there. Then came the lottery and when the envelope revealed the #5 pick, the breath was collectively sucked out of the Celtics nation. It seemed as though the curse that has followed this team for the past 21 years would continue.
But as we have for the past 21 years, Celtics fans made the best of it, discussing who was available at #5 and how they would help the team. We also had the break out season of Al Jefferson to be excited about. Then, on draft night, Danny traded away Delonte, and Ray Allen was a Celtic. I was disappointed to see Delonte go and was skeptical about Ray Allen at first, given his age and his double ankle surgery last season, but felt that he would definitely be an upgrade over Wally. But, then the more I heard from and read about Ray Allen, the more I started to like the idea of RA as a Celtic and I was excited again.
I really liked our young players. I have to admit that I was one of the fans who didn't want to trade Al Jefferson for anyone, not even KG. I wanted to keep the team together and watch each of our young players reach their potential with us. I stll remember Chauncey Billups being traded away and watching him reach his potential elsewhere. I liked the character each of our kids displayed and I liked the way they were growing together as a unit. I didn't want to break that up. So it was hard to see Delonte go. But we still had most of our young core left and Ray Allen to mentor them.
I have to say, I was relieved when KG said he wouldn't come to Boston when the first round of rumors came out about the trade. I really didn't want to give up Al Jefferson. I like Al and all I could think of was Al having to play alongside Mark Blount again. I also felt (and still do to a certain degree) that if we had kept that group together and picked wisely with the 5th pick, we could have had a team who could have challenged for the title in a couple of years, if all our young players reached their potential.
Then, the big news came out that Danny had traded half the team to bring in Garnett. My initial reaction was that I didn't like the trade. Giving up not only Al, but Gomes and Green along with Telfair and Ratliff plus a couple of picks just seemed like we were giving up way too much for a brief window at a title while the players we gave up might be playing at a top level for many, many years. But once again, the more I heard KG speak and the more I read about him, the more excited I got about having him on the Celtics.
And then there were the fears that we wouldn't have a bench because of all we had to trade to bring in KG, but Danny has been filling the holes and even though we could still use a back up center and PG, I feel that we have a bench that can compete. Eddie House will give us a microwave type scorer off the bench. Pollard can give us toughness and rebounding off the bench and Posey gives us a lock down defender and outside threat. Rondo, Perk and Powe are all coming back better and have put in a lot of work this summer. Tony Allen is hungry and from all reports will be able to come back strong. Scal may even be better on a veteran team. We have 2 promising rookies that although they were second round picks, have the tools and promise to be really good. And maybe most importantly, we finally have the defensive minded assistant coach to turn this team around defensively.
While a part of me still misses our young players and will wonder what we could have done if we had kept that team together, I am now officially very excited about the team we have now. We have 3-5 years where we have a chance to dominate and challenge for a title. It has been 21 years since I have been this excited about a Celtics season and a long time since I actually believed that we had a team that could win a title. I feel that way now. We can win the title with this team and that feels very good. What started out as yet another disappointment for Celtics fans on Lottery night has ended up as one of the greatest off seasons since Red was running the team and fleecing the other GM's. After the many lows of the past 21 years, we are definitely ready for a few highs and I have a feeling that this is the team to give them to us!!