Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Complimenting Ainge and McHale: What in the hell is going on?

I’m still not sure that Kevin Garnett has actually been traded as I’ve been hearing his name on the block for the better part of 10 years, but I have to believe the photos I saw of him standing in between Paul Pierce and Ray Allen weren’t just the creation of a photoshop extraordinaire. In the photo, Garnett is holding up his new #5 Celtics jersey. I suspect its one of five numbers yet to be retired by the Celtics, and wholeheartedly believe Garnett originally vetoed any trade to the Celtics because his jersey choices were being severely restricted. If the Big Three all perform well for Boston, their jerseys will be retired and the next big star to sign with the Celtics will be forced to take a decimal number or one in the triple digits. Thank god Bill Walton’s knees were shot when he signed with the Celtics!

The trade has the city of Boston buzzing, and the Celtics have a legitimate shot of making it to the NBA finals assuming Ainge’s master plan doesn’t involve the Big Three playing five on three. The Celtics had to give up their core of young talent to get Garnett, and are left filling in the smaller pieces of the puzzle both at point guard and the center position. The # of players traded by the Celtics for Garnett actually broke the record for most given up in one trade. The Rockets held the record previously, giving 6 players up when they acquired Scottie Pippen.

Saying all of that, I think the trade was beneficial to both parties involved. The T-Wolves acquired Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomez, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff and his expiring contract, and good old Bassy Telfair. They will have some wiggle room once they deal with Ratliff and Jefferson is one of the most talented young low post players in the league. Gerald Green is insanely gifted athletically, and if he progresses as expected, we can expect big things out of him for years to come. McHale will also be able to build through the draft as they acquired the rights to two future draft picks from the Celtics. I won’t comment on Telfair as he’ll be kicked out of the League by 2009. Overall, I think the T-Wolves got what they could for Garnett, and the deal works better than the speculated trades which had Garnett being moved to Phoenix or LA. McHale actually handled the situation properly, and is probably secretly rooting for the Celtics to win a championship anyway, so it seems pretty logical.

People have to give Ainge two big thumbs up if this was part of his “master plan.” He realized his time in Boston was nearing an end if the Celtics didn’t immediately make roster updates. From what I gathered, the Celtics and the city of Boston weren’t willing to wait another 3-5 years as their young nucleus of talent developed. The city wants a championship now, and Ainge gives them a shot at winning one. He was able to hold onto Paul Pierce, pick up Ray Allen on draft day, and then use those players to make the trade worthwhile for Garnett. KG wants to win, and Ainge was able to convince him that Boston was the place it was most likely to happen.

Doc Rivers doesn’t have any excuses now. I’ve tended to back off as others have voiced their opinions about his shitty coaching, but now its time to git’r’done! (First Larry the Cable Guy reference on the blog. I am both shocked and saddened by this.) Garnett, Piece, and Allen are all perennial all-stars, and one could argue they are top three players at each of their respective positions. More importantly, they are all unselfish team guys, and I’ll guarantee there will be enough shots to go around. Garnett is perfectly content averaging 15-17 a game, and doing more damage on the boards and defensive end of the court. He actually deferred too much in Minnesota in an attempt to get other players involved. If his mentality remains unchanged on the offensive end, he’ll now be deferring to two big time scorers in Piece and Allen.

The Celtics need to continue Rondo’s development (or pick up a veteran point guard who distributes) and handle their situation at center. Currently, Kendrick Perkins is projected to be their big man, but he’s played 2.5 seasons in the NBA and is averaging 4 points a game. If he develops, or they can pick up a veteran center, they will have a legitimate shot at competing with teams out West. Remember, the days of dominating centers in the NBA seem to be over for the most part. I can only think of Yao off the top of my head.

Garnett, Pierce, and Allen are all somewhere between the ages of 30-32 which means they have at least 3-4 years to win a championship. The team could be scary a few years down the road if they gel, and better pieces are picked up to fill out the team. I don’t think the age issue is relevant here. Short-term it makes sense as they can continue meshing and still probably navigate their way through the shitty East!

Injuries have plagued Allen and Pierce recently, but if they remain healthy, look out. I don’t see any team in the Eastern conference being able to beat them in a 7 game series if those three are on the court at the same time. I’m usually skeptical when teams try to create a “mini-all star” team, but in fact, that was the most effective strategy in the 80’s when the Celtics and Lakers were winning so many championships. (Bird, McHale, Parrish/ Magic, Worthy, Kerem)

I am really excited to see how this plays out. Balancing the league and getting talent to move back east will help make for a better NBA product. I can’t make fun of Ainge or McHale this time. They did a damn good job of creating a deal that seems to make sense for both parties. Other teams in the East will be forced to make moves, which will increase competition. It’s only a start, but a damn good one if things work out the way I hope.


Guy said...

hahah I love that pretty much every number ever is retired for the Celts.

They're gonna draft Jeffrey Jordan in a few years and he'll have to sport 2/3 or something.

Logan said...

I like how Pierce is looking at KG and Ray Allen. Its like he doesnt believe that theyre real.

Guy said...

Wow thats a good point Logan. He was probably waiting for Ashton Kutcher to tell him that he had been Punk'd.

Daris said...

lol funny

HAUS said...

i think i'll become a fake celtics fan as of this moment...sorry cavs, gotta love the KG bandwagon

Guy said...

Haus-- that is one of the many reasons that you NEVER WERE a Cavs' fan. Thanks for finally coming clean you little rat.

Buzzsaw said...

That's not just some picture of the team's stars ... that's the actual team photograph. Don't be surprised to see Da Professa starting at PG, he excels in open tryouts