Celtics Blog 2017-

Post Trade Deadline.

Three Days Of Glory: Part II.

By Tom Mahoney

Then Tuesday there was the Lottery. "Itís busy," Grousbeck said. "Game last night. Game 7, a tough Washington team. Game tomorrow against a tough Cleveland team. And now we squeeze in the lottery and win the pick. I donít know whatís happening here. Itís pretty amazing." This was another franchise changing event.

There isn't an NBA fan who wasn't watching that patch of nothingness Tuesday Night: Balls bouncing, billionaires clinging to dollies, and giant NBA players and ex-players talking trash. Then the shamrocks kept falling as the Sixers bounced 3rd, and the Lakers bounced 2nd. It was a clear and present changing point in the development of this young team.

The second Nets picks was finally clearly defined. "Itís two completely different situations," Ainge said. "One is a lot about the future, and one is in the present. This team is a lot of fun to be around this year." It is Markelle Fultz.

And don't delude yourselves. You will hear all kinds of moronic stories about how they should trade the pick for this, that, and a bag of magic beans. "We have plenty of time to decide what to do, but I would imagine weíll make the pick," Grousbeck said. "In this dayís NBA, picks are very, very valuable. Youíve got a young person you can help mold and grow with. Bring him in before the max salaries kick in years later. Makes a lot of sense to keep these picks." But while the stories might be interesting, it is all fantasy, like a Trump press conference.

The Celtics already made the pick Tuesday night. "Sometimes you need to be patient," Grousbeck said. "Itís hard for me to be patient. I like action. It was hard, because itís very tempting. A lot of people want the picks. We just didnít think we were getting the value for it." When the Commish turned the Lottery Card over with the jolly little Leprechaun leaning on his shillelagh?

The Celtics pick in the 2017 NBA Draft was in. "With the First Pick in the 2017 NBA DraftÖ The Dynastic Celtics have already selectedÖ Markelle Fultz." This is not a tradable pick.

This is a Franchise Pillar pick, like Larry, or Parish and McHale (for Joe Barry Carroll, lol). "Iíd imagine we take the pick," Grousbeck said. "In todayís NBA, picks are very, very valuable. Youíve got a young person you can really help mold and grow with. [You] bring him in before the max salaries kick in years later." The Celtics are 2/3 of the way to turning the Nets picks into another Big Three.

You don't trade a member of the Big Three for Scrappy the Underdog. "If you can get a really good guy with this pick, youíve got him, you can build with him," Grousbeck said. "Itís a totally different thing. These picks are really valuable in todayís NBA. So our intention would be to make the pick, unless someone blows us away with an offer." Like LaBron or Stephen for Fultz (or McHale or Parrish;)?

Fultz has the best chance to be a Transcendent player in 4 to 7 years, of any players in this Draft (which does mean he will, or other won't). "That guy better be pretty good because if youíre drafting No. 1, and you make the pick well. You do really draft a transcendent player," Wyc said. "Youíve got that player for five or six years as they build up before the max money even kicks in. It just feels like this is a pick we will listen to offers, Iím sure, we will have conversations all the way thru June but, for me, making a first pick is an exciting prospect right now." So you don't trade him for less than a legit starter (Parrish), and a top three pick (McHale).

Though Trader Danny will certainly try some misdirection to try and get the godfather deal (like D'Anegelo Russell and Pick #2;). "We are engaged and intense on a daily basis on talking deals and finding a way to get us to the top," Ainge said. "Weíre sitting here right now as Eastern Conference finalists, and the number one pick! And thereís a lot of fortune thatís come our way." Relax brother. Remember to practice your patience.

Can you picture Isaiah and Markelle starting together next season (but it ain't gonna happen). "Me and Isaiah Thomas would be a great backcourt," Fultz said. "I think the opportunity that would be there would be amazing. Just for him to play off the ball, where I think heís better at it. Or him to play on the ball, and I can play off the ball. I think the chemistry would be amazing." I just got goosebumps.

In reality, Fultz is going to have a similar sit and learn season to what Brown just had (or is still having;). "He has all the tools," Thomas said about Fultz. "He can shoot, pass, he's athletic. He's got nice size. He plays at his own pace. That's something you can't teach. Like, he's so poised in any type of situation." He has one of the best Jumpers of all the players in this Draft.

He can also score inside, and is a terrific passer, even for a point guard. "I can play with anybody," Thomas said about playing with Fultz. "I can play off the ball, I can come off screens, I can catch and shoot. So I think that's, even going back to college, my first couple of years I was off the ball. And then I can play on the ball as well. So a lot of guys can't do both, but I'm fine with doing both." Plus, some think Fultz is a better defender than Ball.

I don't. Ball has better length, and is a better defender. "We certainly don't have expectations for a number one pick to come in and turn our franchise around and make us a better team than where we are right now in the Final Four," Ainge said. "I think that they can add to our team and help us in some capacity. But I think it's dangerous to think that a 19-year-old's going to come in and transform our franchise." Fultz is the future, not next years' Eastern Conference Finals MVP.

Fultz is the guy you pair with Brown to start the Dynasty in 3 to 5 years. "Sometimes you need to be patient," Ainge said, sounding like Wyc. "Itís hard to be patient. I like action. But we have a good group of guys around us. My whole staff and the ownership. We sit and we calmly try to figure out what the best path is to take."  The centerpieces of Banner 18 are going to be Brown and Fultz (and a player named later;).

You do not trade either of those guys unless a "LaBron" or a "Stephen" are in one of the names of the players involved. "I think weíve had a lot of good fortune and we have a terrific coach whoís been a part of that process," Ainge said. "We have a lot of good players. Itís been fun watching the guys develop. And the organization is a great organization. Our owners are fantastic. They give us all the support, security, and really built a steady organization." The Celtics are now the envy of the NBA.

The Celtics drafted these two guys to be the next generation of winners. They need to learn how to work together to get it done. If there is a flaw in Fultz, it is that he is the opposite of Ball in a lot of ways. He is scorer, who doesn't make his teammates better. He is a guy who couldn't drive his team to 10 wins last season. He has been a backseat leader. The good news is that he is a quiet kind of guy, who doesn't seem to get into beefs with teammates (as far as we know, because there was something seriously wrong with that Washington team last season).

He is real young. So who he will be as a leader, teammate, and PG in 3 to 5 years is the difference between seven straight trips to the finals or none. It is always a risk when you draft teenagers. But he has the physical talent to be a point guard sniper. It will all be about the mental and maturity for this kid. Getting on the Celtics, in an environment of winning, should speed up the process of his develop into a winner, and not just a highly skilled athlete, which we are seeing with Brown already.

This idea that Fultz stands above the rest is not exactly right. "I think itís a little bit deeper," Ainge said about the Lottery. "I think the top of the draft isnít as obvious as some, and itís more obvious than others [have been]. The lines of separation through this draft. But I think that itís going to be a tough choice for us where we sit at No. 1." Ball can ball as well. This is a two player Draft.

I'm not a fan at all of Josh Johnson or Tatum. "We're a place that people would wanna come and play," Grousbeck said. "We're doing well, and [we have] room for improvement." They will be good, not great NBA players. That is the opposite of what you want in the Lottery. You have to take a shot at greatness. The point is to get Franchise, or hopefully Transcendent, player in the Lottery.

That is how you turn a Franchise into a Champion. "You donít really want to necessarily trade a number one pick in a really good draft for somebody thatís halfway thru their career, already making max money," Wyc said. "Thatís just a difficult trade to make. First of all, you have to match the money in the trade, so youíve got to add significant additional players on our side to go just to sort of match the money, so itís three or four guys going and one guy coming back." You win in the long term with a Transcendent player picked in the Lottery.

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The Celtic also have enough Cap Cash for a max free agent to hasten the process. "Having a max free agent come in is like having a No. 1 pick, or better," Grousbeck said. "If you can get a great player to come in." Because of his connection with Stevens, everyone and his shillelagh carrying brother thinks Gordon Hayward will be a Celtic next year.

You add him to Isaiah, Brown, Horford, and Fultz and in a few years they can beat LaBron in the Eastern Conference Finals. "If you can get a really good guy with this pick, youíve got him, you can build with him," Grousbeck said. "It's a totally different thing. These picks are really valuable in todayís NBA. So our intention would be to make the pick unless someone blows us away with an offer." This is not a one or two year plan.

The Transcendent Lottery Picks give you a 12 to 15 year plan. "I assumed all along, it was a 25% chance, so I figured Iíd be apologizing to fans," Wyc said. "I really wasnít expecting to win at all. It was just a complete gift. I really just wasnít imagining it. Iíve been used to disappointment down there at the lottery. Just had no expectation to win. Iím loving life right now." The Celtic have the short term plan, with all the veterans they have developed over the past few years.

And, much more importantly they have the long-term 12 to 15 year plan that is now 2/3 of way revealed. "We donít have to know. We get to just relax. And this is a nice position to be in. I think, and Iíve said it, 'I think these picks are very, very valuable," your damn right these picks are very-very valuable Wyc. "Last time I talked to Danny, he had the guys in order. But he is entitled to change his mind right up until [the draft]." As long as Fultz stay at the top.

 

George Butler: Part II.

By Tom Mahoney

So Celtics fans it is time to grow up and deal with reality. The Celtics are in such an incredible position that every Franchise in the NBA officially hates them again. Anyone with half a basketball brain can see that once LaBron is gone the Celtics will own the East for decades. But it is going to take some ball-aching time. So what? Grow up!

So Celtics fans it is time to grow up and deal with reality. The Celtics are in such an incredible position that every Franchise in the NBA officially hates them again. Anyone with half a basketball brain can see that once LaBron is gone the Celtics will own the East for decades. But it is going to take some ball-aching time. So what? Grow up!

"Everyone knows the assets we have and the young players we have," Ainge said. "In any conversation we have the price is a lot because of what we have in the bank [two friggin' top four Lottery picks! And! Browns' unlimited potential]. Thatís the challenge we're facing [ball-aching patience], and weíre trying to stick to our plan [while every GM in the NBA plots to steal the Nets Picks]. If a deal comes along where the price to add someone to the team who is more long-term than someone who is just the last 25 games of the season, we have more interest in that than we do in finding a Band-Aid."

Do Celts' fans understand the incredible theft that Danny pulled off? Sweet Jesus himself could not have pulled that off if his father was paying people off. He stole the future of the worse run Franchise in professional sports. And! He built a Playoff contender at the same time with scraps, lost puppies, and a kitten named Thomas not Tom.

Not getting George Butler conclusively means they don't have a shot to win it all this year. They can't beat LaBron. They can't seem to beat Toronto, and if they did? They are not beating Golden State in the Finals. The reality is that LaBron will own the East for another three years or so. So any thing they did this year is not really going to help them win a Championship the next few years, and then George would be gone.

"Those are things that can't happen until the summer time anyway," Ainge said about contract situations. "Isaiah knows that we love him. He loves playing in Boston and he knows that we love him as well. And same with Avery Bradley. I think they're a good combination. Both of those guys know how much we appreciate them as players and all they've done, and what they're becoming. So yeah, there's going to be a time when we'll sit down and have conversations with all of our guys. But in the meantime we're trying to build a championship-caliber team." 

But that is why you cannot, under any circumstance, trade one of the three Picks. Trading one now will not get the Celts to the Finals, unless LaBron gets broken. Plus, you have the Raptors who seem to have Celts-bane for some reason. Though with Bradley on friggin' DeRozan? Maybe he won't drop 43-points.

They are going to go to war against the East very soon. With the Pacers' attempted-robbery core of Tom BradyÖ I mean, Bradley, Smart, Brown, Crowder, and of course Thomas. They can beat Toronto with home court advantage. They still have three games on the Raptors. Plus, they are only a LaBron ankle from going to the Finals. They are in the incredible position of being Playoff Contenders with a couple of guaranteed Lottery ticket as well. 

Plus Horford has been a veteran godsend for this team, and if you can't see that than you do not understand basketball. He's best center at defending the pick and roll in the NBA. Best passing Center in the NBA, leads all centers in assists. He can still rebound, just well enough, while he drags the opponent's center out to the 3-point line to open lanes for Isaiah. Oh, he is not only a good  3-pointer shooter, he makes the clutch shots the team needs to win as well. That is the difference between winning and fantasy.

"He's a guy that he's trying to help the next guy. It's so crazy to have a guy like that on the team that," Thomas said. "We shot together a couple days ago and he was just like, 'Man, I'm here to make things easier for you. So just let me know what you need.' That's just wonderful, especially a guy that has that much talent. My job is just making things easier for others and he's making it easier for me already."

Danny made them the most enviable Franchise in professional sports. But it comes with a cost. It comes with every team trying to swindle your veterans, or the Dynastic Picks, or like LarryÖ both. It comes with ball-aching patience. It comes with the caveat that no team is going to trade with you, except to attempt to swindle some of those Dynastic Picks or cheap veterans. So now is the time to be smart fans, and not Jets fans. They are going to feel like they are within a step of a title for a while, while they are really within a hop, skip, and a jump, and not able to do anything about it. 

"I think that when you're trying to build a championship team, we're trying to preserve some things," Ainge said. "The picks we have are very valuable, the cap space we have this summer, we don't want to jeopardize in case we can land a very good player (Durant?). We are weighing all of these different things. I can give you an explanation on every player you are referring to, but we're choosing to stay patient. We like our team, we think our team will be better. I don't think you've seen the best of this group of guys yet."

But the Celts are in a spot teams have never seen before. A Playoff team for three straight seasons, followed by three straight top three picks. Which will feel like we are knocking on Heaven's door. But really? We are five or so years from a title.

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As for DeMarcus Cousin? He sucks. If you think he is a great player than you do not understand basketball. He will blow up any team you put him on. There is a huge difference between realty and fantasy basketball. Just because a guy gets Superstar numbers doesn't mean he is a superstar.

NBA Superstars are like NFL QBs, wins are their most important stat. In fact, I think his best comparison is an NFL QB. Cousins is the NBA's Jay Cutler. Cutler is a great fantasy QB, but he has a petulant personality that destroys team chemistry just enough to take away a teams ability to win. Cousins never is, was, or ever will be a Superstar. 

He is a coach-killing team-chemistry time-bomb. "The lack of a push on Cousins from the Celtics may be revealing in itself," Steve Bulpett said. "There was a time when sources insisted the Celts found him appealing, but not to the degree where theyíd give up either of the first rounders owed them by Brooklyn. Now itís fair to infer that the scouting report the Cís got from Isaiah Thomas on his former teammate was not encouraging for his fit here. In fact, sources have indicated that to be the case." He will blow up any team you put him on.

Also I heard one idiot arguing that he fits the Celts' system. Well? He doesn't. He didn't. And he never will. First off the Celtics system is one of chemistry. All the guys are good character guys who love the game and work well together. Messing with that chemistry can hurt the Celtics in a lot of ways. 

Also the Celtics system is to spread everyone out system, to open up lanes to drive through. They want to pull the opponents Bigs out of the Paint. They want Thomas driving into the Paint and causing havoc for the opponents defenses. The defenders have to slide too far way from their man to go help on Isaiah to stop his penetration, which opens up more holes.

Cousins is a paint cloggier. One of the reasons he hurts teams more then helps them is that he blocks lanes to the basket, and if you say anything about it he goes nuts. He gets his stats and everyone else can go F themselves. 

That's the difference between fantasy and reality. "We have the floor spread and we have skilled Bigs," Ainge said. "Al is leading NBA centers in assists this year, and thatís the way that we play. First of all, we know that we donít have a great rebounding team from a personnel standpoint, but we also donít play a great rebounding style, in that we rely on our Bigs to play out on the perimeter and make plays and make passes and open up the court up for our guards." Cousins is a big lump of poo right in the middle of the Paint on offense.

Their spacing systems hurts them rebound wise. "It is a weakness," Ainge said. "There are some guys out there that can rebound OK. I think there was one or two rebounders that I would say that were good rebounders that could help us rebounding. But weíre always trying to evaluate if theyíre going to help our team overall." But it also forces all five players to rebound, box out, and fight for boards harder on defense. 

Cousins would have blown that all up. That is why Danny had no interest. That is why Brad would have quit if they signed. He is a big pile of poo right in the middle of the lane. And he poops over everyone in the locker room. You do know that fantasy means does not exist in reality, right?

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