Lottery be damned, I'll take a win like that

Berry, Mark Mark.Berry at
Mon Nov 11 20:55:28 UTC 2013

I loved everything about the win over Miami. Just a great night of basketball. I'm not going to overreact to that win or even the three-game win streak. This roster remains a mess. It's a testament to Stevens and the ragtag rotation that they're playing so well, but I think it's just as likely that things turn south pretty dramatically. Talent wins in the NBA, and the Celts don't have enough.

The guy who could move the needle from "plucky overachievers" to "potential playoff team" is Rondo. The improvement from Jordan Crawford (who, to his credit, has been as good as he can be) to Rondo can't possibly be overstated. I can't wait to see him inserted into this mix, but when will it happen? Rondo-Bradley-Green (sometimes)-Sully-Olynyk is a pretty solid group.

I didn't include Bass because I actually agree with Ray on the ultimate plan for this group. Ainge has broken up better teams than this with the big picture in mind, and I expect if he can find someone willing to buy high on Bass, he will jump on it. Same with Courtney Lee, Crawford, Kris Humphries ... even Green. And I'm fine with all that. Treading water with those guys isn't getting anyone anywhere. I'm not advocating tanking - just using all the assets wisely and securing/preserving as much financial and player flexibility as possible. I expect a lot of deals like we saw during the last rebuild - the Celts may get a marginally better player (Ricky Davis for Wally Z.) or a marginally worse player on a better contract, probably with draft picks - maybe just second-rounders - involved. There will be churn.

The hope in the meantime is Stevens continues to establish a winning culture (he's off to a great start) even if the wins aren't as frequent as hoped, the keepers continue to play well and build value, the team nails their picks in the upcoming loaded draft and the ensuing drafts, and eventually Ainge is well-positioned to strike when an established star becomes disgruntled and wants out (think Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Brook Lopez, Al Horford, etc.). There are no guarantees that happens of course, but in the meantime you just keep acquiring assets and maintaining flexibility. It looked like Houston might strike out while following the same plan, but ultimately they ended up with Harden and Howard (for better or worse).

So, I will continue to enjoy every win - even as I expect them to be few and far between - but also every loss, as the roster begins to sort itself out. In true Brad Stevens fashion, I am enjoying the process.


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