Thursday, May 24, 2007

Danny Can You Hear Me?

The fifth pick, seriously? Good joke NBA but really where are the Celtics picking in the draft next month? Oh you weren’t kidding, they are actually picking fifth. How did this happen? Wasn’t fifth the worst case scenario?

In the back of my head I was nervous that the worst could definitely happen. That’s the cynical Bostonian in me, but I was more excited than I was nauseous. I was fully prepared and ready to go into talk people (a.k.a. my two green bleeding friends Joey & Joey) off any ledges they may have been near if the C’s didn’t get one of the top two picks last night. Then it happened for real, and I lost it. Things are not going to be okay.

The number one and two picks in this year’s NBA Draft are franchise changing players and realistically those two players, Oden and Durant, were the only thing that should be able to save Danny Ainge’s career and life. I, like many others, including the Boston media have been blinded by a likeable coach who says all the right things and a group of talented youngsters that are supposed to be full of tremendous upside potential. How in the name of Red Auerbach is 24-58 an acceptable record in this town? How could a coach with a career record of 273-312 and one winning season in three years get resigned to a new deal? How has no one requested, wait requested, fuck that, demanded Danny Angie’s head on a stake yet?

Danny took over a team that went to the conference finals in 2001-02, blew the team up getting rid of pretty much every player with the exception of Pierce and for a short time Antoine Walker and has since run the team into the ground. What other executive can get away with this. I feel like every baseball writer during the 1998 season they all felt like something was up but never spoke up now the whole steroid thing has become a shit show. Well that’s what has happened to the once proud Celtics.

The ultimate demise of the Celtics can’t completely be blamed on Ainge, some blame falls on Rick Pitino and just general bad luck. Lenny Bias and Reggie Lewis aren’t Danny’s fault but he hasn’t exactly done a bang up job either. Blowing up the 2001-02 Celtics didn’t seem like a horrible idea at the time. The team was full of likeable players that got the job done but they had probably gone about as far as they were going to go with guys like Walter McCarty and Erik Williams.
I’ve heard people say they were good in 2001-02, you’re wrong they weren’t. The Celtics, and the Nets for that matter, overachieved. As far as good teams go the 2001-02 Celtics weren’t a good team. They were a group of role players that complimented Pierce and Walker and they were certainly fun to watch but they overachieved and they probably weren’t going to get much better. So when Danny took over the team we as fans were pretty optimistic, even if he did get rid of Jim O’Brien and Antoine.

At first you had to agree with Angie’s moves, by bringing him in the new ownership forced douche bag former GM Chris Wallace to a different role. Yes, the Chris Wallace that brought in Vin Baker. With the situation that the Celtics were in blowing up the team was something we were convinced was necessary. However six years later it hasn’t really shown much promise.

Danny has drafted “well”, at least that what we’ve been told. Actually we’ve been badgered with the fact that Al Jefferson and Gerald Green are the next NBA superstars. Unfortunately it seems like Celtics fans are the only ones that have bought into that line of thinking. Maybe now that we are picking fifth in the Draft we’ll start to wake up. Jefferson is a solid player he could definitely be the next great Boston star, but what’s the next move for this team?

We were willing to give Danny a pass if they got one of the top two picks, but they didn’t, so what happens now? Are we willing to wait on these young kids and see if they can turn things around? One thing is clear and that is the fact that the current path the Celtics are on is not working and needs some kind of change. The Celtics and their fans were dealt a devastating blow by losing the lottery. The Celtics also lost a chance to buy themselves some time by resigning Doc Rivers. The C’s could have dumped Rivers and hung some blame on him, that most likely would have bought Danny another year to make some moves and try to get this team back to at least the playoffs.

Now I don’t think just making the playoffs is going to be enough. Fans need to see some results. We’ve waited for Danny’s plan to come to fruition and now it might be time to make some moves and either try to bring in veteran help or move Paul Pierce. Either way Danny Ainge has run out of time.

What has happened to the fans that ran Rick Pitino out of town on a rail? Are we this complacent? Imagine if Theo Epstien had run the Red Sox into the ground, there would be riots. And maybe that is part of the issue. The Celtics have dropped so far off the casual fan radar that Danny Ainge can get away with turning the team into the NBA’s second worse.

The Celtics storied history is exactly that a storied history. They don’t have the pink hat wearing casual fans that the Red Sox or Patriots have. The team that turned Boston into a basketball city has gone by the wayside with fans and it’s not going to get any better. I’m 22. I was too young to remember when the Celtics were a dominant team but the Patriots and Red Sox have been contenders for the majority of my sports fan-formative years. I’m still a big C’s fan but I think people like me that are around my age have forgotten about them because they’ve been so irrelevant lately.

The NBA needs the Celtics to be competitive again because the league is losing out on one of its most prominent basketball cities. The Celtics need to be competitive again because they are rapidly losing ground to the other teams in the region. Before you know it the Celtics and Bruins will be all but forgotten tenants in the FleetCenter/TD Banknorth Garden or whatever the hell it is called now.

It’s time for a change. Danny has had his chance and hasn’t delivered. It’s a desperate time for the Boston Celtics and as likeable this group of players may be something drastic needs to happen. Do you need to blow the team up again? Maybe, or maybe not, regardless I think there are going to be a few of our favorite lovable losing youngsters on different teams at the start of next season.

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