Welcome to “Pretty Much Screwed,” our definitive guide to the upcoming NBA season. This team-by-team preview details why it’s probably not your favorite team’s year. Today: We’ll explain why the Boston Celtics are even more screwed than you think.
Great smile, Brad. But get it out of your repertoire temporarily. You won’t be needing it this year.
What the fuck do you do if you’re a Boston Celtics fan? You’re very clearly rebuilding, with no chance to repeat last year’s performance, which wasn’t very good (7th place in the laughable East, and a first-round exit). Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry are gone. FOREVER.
I assume you root to do really poorly, acquiring more lottery balls than basketball points, and get Andrew Wiggins/Julius Randle/That Australian Guy/Aaron Gordon/whichever one of these overhyped freaks breaks out the most, right? And to hold on to Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and Jeff Green, but not have them play well enough to make a difference? Or do you trick yourself into believing that you have a chance? (You don’t have a chance. If you make the playoffs, it’s only because everyone else is tanking, and you’re the worst at it.)
Seriously, how do you handle this as a Celtics fan, a fan of one of the most storied franchises in sports, and one that’s had a lot of recent success? This is like being a post-Brady-and-Belichick Pats fan, and it’s confusing. At least you won’t have to deal with both of those things: right, Boston?
The Celtics have been “contenders” since 2007. In 2013, their starting lineup looks like it will be:
PG: Rajon Rondo (…whenever he returns from his ACL injury…Avery Bradley until then)
SG: Courtney Lee, I guess?
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Brandon Bass? Gerald Wallace? Kris Humphries?
C: Uhhhhhh….. Hump/Sully/Olynyk? Brad Stevens?
Shit, man, I don’t even know. ESPN guessed this:
* An early starting lineup guess: Pressey (or a veteran guard addition), Bradley, Wallace, Green, Humphries.
* A potential lineup later in the year: Rondo, Bradley, Green, Sullinger, Olynyk.
Ow. This is gonna be ugly. Uglier than Kelly Olynyk (sorry, Kelly).
Also: Why so many Ys in your name, man? Save some for the fishes.
1) Brad Stevens is not a wizard.
In fact, he didn’t play in the NBA at all, and the Wiz didn’t offer him a coaching job, either.
But seriously, Stevens is by all accounts an excellent coach, maybe even a prodigy, but even a coaching prodigy needs talent. Yes, he made two NCAA title games. He also missed the tournament in 2012. Eric Taylor couldn’t coach this team to the playoffs. (OK, FINE, HE COULD. But just him.)
2) People need to calm their tits about Kelly Olynyk.
This is the time of the year where people who don’t follow college basketball praise college stars, acting as if everyone else was unaware of their strengths. So all we hear now is, “WOW, YOU KNOW OLYNYK DOMINATED SUMMER LEAGUE? He’s a mobile 7-footer with lots of skill!”
Yeah, no shit. That’s what he was in college, and it’s why he was the most efficient player in the nation. However, he is softer than a very-high-end pillow and is 7-feet-tall with a 6’9″ wingspan. This makes him the No. 1 player in this draft class’s Alligator Arm Index. That’s bad.
He has an excellent chance of winning ROY, because he can score and he’s on a bad team. He also has an excellent chance of giving up 76 points to Tyson Chandler.
3) They might be too good to “tank.”
Everybody is tanking. It’s like World War 3 in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers will be lucky to reach their namesake in wins, Charlotte is awful and so are the Magic and Bucks. The Celtics could feasibly be better than all of them. And the Suns in the West. Maybe the Jazz. It wouldn’t be a shock if they were only the eighth-worst team in basketball. And that would be a disaster when it comes to (lottery) ball-picking time.
Root for unremitting rehab for Rajon.
Actual Season Prediction: 22-60, 12th in the East, the draft pick right after the last superstar is gone