With the offseason in full swing for the Celtics, there will be many rumors floating around about what Danny Ainge and the Celts plan on doing. Rich Levine of CSNNE.com and CBS Boston has detailed out some myths that have been circling the Celtics regarding the offseason and has put some truth out to dispel those myths. Via Levine of Boston.com:
No. 1: The Celtics Will Never Land a Big-Time Free Agent
You know how it goes: The Celtics will never land a big-time free agent because they never have … because it’s cold, because of taxes, because of racism. But here’s the truth about the Celtics and free agency: The team was over the salary cap from 1997 until July 10, 2015.
Levine is correct in what he says here. He details that Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker were both given big contracts in the early 2000s and that after the Celtics did the Big Three trade, they were held under big deals for Garnett, Rondo, Allen, and Pierce which didn't allow for much flexibility. Boston's inability to attract free agents is somewhat skewed since they haven't had cap space for a long time.
The second myth deals with Isaiah Thomas's status as a foundation player:
No. 2: The playoffs proved Isaiah Thomas isn’t a foundation player
This became a narrative at some point this season, and Isaiah fueled it a bit because he’s a proud guy. But, if anything, these playoffs proved that Thomas IS a foundation player. Anyone that scores 42 points in a must-win game with the entire opposing team focused on stopping him is a guy you want in your corner moving forward. The playoffs also showed that Thomas can’t carry the Celtics by himself, but that was never in question. Of course, the foundation isn’t strong enough if Isaiah Thomas is the entire foundation; but that’s more an NBA thing than an Isaiah Thomas thing. Paul George is the second-best player in the East, and he couldn’t carry the Pacers either.
Once again, I'd have to agree with Levine's evaluation of Thomas being a building block. I think Thomas is one of the more talented players in the league especially for his size and he definitely showed he's an All-Star caliber player. Is he a superstar? No, but he is a star and you can have him as a 3rd best player on a championship team. A player like that is a foundation player that you use to build a team around. For the Celts to be a championship team, Thomas can't be the best player on the team but he can be ONE of the best on the team.
The third myth deals with the Brooklyn Nets picks:
No. 3: Danny Ainge overrated the Nets’ picks
This argument hit a crescendo last summer after Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge tried to move up from 16 to 9 in the 2015 NBA draft, only to be rebuffed because Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan had a crush on Frank Kaminksy. “These picks aren’t what the Celtics thought they’d be!” people screamed into microphones. “The rest of the league isn’t impressed. The Celtics couldn’t move up seven spots!”
First of all, whether it’s basketball or real life, people have trouble believing in something until they see it. Once they do, they believe it in spades. Last year, the promise of those Nets picks was still in its infancy. The Nets themselves were coming off their third straight postseason appearance. The Hawks had the Nets pick and it was only No. 15. In the big picture, it sure looked like Brooklyn was headed for a cliff but in real time they weren’t there yet. Ainge was selling the future and not the present.
It's always a tough thing to put value on draft picks especially when you don't know what position those picks will be made in. When it comes to Brooklyn's picks, I think they are some of the most valuable picks in the NBA based on the free-fall down the NBA cliff that the Nets are going on. While yes the Celts were willing to deal up last year to take Justise Winslow, I don't think they've overrated their picks. Especially given our chances at being in the Top Three of this years' lottery. The stockpile of picks we have cannot be taken for granted and I'm sure Ainge has a plan on whether to move them or keep them.
The fourth myth talks about the Celts having too many picks:
No. 4: The Celtics have too many picks
The Celtics have eight draft picks this summer (three first rounders/five second rounders), but what they really have is flexibility. They have options. They have the ability to take chances, to invest in some long-range stocks. There aren’t many consequences for whiffing on a second-round pick in the NBA, but there’s so much to gain by finding a diamond in the rough. Boston will have more lines in the water than anyone. Worst-case scenario, who knows, maybe they’ll go the Belichick route and start packaging late second rounders for better future second rounders.
But until the draft ends and Boston’s sitting there with eight new players and nowhere to put them, the draft pick problem simply isn’t a problem.
This is one area where I disagree with Levine as I do think the Celtics have too many draft picks. With eight picks this year, you cannot use every single one of them. You'd literally have to create a new D-League team to put all those picks there with James Young and RJ Hunter. I definitely think the C's will have to trade some of their picks and a trade may involve our top pick, nobody knows as of yet. But one thing is for sure, no way we use all of them. Impossible.
The last myth addresses the Celts success in the playoffs:
No. 5: The Celtics needed to advance to the second round in order for the season to be considered a success.
This one has already been thrown around a few times since the Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks. I’m not totally sure what to say except that I’m quite sure anyone who makes this argument is guilty of at least seven of the following 11 sports sins:
1) Thought Drew Bledsoe should have started over Brady in Super Bowl 36.
2) Thought Jimmy Garoppolo should have started over Tom Brady after the Chiefs game in 2014.
3) Has booed David Ortiz numerous times over the last 14 years.
4) Booed Pedro Martinez numerous times over seven years.
5) Called for Terry Francona’s firing after Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS.
6) Trashes Bill Belichick every year during the first few days of free agency and at least twice every regular season after a correct late game decision plays out poorly.
7) Claims a big-time free agent will never sign with the Celtics.
8) Doesn’t think Isaiah Thomas is a foundation player.
9) Thinks Danny Ainge overrated the Nets’ picks.
10) Is upset at the Celtics for having TOO MANY picks in the 2016 draft.
11) Hated this article, is very glad it’s over.
I'm a little conflicted on the Celtics getting bounced out by the Hawks in six games, especially after seeing the Cavs absolutely dismantle the Hawks in a sweep. Do I think the Celts would have beaten the Cavaliers in the second round? No, but do I think the C's would have put up a tougher fight than the Hawks, absolutely yes. I am also disappointed that Avery Bradley went down and we never saw the team at full health in the playoffs. With AB, I think the green would have taken out the Hawks in six games and then would've given Cleveland a six or seven game series, with us coming out on the short end. Now would I say us bowing out in six games to Atlanta is a disappointment? Yes, but is the season a failure, no.
The Celtics are building towards something great and with the most important offseason in a long time approaching, the excitement will continue to build as the Celts look to return towards the top of the NBA.
Image Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Follow Kevin Yazhari @KevKevYazhari Kevin Yazhari 5/09/2016 04:24:00 PM Tweet Edit