The Celtics are happy to have the fans' full support this year
Regardless of your opinions on tanking, its hard to dispute that it's way more fun rooting for another team to lose games than your own.
Jared Sullinger would agree.
In an article from the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett, Sully recalls the lack of support from a large percentage of Celtics nation over the last couple years and how those tankologists have quickly transitioned into full supporters this season:
“There’s a buzz around the city of us making the playoffs again and making a louder noise with core guys we’ve got here and the guys we’ve added,” said Sullinger. And it’s nicer, too, when your fans aren’t conflicted. “It’s always reassuring when our fans are behind us 100 percent instead of just 75 percent. So it’s awesome.”
For the record, I was never one to encourage the Celtics to lose. I absolutely refuse to root against the team that I've been supporting since my early youth and I'm a firm believer that tanking does absolutely nothing to improve a team's future (see Philadelphia 76ers).
Tommy Heinsohn said it best when he was asked about the topic during the Celtics' down year in 2013-14:
And he's 100% right. The last number one pick to lead the team that drafted him to a championship was Tim Duncan. Timmy was drafted 18 years ago.
Basically, the risk to reward ratio for tanking is absolutely atrocious. There's a much better chance that finishing at the bottom of the league will help to develop a losing culture rather than a winning one.
If you want to be a competitive team, play your ass off every night and good things will happen.
Fortunately, the Celtics are in a situation this year where they can make the playoffs and still get a lottery pick so we don't have to listen to a bunch of jabronis explain to us how we can benefit from sucking.
Thanks to the genius of Danny Ainge, we now get to root for the Nets to suck. Now that's a tanking philosophy that I can get behind, and the C's are pretty excited about it themselves:
These guys remember last season when people would approach them in restaurants, smile and say, “I’m not sure if I’m happy when you win.”
“We came across that, but we handled it,” said Jared Sullinger as the Celtics hoped to recreate Friday’s 25-point win and enhance the Nets’ lottery chances. “We X’d it out. People don’t understand that, at the end of the day, it’s about pride. We’ve got pride, and we want to win basketball games.”
According to Evan Turner, the Celtics fans rooting for losses last year weren't nearly as bad as what he went through as a member of one of the Sixers' many shitty teams over the past few years:
“This was easy here,” said Evan Turner. “I was in Philadelphia where they were so vocal about it. You’d show up to the game and they’d be screaming, ‘Tank!’ and chanting Andrew Wiggins’ name. I didn’t pay much attention to what was going on with all that here last year, but I just know it was nothing compared to having a whole crowd chanting a kid’s name. It was kind of sick.”
I can't imagine what it's like being a fan in Philadelphia right now, but I'm absolutely thrilled that our team isn't taking that same route. Sucking sucks, plain and simple.