Since the Boston Celtics traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets on June 27th, the average Celtics fan have called for the team to tank the 2013-’14 season.
After watching the Michigan State-Kentucky and Duke versus Kansas games on Tuesday night, it is difficult to cheer for the Celtics. Kentucky’s Julius Randle along with Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker of Duke all showed why they are highly touted freshmen on a big stage.
The Celtics should not lose the rest of their games and Celtics’ fans should not cheer for the team to fall to the bottom of the league.
There is only a 25% chance that the team with the worst record in the NBA is granted the top selection in the NBA Draft. The league prevents teams from tanking. There have been plenty of teams that tried, but many have been unsuccessful.
The 1996-’97 Celtics finished with a 15-67 record. Tim Duncan was a surefire NBA superstar and the Celtics had the best chance of landing the first pick. In the Lottery, the Celtics ended up with the third and fifth choices while the San Antonio Spurs were able to take Duncan. Then the Celtics drafted Chauncey Billups with the third pick and Ron Mercer. Billups was traded during his rookie season and Mercer lasted just two-plus seasons with the Celtics. He was out of the league before he reached the age of 30.
The 2014 NBA Draft could be loaded with talent. Unlike previous years, the Celtics don’t need to get the number one pick because they can get a premium player later in the draft. Many fans want Wiggins, but with Rajon Rondo’s contract ending in 2015, the Celtics could use a point guard like Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State or Michigan State’s Keith Appling.
Another reason is the underdog story. The Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns were expected to finish with less than 20 wins. Yet, both the Sixers and Suns are atop their standings right now. The season is still young and the good teams will separate from the bottom feeders as the year goes on. There are many people who complain that the NBA is too redundant and only the teams filled with the top players in the league are able to go on a deep postseason run. The league has always given the benefit of the doubt to the superstars in the league. In the 1960′s, the rivalry between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain dominated the decade. Then the 1980′s belonged to Larry Bird and Magic Johnson before the 90′s brought the dominance of Michael Jordan. If these Cinderella teams can continue their success, then this could create more excitement. Instead of watching LeBron James dominate the rest of the league, there could be two starless teams on a magical run in May. This is why we watch sports and it is why the NCAA Tournament is such a huge success.
It is early in the season and the Celtics are 4-5. Their schedule will get tougher, but the Eastern Conference is weak. They are not a great team, but Brad Stevens will have his players ready to play because these players all have pride. The fans should rally around their team (especially after the 111-110 win over the Miami Heat last Saturday) and leave the personnel decisions to Danny Ainge and his staff.
Enjoy the ebb and flow of this season. If the Celtics do happen to finish in the bottom of the standings, then cheer for them to get the best players possible (Bill Belichick phrase) to put together a championship contender.