Danny Ainge is a lucky ass
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on June 18, 2008
The Celtics trashing the Lakers in game 6 for their 17th title made last night a lil’ bit sour.
Italy had previously dominated archrival France in the European championship (2-0), so it was overall a good sports day. Still, it sucks that Boston won. I hate the Celtics (hey, just as much as I hate the Lakers…) and I hate the fact that Ainge’s “plan” at the end worked.
With this sour grapes/rant/typical Sixers fan post I will try to prove some points of the theory expressed in the title. Fellow Celtics haters will perhaps like this, Celtics fans will love it even more because it shows how much we all are envious. You see, it’s a win-win situation (LOL) in which everybody is happy, so let’s start.
PREMISES: I admit I hate the Celtics but I like individually almost all of the Celtics players. Pierce has always been among my fav players (I always try to forget he could have been a Sixer…), same for James Posey, I like Ray Allen – because I like shooters in general - I always loved PJ Brown. I am not a great fan of Garnett but I never argued his greatness.
This said, I rooted for them to lose, because… well, because they play for the Celtics ! And be careful, as a poster on the Sixers board correctly said, there is a huge difference bewtbeen BEING A CELTIC (Bird, Mc Hale, Ainge, Pierce etc) and PLAYING FOR THE CELTICS (Allen, Garnett, Posey, Cassell etc).
More: Celtics won, they deserved the title, they were the best team this year. So they are right in any case. Not saying another team could/should have won, ok? This post doesn’t really want to take anything from them but simply point out that EVERYTHING WENT IN THE BEST WAY FOR BOSTON THIS YEAR, and that luck played a big part on its success. It usually happens when you win a title… Some examples:
1) NO MAJOR INJURIES
Five Celtics starters played 129 of their 130 playoffs games (99,2%), with the only Kendrick Perkins missing one. In the regular season, they played 379 of 410 games (92,4%) but the pct should be higher because Pierce (80/82) got two nights off at the end of the regular season (wins @ NY and @ Cha, so it could have been a perfect 82/82), same for Ray Allen (73/82 that could have been 75/82) and Kevin Garnett (71/82 that could have been 73/82). Garnett was the only one to suffer a pretty serious injury, that costed him nine games from January to February.
So counting only the Big Three and not counting the DNP-CDs, it’s a total of 226/240 games, that’s 94% !!!! Rondo missed five regular season games (but one was a night off, 77/82), Perkins missed four (78/82).
Now I’m too lazy to go check other teams’ stats in detail – and I wasn’t among the ones wishing Garnett & co some injuries… – but, just to randomly name some key players of playoffs teams, Laker Andrew Bynum played only 35 games, Yao Ming 55, and they both missed the post season, while Mc Grady reached 66. Feel free to add more.
2) UNEXPECTED BLOSSOMINGS
Ok, we all know and knew that the Big Three were damn good, but RAJON RONDO PLAYING LIKE THIS ???? C’mon, he showed only some flashes in a 24 W team last year, he was behind Telfair and Delonte West in the rotation for most of the season.
He exceeded everybody’s expectation, let’s be honest, I’m not buying any “I knew he was THAT good” bullshit. More power to him, of course, I take my hat off. He was a key player, playing in a key spot. Celtics started him because THEY HAD TO, there simply weren’t other options ! And there wasn’t a real back up either, until they signed Cassell.
Similar thoughs, only at a lower level and with lesser efficiency, could be made for Perkins and Leon Powe, who also exploded for impressive games in pivotal wins: a 18 + 16 game 5 vs Detroit for Perkins, a 21-points-in-15-minutes game 2 vs Lakers for Powe.
But while Powe’s game should be ranked among the Scott Wedman-type of nights that any scrub can occasionally have in the strange world of the NBA playoffs – and that make real fans love this game even more, after all – Rondo and Perkins were from ‘good’ to ‘f’n good’ all year long. My point: they played better than anybody could imagine, and with “anybody” I’m including Ainge, Rivers and themselves. I’m 100% convinced of this.
3) SEQUENCE OF THE “PLAN”
I’m also 100% convinced that when Ainge got Ray Allen – a move that was made ONLY to please Pierce, who asked for some help from some veterans in order to stay in Boston, remember… - he wasn’t sure he could really trade for Garnett. Maybe he had HOPES of getting him, ok, but other teams had them as well.
While I could buy the theory that the following signings of House and, mostly, Posey were really part of the plan: after you get two all stars of that level, it’s easier to convince role players to join your team. Honestly I wasn’t impressed by Ainge’s moves until he got Posey. That was a turning point to me and maybe not coincidentially Posey played a HUGE part in Boston’s winning season, especially in the playoffs.
PJ Brown and Sam Cassell were important as well: try to tell me that Ainge was thinking about them last summer and I will jump off a bridge.
4) PURE LUCK
Basketball gods wasted no time in showing they were on Celtics’ side this year. Remember the unbelievable last second win @ Charlotte at the beginning of the season, when Bobcats inbounded the ball to… Ray Allen for the game winner, or another unlikely one-point W, at home vs the mighty Minnesota T’Wolves (uh…) when, to quote the same Doc Rivers, “We were lucky to win… it didn’t look like it was going to happen”. Minnesota simply gave away the game in the final.
Not saying Boston won the ring because of those two reg season games, of course, I’m only saying nights like those are often decisive in helping building chemistry and confidence in a brand new team.
I could go on but it’s better to stop here before looking like a complete moron (LOL).
Celtics won the title, congreatulations, well deserved, again.
But don’t tell me it was because of a specific smart “plan” by Danny Ainge.
He made a couple of (desperate ?) moves to try to save his job and rolled the dice. He won, and he will be remembered in the books as the “architect of the greatest turnaround of NBA history”, bla bla bla… so he’s right. But good GMs (Jerry West, RC Buford, Joe Dumars etc) are something different.
He’s no genius, he’s mainly a lucky ass.
Next season, please.
(on a side note, I would like to thank my boy James Posey and all Celtics for showing that Kobe Bryant’s MVP trophy was another joke by the League…)