It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on in the NBA when trades make no sense and a team seems to be floundering when they should have actually had a fair chance at doing something great. The Celtics have for a long time been a favored team in their hometown and a group that could pose a legitimate threat to opponents if they were to pull their game together and present a solid front. But for some reason Danny Ainge’s tactics have a lot of people scratching their heads and wondering just who’s running the show when it comes to keep and assembling the team and addressing their need for star players.
The Paul George debate
It was assumed that the Celtics were going to go after Paul George with all they have to offer a star player. They have the team, the coach, and the environment in which George could thrive. So why didn’t they go after him? A lot of it is tied to the rumor that the Pacers weren’t going to trade George to the East anyway, so that would have left Boston out of the mix without any chance of contending. Then there was the idea that even if they could entice George to come over to their side of the court there was still the chance that offering whatever they could wouldn’t have gained them what they wanted. Dropping all your chips on one player isn’t often a good idea unless you’re confident, as the Celtics should be, that you have a strong team moving forward and won’t need any more talent. That’s something that few if any teams have ever been able to bank on.
The Celtics are still in good standing.
While it’s not likely that they’ll get George they have other assets such as Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. They also have Isiah Thomas and Al Horford. Not going for broke on George simply means that you might be able to get more picks and the chance to develop an up and coming start into a the caliber of player that Paul George represents so well. It’s lamentable that it seems as though George might be expressing a desire to play for the Lakers, but it could easily work out to the Celtics advantage considering that they can use their picks and their funds a little wiser and bank on a fresh young player that could easily be developed in the coming years.
So all in all the draft wasn’t a total bust, but it was indeed a head scratcher. Many feel that the Celtics didn’t come out of it looking particularly good, but this is largely because they went for quantity over quality as they are no doubt seeking the next superstar for a team that is already well respected in the sport and has a good chance of moving forward as a dominant force in the East. To fans and casual observers alike it might seem odd to see the Celtics pass up on a strong player like George, but this could mean that they’re looking further ahead than others care to see right now.
*Update, now we know what they’re doing! Gordan Heyward.