|Posted by GeeZeeCeltics on December 28, 2012 at 8:35 AM|
We've been here before.
This loss to the Clippers feels like a boiling point. It's hard to say what's going to happen in the immediate future, but it feels mighty similar to last year's "good" loss against OKC right before the All-Star break. After that one, the Celtics went on their inspiring run that was cut short in the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Just like last year, there's a lot of people very disappointed with the goings on of the team. Many are requesting a trade for a big man, most notably DeMarcus Cousins. And, just like last year, I don't exactly know what to think. On one hand, I see that this team keeps heavily underachieving. On the other hand, I want to give them the chance to atone for their weak start.
Of course, that 2011-12 team proved every doubter wrong by honoring Ainge's trust in them. There were a lot of rumors last year at the trade deadline, and Ray was even supposedly traded, but, at the end of the day, Danny decided to stay put. It paid back in spades, and has had an impact that stretches beyond just the playoff run. Because of that season, Garnett is still playing and Ainge opted not to blow the team up this summer.
And yet we're back to square one. The team looks old, Rondo and Pierce still can't really find a way to efficiently run the offense and all of them are just disinterested. The vaunted defense is nowhere to be seen. However, we've seen them show glimpses of greatness, times when the team shows us what they're capable of -- very much like the 2011-12 squad did -- but is it enough?
It is a question that we will only be able to answer in retrospect. But I think this team will remain largely as it is, and there's a rational reason behind it all. At the beginning of the season, a lot of fans praised Ainge for putting the Celtics in a position where they had a puncher's chance at a title while also not sacrificing their future. Indeed - down the road we have a locked core of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger and Courtney Lee (and Bass). Coincidentally, exactly these names (well, sans Rondo) are the ones most often mentioned in trade talks among fans. I don't really thing Ainge would be ready to just throw away his version of the C's future for someone like DeMarcus Cousins, who is a huge risk and could lose it the minute Garnett retires, or even never become mature and just be a toxic influence in the locker room.
One must keep in mind that this team is not built solely for this year. That is why I think Ainge will stick with this team, probably escorted by angry posts on message boards by Celtics fans around the globe. And yet I find myself agreeing with him, much like last year. The bigger question, though - will the Celtics rise from the dead once more to prove Danny right? Or will they remain a .500 team this time around, prompting great change in the offseason? To be fair, it's impossible to answer that right now. We know they have it in them. We also know they haven't been able to consistently prove it so far.
So what options do we really have? I don't know about the rest of you, but I can't bring myself to count out a team with Kevin Garnett on it. And I won't, because last year it worked out just fine. There's nothing that says it will once more. And yet I believe, because the core of this team has been in those battles and knows what it takes.
And so I continue to blindly believe. I've been called delusional and whatnot for it, but it has worked out for me so far. Very well, even. As they say, if it ain't broken, don't fix it.
The larger question, though - if the Celtics are broken, do they need fixing in the form of a trade? Do we change our course now? Or do we repeat last years leap of faith?
There is only one man who will get to answer that question. Good luck, Danny Ainge.