Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
I’m among those who believe the Celtics should have made a move to pick up a shooter for the bench, if not at the trade deadline then now among available free agents.
Specifically, I’m thinking a veteran like Jamal Crawford would fit the bill nicely and that it would be worth giving up one of the kids to get someone who could be your P.J. Brown for this playoff run.
Clearly, however, Danny Ainge is of a different mind. He wouldn’t speak directly of Crawford, but he’s certainly not enamored of the available stock of buyouts and those returning early from overseas commitments.
“It’s my impression that they’re rarely as good as people think they are,” Ainge told the Herald. “A lot of people, including myself and coaches and players, think that a player is still what he was two or three years prior or that he can return to a time of (when he was a) better player. But there’s always a reason why players are available.”
The Celtics are going to be short-handed again tonight against the Jazz. Brown and Hayward are both out with dings.
And, as in the past, some will point to the Celtics’ lack of bench scoring and wonder why the C’s didn’t upgrade that weakness.
But there are three complicating factors to consider:
- The C’s don’t have an open roster spot
- Offense is only half the game
- You have to consider who was available
Taking them from top to bottom, let’s look at the first complication: The Celtics not only lack an open roster spot, meaning they would definitely have to cut someone in order to pick up a player on the buyout market, but back at the trade deadline, that also came into play: Trades between teams with full rosters get complicated very quickly–if a team doesn’t want to take back the player you’re willing to send out, you have to find a third team.
Also, this variation of the C’s hasn’t reached their full potential yet. Cutting a young player to pick up a rental for a few months would be one thing if the C’s best players were all on the far side of 30, but they’re not.
On the second point, the C’s, with their starters in good health, are Finals contenders. If they’re not, then they aren’t. It’s that simple. It’s also true that the starters are contributing a lot more offense than what would be considered ideal. But as long as you’ve got good defenders coming off the bench, you can find a mix of starters and bench guys that gives you 48 minutes of good play at both ends of the court. What the C’s expect from their starters and bench would not necessarily work on another team, but it works for them when the starters are healthy. And that’s the contingency the C’s have to prepare for, because if any of the starters miss major time during the playoffs, the C’s prospects get a lot muddier. Again, it’s not the lack of bench depth that muddies the C’s prospects, it’s the question of starter health–and bench depth isn’t really a good substitute for healthy starters.
And then the third problem is that, in a vacuum, it’s easy to say that the C’s should have picked up ‘somebody’, but there are times when the smart money stays on the sidelines. Have you ever gone to a grocery store with the intention of buying some fruit or vegetable, only to find that their stock of that item is well, kind of gross? It’s happened to me a few times with squash and sweet potatoes, and lord knows you always have to be careful buying tomatoes. But the point is, the smart move is to take a pass on bad produce rather than buying it just to buy it.
Like Ainge said yesterday, ‘there’s always a reason why players are available’: The prototypical buyout target is a guy who signed a fat contract with a team that’s shall we say less than ideally managed. Buyer’s remorse sets in soon after and the team eventually pays the guy to go away.
Now this doesn’t mean that the guy’s useless. But it does mean that he’s probably not as good as people think he is. The C’s picked up Greg Monroe a few years ago, when they thought Kyrie Irving would be available throughout the playoffs. We had fun making moose memes, and Monroe wasn’t a total wash, but he also wasn’t a difference-maker.
Of course, C’s fans mention P.J. Brown whenever buyout conversations get started, but guys, that was twelve seasons ago. There’s a reason why everybody remembers P.J. Brown: He was an exception. And by definition, you can’t expect to get exceptional players.
Page 2: Where Marcus dodged a bullet
Thursday morning, the NBA announced that is fining Smart $35,000 “for confronting and verbally abusing the game officials” following the Celtics’ overtime loss against the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday. The league’s announcement also noted that the fine reflected Smart’s history as a repeat offender for this type of conduct.
Smart blew up at officials at the end of the game vs. the Nets after disagreeing heavily with a foul in the final seconds of regulation that granted Brooklyn three free throw attempts, sending the game into overtime. Smart was ultimately escorted away by team security after the incident with official John Noble.
Smart is making progress. And while I wish he were making progress more quickly, he is at least putting forth a noticeable effort to improve.
What Smart needs to realize is that there’s a point, past which, complaining about the officiating becomes selfish.
I honestly don’t think he realizes this. Smart’s a team-first guy. I don’t think there’s a player on the team who cares less about his individual stats. However, he has a tendency to go on these campaigns for respect when he feels that the officials aren’t treating him fairly.
And you know what? They probably aren’t.
But when you complain and complain and complain, you’re not making things any easier for your team. Making winning plays involves more than just diving for loose balls.
Sometimes it means learning when you should keep your mouth shut and your hands to yourself.