Your Morning Dump… Where the Celtics are an Italian Sports Car


Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

Stevens has to figure out how to squeeze Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier into the guard rotation, while also finding fair minutes for rookie Jaylen Brown in a tight frontcourt group.

The C’s went 10 deep in Wednesday’s 108-101 loss to the Spurs, and while that’s not a big number, the allotment of playing time will be an issue.

“That’s a good problem to have,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, “and it’s a problem we need through the course of a long season.

“There are waves of opportunities that come and go throughout the year, but ultimately we need all those guys.”

Boston Herald

In the early 1960s, Carroll Shelby approached Ford Motor Company and said he wanted their help putting an American V8 engine in a British roadster.

The resultant car, the Cobra, was a blunt instrument. It was blindingly fast in straight lines and it cornered like an ocean liner. It was front heavy, the rear suspension was a couple steps removed from a hay wagon, and it was amazing.

It was an incredibly simple machine. Take care of the engine and basically the whole rest of the car could fall apart and you’d still be able to blow the doors off most people. As long as you had brakes, more or less, you were good.

You’ve seen basketball teams like the Cobra. The Cavs, when LeBron was there the first time, were like the Cobra. LeBron was the engine, and basically it didn’t matter what the rest of the car looked like. That engine was going to get you places.

Ford helped Shelby build the Cobra because they were ticked off at Ferrari. Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari had a handshake deal that would’ve combined the two companies and Enzo backed out at the last minute, using language that got under Hank the Deuce’s skin. Bad.

The motto at Ford subsequently became “If you can’t join ’em, beat ’em.”

I’m a Ford guy myself. But I’ll be the first to admit that the cars Ferrari built in the 60s were gorgeous. And they were amazing as well. Single overhead cam V-12 engines, independent suspension, and a body that was designed to work with the engine, balancing the car’s weight evenly between the front wheels and the back.

Those Ferraris were almost always faster on a track than the Cobras. They were easier to drive fast and easier to drive period. They weren’t always faster than the Cobras on straightaways, but they were consistently faster on an entire lap.

However: Ask anyone who ever had to work on them, and they’ll tell you just how fussy those cars were. They were more fragile than the Cobras. It took a long time to set up a Ferrari for a race because there were so many things to be adjusted. But once those settings were dialed in, a Ferrari was something else.

That’s where the Celtics are right now.

They may not be a ‘Cobra’, they may not have that one dependable piece that can do it all, and from a simple set of plays. But in the NBA teams that aren’t well balanced don’t win titles very often.

This Italian sports car type team can do amazing things–but they need to be attuned to each other and in sync with each other. And that’s only going to happen with minutes. The longer this team can play together healthy, the better it’s going to be. The key is that you don’t bail out or panic right now. You focus on the really good stretches that you’ve seen and realize that there is nothing preventing this team, as it gets more reps together, from expanding those stretches into game changing runs.

BTW: For those comparing Pop to Stevens–remember that Popovich got Duncan in his second season on the bench, and he’s got like 17 years more experience coaching than Stevens–and between them he still has a more talented team. Of course the Spurs are going to out-execute the Celtics most of the time.

Page 2: Does Danny overvalue his players?

“Boston’s interesting in that [they have] some good young players, they have draft picks they can put in deals and they have some veterans that hold some interest in places,” Wojnarowski said. “I do wonder sometimes if Boston might overvalue some of the players they have compared to what the rest of the league sees in them. I think Marcus Smart might be starting to fall into that category. His name’s been in some talks previously, and they’ve been pretty careful about who they’d give him up for.”


Okay, here’s why a smart GM will often appear to ‘overvalue’ his players (and you saw this back when Golden State wouldn’t trade Klay Thompson for Kevin Love, so I’m not just drawing off the Danny Ainge playbook here).

There are tiny deals that a GM may make because they get little bits that can sweeten other deals. Maybe a team will take on a chunk of salary because it comes with a second round pick–that kind of thing. Other times you do a deal because someone’s going to do the deal, and you might as well be the guy who helps out another GM–even when that GM is Pat Riley (ugh), because doing someone a solid might pay off down the road.

But when you’re looking at dealing a major piece of your team, or even a rotation player or a combination of rotation players, you want to be certain that what you’re getting back will make your team better. In a ’50/50′ pitch, where you’re not sure if you’re going to make your team better, you pass on the deal. And because you won’t give what another team considers ‘fair value’ (bearing in mind that the other team also wants to ‘win’ the trade), then they’re going to complain to their surrogates in the media that you’re ‘overvaluing’ your players. But you’re not. You’re just saying, basically, ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.’

Finally: Craig Sager, in his own words

Feeling the magnitude of the moment, I RAN OUT ONTO THE FIELD without thinking and met Aaron as he rounded the bases between third base and home. (Editor’s note: Sager enters the picture in his trench coat at the one-minute mark of the video below.)

I captured history with recordings from his breathless teammate Tom House (“Here’s the ball, Henry, here’s the ball”), his crying mother (“I knew he’d do it…ohhhh…I knew he’d do it”) and an emotionally spent Aaron (“Thank you…thank you…thank you…I just thank God it’s all over”).


The rest of the links:

Craig Sager stuff:

Boston Herald: Turner: Colorful NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager, 65, dies

MassLive: Longtime NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager dies at 65 after battle with cancer

Celtics stuff:

MassLive: Boston Celtics news: Kemba Walker out for Charlotte Hornets (personal issue) Report: Celtics ‘might overvalue some of the players they have’

CSNNEHas Jaylen Brown surpassed Celtics fans expectations? | Is Danny Ainge overvaluing the Celtics assets? | Thomas on charity event: ‘Trying to do the best possible job I can to help out’ | Isaiah Thomas will return to Celtics lineup Friday vs. Hornets | How does the rest of the league view Danny Ainge and Celtics player values?

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