When I was a kid, I learned that if you don’t have something nice to say about someone, then you shouldn’t say anything at all. I think that’s why I’ve actively avoided writing about the Boston Celtics as long as I’ve had this column. That, and I just flat-out stopped caring.
Sorry Cs, but I can’t resist. Sometimes a fed-up, beaten-down fan suffering through another painful New England winter just needs to blow off some steam. Don’t take what I’m about to say personally, OK? I promise not to dump on you for the rest of the season, no matter how many more games you lose.
As much as it hurts me to say this about what has traditionally one of the NBA’s proudest franchises, this season’s Boston Celtics are an abomination — an embarrassingly poor team that has become unwatchable. I’ve seen my share of bad Celtics teams — last year’s club and the 2006-2007 squad that lost 18 in a row come to mind — but this one might take the cake. This “team,” if you can even call it that, is a joke, and not the funny kind.
Last year the Celtics were terrible, tanking their way to a 25-57 record. This year’s team is even worse, at least in terms of talent. General manager Danny Ainge has completely gutted the roster, trading away star point guard Rajon Rondo and top scorer Jeff Green. Remove a bad team’s two best players and what do you get? A god-awful excuse for a basketball team. I don’t even recognize half of the names on the current roster. Where did they come from and how did they get here? Does it even matter when they’re clearly just placeholders until the next contending Celtics team comes along?
I feel bad for head coach Brad Stevens. I really do. He seems to be a smart enough and nice enough guy doing the best he can. It’s not his fault that he doesn’t have the personnel to beat a high school team, let alone a legitimate NBA team. A coach can only do so much from the sidelines, because at the end of the day it’s up to his players to execute on the court. The Celtics haven’t executed, especially during crunch time.
What’s even worse about this whole debacle is that, with a bit of luck, it wouldn’t have happened at all. In an alternate universe, Boston would actually be a contender this year. If those dumb lottery balls had bounced a different way, then the Celtics would have been the ones who traded rookie Andrew Wiggens for Kevin Love. If Boston had gotten Love, Ainge wouldn’t have dealt Rondo and Green, because that team would actually be going somewhere. If only Kevin Love had become a Celtic. If only.
The only consolation is that this train-wreck of a season will net Boston more high draft picks, which will hopefully bring in some real talent. The Celtics are rebuilding, and their loyal fans have been assured that in a few short years Boston will be good again, but right now, we must suffer. We must follow a team that has almost no chance of winning on any given night, unless they’re matched up against the New York Knicks or Philadelphia 76ers, who have somehow managed to be even more pathetic than Boston this year. We must continue cheering for mediocre stand-ins like Evan Turner, Tayshaun Prince and Phil Pressey. Worst of all, we have to keep rooting for them to lose.