The 5th pick.
After all the Celtics had been through, the Celtics had gotten the 5th pick.
Danny Ainge had been ridiculed for his so-called "5 year plan," which we're pretty sure didn't include a #1 or #2 pick after year 4. The blame raining on the team and its coach was starting to splash onto him. On top of it all, his superstar had had enough of a decade's worth of not winning, and was starting think it would never happen here. Something had to be done.
There's no need to go into detail about the trades. We know what the trades were. But a lot of GM's wouldn't have traded away the amount of players that Danny did. They see it as some kind of admission that the plan didn't work. Ultimately, however, that usually just leads to more mistakes as GM's try to cover the stench of their rotting plans.
So Danny had enough guts to make just about everyone available. He also had enough of a head on his shoulders to make sure Rajon Rondo was NOT available. That's just as important as the deals that were done. Danny knew what he had in his young point guard, and he knew that keeping him was key to this team's success. Its easy to say "everyone's trade bait" and just start shuffling pieces off here and there to make it look like you're doing something. It's another to actually come up with a plan B and know what needs to be done to make it happen.
Yes, Danny made a name for himself with the trades he did (and didn't) make… but he built a champion with his free agent signings. The plan came together when James Posey came into the fold. Our identity as a defensive team that could make you pay on the offensive end became clear with the Posey signing. The Eddie House signing gave us an offensive option that destroyed teams that decided to collapse on defense. And in the end, when we knew we needed just a little more help, he coaxed PJ Brown out of retirement.
And as we head into the NBA draft in just a matter of days… don't we all feel very comfortable letting the man who essentially stole Leon Powe and Big Baby make the pick? Aren't we ok with the man who locked onto Rajon Rondo from the beginning… even when we didn't really know what he was about… making a selection in a spot that many consider a throw-away?
Danny has shown no fear for doing the unpopular (Doc Rivers extension anyone?) when he knew it would be best for the team. Yes, he's made mistakes, but he made up for them by being willing to change course when he had to. And for that, Danny, we appreciate the job you've done in helping us achieve the ultimate goal… an NBA title.
The daily links are few and far between. But I'd like to call attention to this quote… which was emailed to me by a few people. It comes from Paul Pierce:
"Life has so many hurdles. Some of them I've hopped over, and some of them I've tripped over. The key is to get back up and finish the race."
That'll end up in some email and forum signatures. Hey… if you got an extra $8,000 lying around… you can own Paul Pierce's game 1 jersey.
Also out there: Minnesota can shape the entire draft | Is Anthony Parker ditching the NBA for Europe? | Stephen A. Smith is bad at draft analysis | Which might be why he's been pulled | And check out the latest Carnival of the NBA.