I’m not going to lie. I’m tired of hearing about Andrew Wiggins.
He may well be a transcendent talent. He could be worth the suffering of a twenty-something win season. He might be the single piece of the puzzle that could flip the Celtics from “rebuild” to “contender” in a matter of a year or two.
But what is tiresome, at least to me, is the invocation of Wiggins’ name (or Julius Randle’s, or Jabari Parker’s) after every unexpected Celtics win.
Look… I get it. I really do. Just like Gary Washburn said in the quoted section of today’s dump, you’re saying this for the right reasons. You want to do what it takes to get back to the mountain top. You want the Celtics to be relevant again, and you want it to happen now.
But let’s take a step back and understand that wins are just as important to this team’s future as the losses.
First, and most importantly, it’s letting these players know that even though this roster is flawed, there’s no true substitution for hard work and effort every single night. The Miami Heat are 180 degrees from the Celtics in terms of talent right now, but their lack of effort defensively last night opened a door, and the Celtics found a way to bust through it for a win.
That’s important. It’s important to know that when you’re in a fight, you can win when the guy takes you lightly. It’s not exactly great for your confidence when you know the guy you’re fighting is half-assing it, but he still beats the shit out of you. The feeling of “I can’t even beat someone who isn’t even trying to beat me” is a pretty shitty one.
Some of these guys on this roster will be on the roster next year, and the year after that, and maybe for years after that. This kind of confidence will be nice to tote around for all that time.
Secondly, isn’t it nice to see Brad Stevens already getting results? Isn’t it nice to see him have the balls to start a rookie in Kelly Olynyk and go to him for a potential game-tying jumper? Or what about making Gerald Wallace the trigger man even after all he said recently? Gerald hasn’t exactly been the model veteran in interviews, but Stevens stuck with him, and Wallace made a perfect pass.
And what about that play? That was such a good play that guys actually executed. Jeff Green buried a game-winner in LeBron’s face.
Those are all good things!
This is what it sounds like to me when I hear people complaining about wins…
“I need to have plastic surgery so I can be popular and girls will have sex with me.”
“But we’ve been out twice this weekend… and you’ve gotten two girls’ numbers.”
“NO… I CAN’T BE POPULAR OR ATTRACTIVE NOW… THEN PEOPLE WILL THINK I DON’T NEED THE SURGERY!”
Don’t worry, we’ll still need the surgery. This team still has a lot of flaws it needs to correct. The losses the team needs are coming, especially when the league makes note of the fact that it will take an actual effort to beat these guys. The rest of the month’s schedule is still pretty brutal, and the Celtics still have a lot of the same problems they’ve had before.
It might take a while for the water to find its level in the NBA, but that’s not at all uncommon. An if it makes you feel any better, most of these other teams that are supposedly tanking are winning games too. You don’t really think Philly is going to hang around that second-seed in the East for much longer, do you? And the Suns probably won’t finish third in the West.
Bad teams can win a few early games but still end up bad. The Celtics are a lottery team, but they’re a lottery team with the heart and balls to beat you if you take them lightly.
So wouldn’t it be nice to just enjoy what you’re seeing right now? Isn’t this really the best of both worlds, anyway? You get to see some wins here and still, ultimately, end up with a high lottery pick.
Kick back, enjoy this while you can. The rest will take care of itself.