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.
But ask the veterans on a team that has been tagged to lose, and the subject is grating, going against the way most professional athletes are wired.
“I don’t know about that,” said Celtics forward Gerald Wallace, who has played in this kind of environment before, specifically as part of the 2004-05 Bobcats. “We only won (18) games, and there was talk of losing to get higher up in the draft, but we wanted to win every game, play hard every game, and try to prove ourselves in this league. Nobody wants to lose, regardless of what the coach or the organization wants to do.”
That hasn’t changed, even if Wallace has often been withering in criticism of his new Celtics teammates.
“Nah. These guys don’t want to lose,” he said.
Celtics swingman Keith Bogans started the season by saying he only knows how to play to win, and doesn’t sense a difference in anyone else in that regard.
“I come to work here every day, and I know what is going on,” he said. “I don’t feel like any of the 14 guys here, plus the coaches, are trying to tank the season. I don’t see that as being part of the process.”
Boston Herald - Players, coaches not willing lottery pawns
No matter what day it is or what the given topic is surrounding the 2013-2014 edition of the Boston Celtics happens to be, the dreaded “T” word is always referenced. It could be in a joking way or it could be in the “this is the ONLY way to become a contender again” way. There’s no avoiding it and it won’t go away. But as you’d expect, you won’t hear that type of talk from the players no matter how the roster in constructed (or deconstructed). And really, nobody wants players like that on their team. Deep down you don’t really want anyone in your organization really thinking that way, do you? Sure human nature could get the mind dancing (like it did for so many on Tuesday night during those NCAA games). And if that strategy is looming over this organization, you won’t hear of it… at least publicly:
“My players and coaches are doing their jobs,” Ainge said. “The draft is no incentive (for losing) whatsoever. But the way our team has been playing pretty much answers that question — it takes care of things. The teams that try (to lose) will be exposed in the long haul, because they’ll lose. I think it’s more talk than anything else.”
Though Ainge won’t point fingers, he does admit that tanking has been done in the past.
“I do have my opinions, but I won’t say what they are,” he said. “The perception is there because it’s been done in the past. It’s what we’ve seen, but I still think it’s rare. I just go about my job with my team, and preparing for the draft.
“What has been fun has been watching our team play. That speaks for itself.”
Ainge, quoted in the same Herald piece, has some interesting things to say. He still maintains that the 2014 draft is being a bit overhyped. But he also basically said that if you mess with the game, the game will mess with you (see 1997, Boston Celtics season). It’s a tricky situation and one that is a tough sell to the players on the court. You definitely don’t want to create the stench of an intentionally losing atmosphere with the players you have. These guys are like you and I: word will get out and they’ll talk among their peers of how the team wanted to tank. But then the question becomes: well, how many of these guys do you plan on keeping here when you are contenders again anyway? The hardcore tanker can easily say: “hey look, the tanking in 2007 had ZERO effect the next year since they barely had any of those guys left and ya know, WON THE TITLE!”
It happened here and it eventually happened in Miami when they ‘tanked’ for free agents. The stench was gone as soon as LeBron said he was taking his talents to South Beach. The Celtics will have enough struggles against the better teams in the league but have already showed us that they will play hard. And if they’re better than expected well according to “insiders” and “experts” they plan on trading out of the playoffs anyway. It’s only mid-November and it’s already been a crazy season.
The rest of the links: