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.
M.L. Carr knows the feeling of purposely running a ship aground. He was at the helm in 1996-97 as both coach and director of basketball operations, guiding the Celtics to a 15-67 record and by far the most chances in the Tim Duncan Sweepstakes, as the NBA draft lottery was then known.
But where you may think Carr is having cold-sweat flashbacks as he watches the current Celts lose their way into a higher draft pick, he is actually quite bullish on these Bostonians.
“I like three very distinct things that I see with the Celtics,” said Carr, now a businessman who may yet find his way back into the sporting realm. “One is having Brad Stevens as coach. Brad has got a long NBA life ahead of him. He’s young, he’s smart and he’s been successful at the college level.
“I think he started out with the trust of Danny (Ainge) and now he’s got the trust of Celtic Nation. He’s in a position to see this from where it is today moving forward. He’s got the perfect demeanor, and I wouldn’t have guessed that. Very few college coaches can come up here and do what he’s already done. And he isn’t inheriting a great team. He’s getting a team that’s at its very lowest level since I was there.”
Even with our absurd stockpile of draft picks and our young talent (Sullinger, Olynyk, Bradley), almost every person asked to comment on the Celtics’ future begins with Brad Stevens. If you take a look at NBA coaches around the league: Mike Brown in Cleveland, Larry Drew in Milwaukee, even Rick Adelman in Minnesota (to name a few) — you get a sense that the Celtics were incredibly smart and lucky to take time scouting for a great coach instead of settling on a middling guy who had head coaching experience in the NBA. Surely guys can sometimes only be as good as their team, like Doc Rivers’ swing between 2006-2008, but seeing a rookie coach step in and make steady, tangible progress in a season destined for putridity is a pretty damn nice sight.
“The second thing I like is that you can never question Danny, because Danny always figures out how to get to the top,” he said. “You’ve just got to give him patience. If you do that, he’ll get you there. Just look at all the things he’s done in his career. He’s always successful. It may not be by the book. It may not be what they teach you in school. But in the end, he’ll get results, because Danny’s a results-driven person.
“The decision he made with Brad, I would never have taken that chance. But then you look at Brad and you say, oh, my gosh, this kid’s got tremendous upside as a coach. He communicates well. I can see his passion. He’s as eager as his players are to learn.
“And you just don’t bet against Danny. Danny will figure it out. There should be a great draft no matter where they finish and how they do in the lottery, but you also have to think there’s going to be some maneuvering. I’m sure Danny’s working it.”
I’m sure Boston Celtics’ fans aren’t the only group who refers to their GM as someone they can trust, but the saying “In Danny we trust” really does describe our situation well. We were skeptical way back when, when he traded Antoine Walker shortly after taking the job in Boston. But Danny’s proven that he knows how to get it done, one way or the other, and we’ll continue to trust him this summer. I do hope M.L.’s right and there’s going to be some “maneuvering” done around draft night. If we intend on keeping both of our picks, I’d like to see the C’s try to move their second pick up a little and try to grab a guy like Gary Harris or Doug McDermott. That’s just a personal opinion, though whatever Danny has in mind likely doesn’t involve stocking up on rookie and sophomore talent, so I won’t be holding my breath for too many young guys.
“The third thing the Celtics have is something that some teams might not have in a situation like this — the fans,” he said. “The Boston fans realize where the team is. They’ve been through it. I think they’ll be patient with the process. They’ve seen Danny take it to a championship. They saw him make some tough decisions this year. Remember when we had the original Big Three? It was hard letting go. But Danny did what was best for the team, and it ended up working out well for the players.
“The reality of it is that this is not a five-year rebuilding program. This is going to be done pretty quick. I really believe that. He’s got the coach in place and you’ve got Danny in place. Now you need things to break right. A lot depends on the pick and the maneuvering. The ping-pong balls play a part, but I think they have the other things in place.”
I hope it’ll be a quick rebuild, but you can never tell. It is nice to know that our assets make this year’s draft less of a do-or-die and more like a first chance at getting a whole lot better. If we slide in the tankings, and strike out with the eight or ninth pick, we’ll be right back again drafting top talent next year. Team’s like Philadelphia and Milwaukee may have a better chance to get a cornerstone guy now, but their ability to become contenders rests on a lot more unknown. Philly’s got young talent and an opportunity to add more — but they’ve installed a losing culture with no veteran guidance and they’ve traded away actual talent for cap space and second-rounders; even with the top pick, Milwaukee would still be several pieces away from even making the playoffs. Boston may swing and miss on this draft, or maybe we’ll strike gold, but our brick foundation and safe assets make the outlook a lot better. M.L. Carr realizes that, and he realizes the fans realize that.
Boston Herald – Tanks for the memories
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