Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

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Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

Post by bobheckler on Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:00 am

http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics/2017/03/bulpett_celtics_have_bigger_goals_than_winning_in_this_year_s_playoffs



Bulpett: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs




Steve Bulpett



Friday, March 31, 2017




Credit: Associated Press
WAKE-UP CALL: Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics got a rude reminder by the Bucks Wednesday night that there are no easy games for the C’s this year.



What if the Celtics get one of the top two or three picks in this June’s draft?

What if they sign a max-level free agent this summer?

What if they make a trade or two that alleviates some of the roster logjam and brings back solid veteran help?

What if Ante Zizic and/or Guerschon Yabusele can contribute as we get deeper into next season?

What if they make themselves into a legitimate threat to be on the schedule in June 2018?

All of which leads to a sixth question: If you’re watching a true contender in Green next year, will you care about what happened in the 2017 playoffs?

With it pretty clear to all but the seriously Green-eyed that these Celts are not where they want or need to be in the grand NBA scheme, there is more and more talk about what they need to accomplish for this to be a “successful” season. That fact is usually raised in the form of “they have to do X, or it will be a failure” is pretty fair evidence that the statement is being made in search of a sizzling take.

Certainly those who follow the club would like to see progress that goes beyond the not-so-insignificant fact that, with one more victory, the C’s will have increased their win total in each of the seasons since the 25-57 dive that followed the dispatching of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. They won 40, then 48 and stand now at 48 with Orlando, the Knicks and Brooklyn still on the schedule.

Then comes the postseason and the presumed need to take a step forward. Injuries hindered them in a six-game loss to Atlanta last season, and they didn’t really belong in the same gym with the Finals-bound Cavaliers in 2015, a 4-0 sweep.

So, yeah, you’d probably want to see the Celts get past the first round this year just for the sake of the optics. When you get past the obvious power of the Cavs, there is simply not a great deal that will separate the rest of the playoff entrants when it comes to talent. Wednesday’s loss to Milwaukee should have hammered home this point. The Celtics aren’t that much better than anybody they will face.

The edge in any East matchup not involving Cleveland will, therefore, come down to matchups and execution. A few missed shots here or there, and the Celts could fade from the postseason by the end of April.

If such is the case, the gnashing of teeth will torch the C’s and their coach as regular season wonders. People will question the makeup of the roster, which will be a rather humorous argument, in that the club had essentially admitted already it is not yet fit to contend.

Then, on May 16, the NBA will conduct its draft lottery and the Celtics will be entertaining top prospects for individual and group workouts. Then, on June 22, the league will hold its draft. Then, in July, teams will begin negotiating with free agents. All the while, Danny Ainge will be open for trade business.

Objects in the Celtics followers’ rearview mirror — objects like the 2017 playoffs — will appear more distant than galaxies far, far away. Any postseason disappointment will be further expunged if the Celts have success with the ping-pong balls and in their summer pursuits.

How do we know this to be fact? History.

The 2006-07 Celtics won 24 games, losing 18 straight at one point and telling Pierce to sit out near the end because the club needed him to rest his foot. Either that or they were trying to tank for a better chance in the lottery. But dreams of Kevin Durant or (shudder) Greg Oden drifted away when the Celts, with the second-best odds, saw three teams jump the line and elbow them to the No. 5 pick.

Then there was the draft night trade for Ray Allen. Then there was the deal for Kevin Garnett. Then not a single soul cared about the 2006-07 season and calls for Doc Rivers’ head and Sebastian Telfair starting 30 games. It will certainly be fun for those with a rooting interest to see a long stay at the playoff party this year, but even that won’t signify anything meaningful unless there are offseason victories that follow.

People in these parts enjoyed the 2002 run to the East finals, but there was no question that was a flawed team playing in a flawed conference. And what did that get them other than a delay in recognizing the deeper problems? Ainge understood the mess when he took over a year later, and it’s a good bet he won’t be unduly influenced by what does or doesn’t happen in these playoffs. Will you?




bob
MY NOTE: The goal is to get back to the Finals and every season has to be seen as a stepping-stone towards that end. Even that painful 25-win year was a stepping-stone in that it not only brought us these draft picks but Brad Stevens as well. The difference between rookie coach Brad Stevens and 2nd year coach Brad Stevens was big. Talent wins but so does experience. Young teams very rarely win championships. We need to upgrade our talent but we also need the playoff experience that LeBron needed years to gain. In my opinion, we need to win a playoff series this year for this to be a successful season. We don't have to get to the EC Finals, although that would be great, but if we are the #1 or #2 seed and have homecourt for at least the 1st round and we are playing the 7th or 8th worst playoff team we should win that series and if we don't then we have a problem. If we lose IT to an injury then maybe we have an excuse but other than him we should be able to beat a team whose record was barely .500



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Re: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

Post by mrkleen09 on Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:23 pm

Unless this article is specifically aimed at the typical uneducated, Loudmouth Boston sports fans with very little understanding of the NBA, Then I don't get the point.

There is nothing that Danny has done to in any way suggest that this season is more important than the future. Anything that happens this year be it surprising victories or hard-fought losses will simply battle test the key players on his team for future runs to the championship.

The fact that the Celtics are in first place in the Eastern conference with a team that we all know is not quite ready says everything about the success of the season. If they somehow fall apart in the playoffs, which it is very unlikely that they will - I would still consider this a successful season in a positive step on the road towards another banner.
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Re: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

Post by gyso on Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:17 pm

When we are a top 5 or 6 team in the entire league, why would we even consider looking past this season to the next one? All it takes is an injury to a key player on one of the teams ahead of us.

Besides, Cleveland doesn't look so great at the present time. We may be coming together just as we get to the playoffs. Perhaps the stars are lining up for us.

Sure, I am looking forward to next year, but I am NOT looking past this year's playoffs. As a matter of fact, I am quite excited for a deep run towards the Finals.

Now, where are my green-tinted glasses?

gyso

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Re: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

Post by bobheckler on Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:24 pm

gyso wrote:When we are a top 5 or 6 team in the entire league, why would we even consider looking past this season to the next one?  All it takes is an injury to a key player on one of the teams ahead of us.

Besides, Cleveland doesn't look so great at the present time.  We may be coming together just as we get to the playoffs.  Perhaps the stars are lining up for us.

Sure, I am looking forward to next year, but I am NOT looking past this year's playoffs.  As a matter of fact, I am quite excited for a deep run towards the Finals.

Now, where are my green-tinted glasses?

gyso


gyso,

Uh, you're wearing them...



bob


.
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Re: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

Post by gyso on Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:01 pm

bobheckler wrote:
gyso wrote:When we are a top 5 or 6 team in the entire league, why would we even consider looking past this season to the next one?  All it takes is an injury to a key player on one of the teams ahead of us.

Besides, Cleveland doesn't look so great at the present time.  We may be coming together just as we get to the playoffs.  Perhaps the stars are lining up for us.

Sure, I am looking forward to next year, but I am NOT looking past this year's playoffs.  As a matter of fact, I am quite excited for a deep run towards the Finals.

Now, where are my green-tinted glasses?

gyso


gyso,

Uh, you're wearing them...



bob


.

There they are . . .


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Re: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

Post by BaronV on Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:20 pm

mrkleen09 wrote:Unless this article is specifically aimed at the typical uneducated, Loudmouth Boston sports fans with very little understanding of the NBA, Then I don't get the point.

There is nothing that Danny has done to in any way suggest that this season is more important than the future. Anything that happens this year be it surprising victories or hard-fought losses will simply battle test the key players on his team for future runs to the championship.

The fact that the Celtics are in first place in the Eastern conference with a team that we all know is not quite ready says everything about the success of the season. If they somehow fall apart in the playoffs, which it is very unlikely that they will - I would still consider this a successful season in a positive step on the road towards another banner.

I think the article is geared to all the people who think Danny screwed up by not trading half the team for Butler or George, or signing some 2nd tier player who has a $5M salary for the next three years to replace Zeller. Sure, we'd all love it if the team went on a run and made it to the Finals, but even if they win the finals this year, that is an accidental part of a larger vision that is setting the team up to be top-end contenders for years to come. As we all know, that's not just about who is on the roster today, but making sure that the core group of players can be kept together over time given salary cap constraints and contract end dates. By bringing in a core of young, talented, and cost controlled players, landing the high picks from the Nets through trades, and having a coach who is really good at working with younger players and getting the most out of the team he has, the Cs are positioned to build a long term contender that should be peaking as the current superteams start to fade due to age or cap issues.

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Re: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

Post by Shamrock1000 on Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:01 pm

gyso wrote:When we are a top 5 or 6 team in the entire league, why would we even consider looking past this season to the next one?  All it takes is an injury to a key player on one of the teams ahead of us.

Besides, Cleveland doesn't look so great at the present time.  We may be coming together just as we get to the playoffs.  Perhaps the stars are lining up for us.

Sure, I am looking forward to next year, but I am NOT looking past this year's playoffs.  As a matter of fact, I am quite excited for a deep run towards the Finals.

Now, where are my green-tinted glasses?

gyso

Actually gyso, I don't necessarily think you are seeing through green lenses at all. The writer has a poor understanding of probabilities, and is trying to be too clever for his own good. The Celtics have shown they are a top 5/6 team over the course of an 82 game season. That's a big deal. It may mean home court advantage throughout the eastern conference finals. That's a big deal too. And, as you say, one or two injuries could put the Celtics in the position to compete for a title that may not come again for years. If it was the beginning of the season, the article might make more sense, but it is the end of the season and the Celtics have shown they are top 5. Will they win? Probably not, since even though they are top 5, their chances aren't 20%. But they have overcome a lot of hurdles already, so we should all feel blessed they are in a position to overcome the last few. I'm all for planning g for the future, but if the present presents an exceptional opportunity, you gotta go for it. A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.

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Re: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

Post by Shamrock1000 on Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:04 pm

bobheckler wrote:http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics/2017/03/bulpett_celtics_have_bigger_goals_than_winning_in_this_year_s_playoffs



Bulpett: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs




Steve Bulpett



Friday, March 31, 2017




Credit: Associated Press
WAKE-UP CALL: Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics got a rude reminder by the Bucks Wednesday night that there are no easy games for the C’s this year.



What if the Celtics get one of the top two or three picks in this June’s draft?

What if they sign a max-level free agent this summer?

What if they make a trade or two that alleviates some of the roster logjam and brings back solid veteran help?

What if Ante Zizic and/or Guerschon Yabusele can contribute as we get deeper into next season?

What if they make themselves into a legitimate threat to be on the schedule in June 2018?

All of which leads to a sixth question: If you’re watching a true contender in Green next year, will you care about what happened in the 2017 playoffs?

With it pretty clear to all but the seriously Green-eyed that these Celts are not where they want or need to be in the grand NBA scheme, there is more and more talk about what they need to accomplish for this to be a “successful” season. That fact is usually raised in the form of “they have to do X, or it will be a failure” is pretty fair evidence that the statement is being made in search of a sizzling take.

Certainly those who follow the club would like to see progress that goes beyond the not-so-insignificant fact that, with one more victory, the C’s will have increased their win total in each of the seasons since the 25-57 dive that followed the dispatching of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. They won 40, then 48 and stand now at 48 with Orlando, the Knicks and Brooklyn still on the schedule.

Then comes the postseason and the presumed need to take a step forward. Injuries hindered them in a six-game loss to Atlanta last season, and they didn’t really belong in the same gym with the Finals-bound Cavaliers in 2015, a 4-0 sweep.

So, yeah, you’d probably want to see the Celts get past the first round this year just for the sake of the optics. When you get past the obvious power of the Cavs, there is simply not a great deal that will separate the rest of the playoff entrants when it comes to talent. Wednesday’s loss to Milwaukee should have hammered home this point. The Celtics aren’t that much better than anybody they will face.

The edge in any East matchup not involving Cleveland will, therefore, come down to matchups and execution. A few missed shots here or there, and the Celts could fade from the postseason by the end of April.

If such is the case, the gnashing of teeth will torch the C’s and their coach as regular season wonders. People will question the makeup of the roster, which will be a rather humorous argument, in that the club had essentially admitted already it is not yet fit to contend.

Then, on May 16, the NBA will conduct its draft lottery and the Celtics will be entertaining top prospects for individual and group workouts. Then, on June 22, the league will hold its draft. Then, in July, teams will begin negotiating with free agents. All the while, Danny Ainge will be open for trade business.

Objects in the Celtics followers’ rearview mirror — objects like the 2017 playoffs — will appear more distant than galaxies far, far away. Any postseason disappointment will be further expunged if the Celts have success with the ping-pong balls and in their summer pursuits.

How do we know this to be fact? History.

The 2006-07 Celtics won 24 games, losing 18 straight at one point and telling Pierce to sit out near the end because the club needed him to rest his foot. Either that or they were trying to tank for a better chance in the lottery. But dreams of Kevin Durant or (shudder) Greg Oden drifted away when the Celts, with the second-best odds, saw three teams jump the line and elbow them to the No. 5 pick.

Then there was the draft night trade for Ray Allen. Then there was the deal for Kevin Garnett. Then not a single soul cared about the 2006-07 season and calls for Doc Rivers’ head and Sebastian Telfair starting 30 games. It will certainly be fun for those with a rooting interest to see a long stay at the playoff party this year, but even that won’t signify anything meaningful unless there are offseason victories that follow.

People in these parts enjoyed the 2002 run to the East finals, but there was no question that was a flawed team playing in a flawed conference. And what did that get them other than a delay in recognizing the deeper problems? Ainge understood the mess when he took over a year later, and it’s a good bet he won’t be unduly influenced by what does or doesn’t happen in these playoffs. Will you?




bob
MY NOTE:  The goal is to get back to the Finals and every season has to be seen as a stepping-stone towards that end.  Even that painful 25-win year was a stepping-stone in that it not only brought us these draft picks but Brad Stevens as well.  The difference between rookie coach Brad Stevens and 2nd year coach Brad Stevens was big.  Talent wins but so does experience.  Young teams very rarely win championships.  We need to upgrade our talent but we also need the playoff experience that LeBron needed years to gain.  In my opinion, we need to win a playoff series this year for this to be a successful season.  We don't have to get to the EC Finals, although that would be great, but if we are the #1 or #2 seed and have homecourt for at least the 1st round and we are playing the 7th or 8th worst playoff team we should win that series and if we don't then we have a problem.  If we lose IT to an injury then maybe we have an excuse but other than him we should be able to beat a team whose record was barely .500



.

Bob, I greatly prefer your take - it's a lot smarter...

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Re: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

Post by worcester on Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:16 pm

ditto
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Re: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

Post by kdp59 on Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:00 am

I have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy seeing this team get healthy and come together. I think what happens in the off-season WILL be determined by how far we get come playoff time.

IMO, if we make the east finals at least, Danny will not make any major trades in the off-season. we all know the high draft pick should bring us a quality player for the future and he should be able to free enough money for a second tier FA to upgrade over Amir. However when I look a FA big men I only see a few who could fit that role, Ibaka, T. Gibson and Noel ( who will be a RFA and may not be accessible). To me Blake Griffen does not fit with what we need and I doubt Danny can fit another max contract in with IT, Bradley and Smart all coming up the next year.
Another player that fit in would be J. Henson from Mil, that would require a trade, but not what most would consider a major one, IMO.

so if we get the East finals and lose, would adding Ibaka or Gibson, drafting Fultz or Jackson, bringing in Yabusele and Zizic and resigning Kelly along with maybe Jerebko get us over the hump?
I think its a likely scenario.



however IF we lose in the first round of the playoffs, I can see a major change of the roster. I could see Danny moving one of Bradley or Smart in a major deal, high draft pick perhaps moved also for a superstar type AND Kelly left go for the money to sign another max player.

think Blake (FA) George (Trade and extension). As Danny goes all in for a run now.

I think the playoffs this year will determine a lot about the way Danny moves forward. He still has ammo to go either way.
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Re: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

Post by NYCelt on Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:01 am

kdp,

You make an interesting point with your two scenarios.  There is some precedent for Ainge doing what you speculate he might.  When he first came in, the Celtics were a playoff team, but without a key shooter or rebounder needed to get any further.  Bench depth was also weak.  He blew it up in order to get the right pieces.  Although he somehow built a championship team without the rebounding, it worked out.  He got the defender, the shooter and the bench.

Funny enough, here we are again.  The team is well ahead of what anyone could expect, but we need another shooter, rebounding, and a stronger bench.  I think we have less in terms of players to trade, unless you move Horford, who probably has far less value now than Al Jefferson did then.  Not to mention his contract.  We do have a slew of draft picks that might help.  

The playoffs may dictate a lot going forward.

Regards
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Re: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

Post by wideclyde on Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:00 pm

I am not sure that "max" salary guys are the only way to fill those rebounding and shooting needs especially when additional bench depth is necessary.

Signing three guys for $11-14 M average might be better. Think Gibson and Noel type guys.

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Re: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs

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