Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

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Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by bobheckler on Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:43 am

http://celticsgreen.blogspot.com/2017/07/auerbachian-good-or-lucky.html



Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?



by FLCeltsFan







A couple of times since 2007, I've seen Danny Ainge's moves described as Auerbachian. He was able to amass the chips needed to trade for 2 future Hall of Famers and after that to build a bench capable of winning a championship.  As the Pierce and Garnett era wound down, Danny traded them to the Nets for Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, and Keith Bogans, along with first-round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018.  The Celtics also obtained the opportunity to swap picks with the Nets in 2017 (which became the #1 pick).  Did Danny somehow know how historically bad the Nets would become and thus give the Celtics 3 top 5 picks or, was he just lucky that it turned out that way?     This got me thinking about some of those moves that Red made back in the day. Was Red really good, or was he really lucky?


Red was famous for being able to recognize talent and bring them to the Celtics. But even with all his saavy moves and eye for talent, he also needed some luck. For instance, Red had acquired the Pistons' first round pick in the 1980 draft. If Ralph Sampson had left school early, Red said that he would have drafted him with that pick. But as luck would have it, Sampson opted to stay in school and Red had to go to plan B. Red then looked to trade the pick. The consensus No. 1 that year was a center, Joe Barry Carroll from Purdue, but Auerbach didn't like his game. He did like the 6-11 Kevin McHale from Minnesota.

With prodding from coach Bill Fitch, Auerbach approached the Warriors, who had an unhappy and underachieving Robert Parish and were worried about being able to re-sign him. Golden State agreed to give up Parish and its pick, the 3rd overall, for two Celtics picks, No. 1 and No. 13. The rest is history and the first Big Three was born. This deal is remembered as one of Red's greatest coups, but we shouldn't forget that this deal was Red's plan B.

We can fast forward to this past draft when the Celtics again had the #1 pick courtesy of the aforementioned trade with the Brooklyn Nets.  Markelle Fultz was the consensus number 1 pick but Danny liked Jayson Tatum better.  In a move that took a considerable amount of courage, Danny traded the #1 pick to Philly for the #3 pick and a pick in the 2018 draft that very well may be another top 5 pick.

The jury is still out as to whether Tatum or Fultz will be the best player from that draft.  On June 23, Markelle Fultz odds of winning Rookie of the Year were 5/1 while Jayson Tatum's odds were 9/1.  However, after Summer League, on July 18th,  Tatum's odds moved up to 5/1 while Fultz's odds dropped to 9/1.  Only time will tell if Danny made the right move, but after watching both players in Summer League,  Tatum has impressed more than Fultz.

Bob Cousy is one of the greatest point guards in the history of the NBA. The "Houdini of the Hardwood" wasn't Red's first choice either. There was a lot of pressure on Red to take Cousy because he was a local favorite. Auerbach wasn't short on opinions about who should play on his team. "Am I supposed to win here, or take care of local yokels?" he asked, suggesting that Cousy was touted merely because he played at nearby Holy Cross. Auerbach passed on Cousy in the draft, instead selecting 6-11 center Charlie Share. Local fans were irate.

Cousy was taken by Tri-Cities and quickly dealt to Chicago. He never played a game for either team because Chicago soon folded. Its three top players were Cousy, Max Zaslofksy, and Andy Phillip. Their names were put into a hat for the three teams that could afford them or want them: New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Auerbach wanted Zaslofsky first. Then Phillip. But when the Celtics drew the name out of the hat, it was Cousy's. They had him for $8,500. Cousy wasn't plan A, B, or C but was actually plan D for the Celtics and as luck would have it, he went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Celtics.

Another Auerbachian move was the drafting of Bill Russell. Auerbach figured he had no shot at Russell in the draft, as Russell had led San Francisco to consecutive NCAA championships and the Celtics had the 7th pick in that draft. But Auerbach made inquiries as the 1956 draft approached first to Rochester, which had the No. 1 pick, and then to his old boss, Ben Kerner, then the owner of St. Louis, which held the No. 2 pick. Rochester felt it couldn't afford to pay Russell. Royals owner Les Harrison, a future Hall of Famer, agreed to accept a deal from Celtics owner Brown, who also owned the money-generating Ice Capades. Brown agreed to give the Royals extra Ice Capades dates if Harrison passed on Russell. Harrison did, drafting Sihugo Green of Duquesne.

The Hawks had the second pick. Auerbach agreed to part with St. Louis-native "Easy Ed" Macauley and the rights to University of Kentucky star Cliff Hagan for the Hawks pick. Kerner was willing to make the deal in part because St. Louis was arguably the worst NBA city in those days for African-American players and Macauley and Hagan, who were both white,  would be a much bigger draw. It took work to make this deal come about but it also took some luck that the Royals would take the Ice Capades instead of Russell and the team with the second pick was a team where Russell wouldn't have fit very well.

Red was never afraid to take chances either. In 1969, several teams shied away from Jo Jo White because of a military commitment that he had to fulfill. Auerbach drafted White, who went directly to the NBA and fulfilled his military service in the reserves. It was said that Red pulled some strings with his contacts in Washington to get it done, however. In 1981, Danny Ainge, then a professional baseball player, was said to be firm in his decision to play baseball rather than basketball. Auerbach drafted Ainge in the second round and had him in a Boston uniform for 53 games the following season, even though there were some legal hoops that had to be jumped through.

In 1978, Larry Bird was eligible for the draft but had made it known that he would return to school for his final season. 5 teams passed on Bird before Red took him with the 6th pick. "They didn't know he'd be that good, and I didn't either," Auerbach said. "I only saw him play once." By signing him as a junior eligible who planned on finishing school, Red ran a risk of getting nothing if they couldn't come to an agreement and Bird decided to re-enter the draft the next season. He thought Bird would be impressed with the Celtics' history and mystique and would eventually sign without re-entering the draft and he was right.

Danny had a plan when he took over the Celtics. He wanted to gather chips through the draft and then trade those chips for stars and that is exactly what he did. He was good in that he judged talent in the draft and lucky that players like Al Jefferson and Ryan Gomes fell to him. Getting Oden or Durant may have been plan A, but Danny worked hard to get Plan B done to bring Garnett to Boston. Danny was willing to take a chance and give up his young and talented players to get Garnett whereas other teams where hesitant to do so. Also, he didn't give up when Garnett at first said he didn't want to come to Boston and instead worked on another deal for Ray Allen that would make Boston more attractive without giving up the chips it would take to get Garnett. The result of these moves was Banner 17.

Since that championship, the Celtics themselves have lacked the luck needed to win a second championship. They have come close a couple of times, but it was injuries that has derailed the team. Danny took a very big chance in 2011 when he broke up a starting five that had never lost a playoff game when healthy.   It was not a very smart move or you could say that it was an unlucky move because the team lost chemistry and a team that was at the top of the standings went on a losing streak.

Danny has worked since that time to once again gather assets including good young players as well as draft picks.  The Celtics were in the enviable position last season to be the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference and play in the Eastern Conference Finals while at the same time winning the #1 pick.  The team is now filled with a mixture of All Stars, veterans and good, young players who are all hungry to make it in the league.  Danny also made a very smart move to go after Brad Stevens to coach the Celtics as they chase Banner 18.   The past two seasons, the Celtics have attracted one of the top free agents in the league.  You can chalk that up to the fact that Danny is good or maybe it was the luck of the Irish.  

I think we can agree that Danny's moves were indeed Auerbachian - a combination of smarts, hard work and luck.  I also think Red would be very proud of him.




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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by gyso on Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:55 am

A combination of smarts, hard work and luck.  Yup, that just about covers it.

Luck with the deals made as well as luck with deals that were not made.

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by dboss on Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:01 am

Red built 3 championship teams resulting in 16 titles.

Danny built one.  I see no legitimate comparison at this point in time. Let' see where all Danny's work takes us.

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by beat on Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:54 pm

And wether or not Fultz is better than Tatum is not the decisive factor in this trade until that first round pick or whoever it becomes is known and plays.

Then and only then will we know if DA pulled off an Auerbachian

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by swish on Sun Jul 30, 2017 2:41 pm

Auerbach didn't have to deal with evaluating 19 year "old babe's in the wood" nor did he have to face the potential of youngins moving on to greener pastures before they became seasoned veterans.

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by dboss on Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:02 pm

swish wrote:Auerbach didn't have to deal with evaluating 19 year "old babe's in the wood" nor did he have to face the potential of youngins moving on to greener pastures before they became seasoned veterans.

 swish

Neither did any other GM at that time.

Sorry but Danny is not Red. Danny has his own path to forge and right now he has a long long way to go before he can be compared to Red.

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by NYCelt on Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:25 pm

dboss wrote:
swish wrote:Auerbach didn't have to deal with evaluating 19 year "old babe's in the wood" nor did he have to face the potential of youngins moving on to greener pastures before they became seasoned veterans.

 swish

Neither did any other GM at that time.

Sorry but Danny is not Red.  Danny has his own path to forge and right now he has a long long way to go before he can be compared to Red.

Dboss

I agree.

It also drives me absolutely crazy every time I read that bogus story of how the Celtics ended up with Russ.  It's something 100% made up by Red, having no basis in fact whatsoever.  Oh well; we all have our hang-ups.  That's just one out of several of mine!

We were just at the basketball HOF yesterday. I lost at PIG. Fortunately, before my son could beat me at 1-on-1, they shut us down. You can play HORSE or PIG on the HOF court, but they don't allow 1-on-1. Anyway, lots of good video there on Red and the early days of the C's.
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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by bobheckler on Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:31 pm

NYCelt wrote:
dboss wrote:
swish wrote:Auerbach didn't have to deal with evaluating 19 year "old babe's in the wood" nor did he have to face the potential of youngins moving on to greener pastures before they became seasoned veterans.

 swish

Neither did any other GM at that time.

Sorry but Danny is not Red.  Danny has his own path to forge and right now he has a long long way to go before he can be compared to Red.

Dboss

I agree.

It also drives me absolutely crazy every time I read that bogus story of how the Celtics ended up with Russ.  It's something 100% made up by Red, having no basis in fact whatsoever.  Oh well; we all have our hang-ups.  That's just one out of several of mine!

We were just at the basketball HOF yesterday.  I lost at PIG.  Fortunately, before my son could beat me at 1-on-1, they shut us down.  You can play HORSE or PIG on the HOF court, but they don't allow 1-on-1.  Anyway, lots of good video there on Red and the early days of the C's.


NYCelt,

What are you saying is the "true" story of how we got Russell?


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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by NYCelt on Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:41 pm

On vacation now, which is why we were at the HOF yesterday, but I'd be happy to post it when we return.  I have posted it before, and it's somewhere here in another thread if someone cares to look.  I don't mind if someone goes in and does a cut and paste of it back here.

The Royals already had a center they felt was superior to Russ, Maurice Stokes, and they already had the Ice Capades booked as well.  
There was little more magic in how Boston acquired Russ other than the fact that St. Louis was willing to deal and The Royals felt set at center and wanted to draft Green.

I live in the Rochester area, and most everyone from that generation here knows the story is completely made up.  Also, as I wrote in a longer post some time back, I got the story directly from a former Celtics owner that it was a made up tale.  Brown did own the Ice Capades at the time, and that was the only connection.  Red was supposed to have been fond of stretching the facts in some of his stories.
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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by swish on Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:04 pm

dboss wrote:
swish wrote:Auerbach didn't have to deal with evaluating 19 year "old babe's in the wood" nor did he have to face the potential of youngins moving on to greener pastures before they became seasoned veterans.

 swish

Neither did any other GM at that time.

Sorry but Danny is not Red.  Danny has his own path to forge and right now he has a long long way to go before he can be compared to Red.

Dboss

Your right dboss - Danny doesn't stack up with Red - but boy did red have the horses - all locked up with only management in control of who they get to play for.
  Here's the number of players that played for the Celtics that went on to become HALL OF FAMERS.

  1956-57 ,,, 7
  1957-58 ,,, 8
  1958-59 ,,, 7
  1959-60 ,,, 7
  1960-61 ,,, 7
  1961-62 ,,, 6
  1962-63 ,,, 8
  1963-64 ,,, 7
  1964-65 ,,, 5
  1965-66 ,,, 4
  1966-67 ,,, 5
  1967-68 ,,, 4
  1968-69 ,,, 4

    The only HALL OF FAMER to leave the Celts was Bailey Howell - who after 3 years with the Celts was taken in the expansion draft on May 11 1970.

    Now that's player control.

    swish


Last edited by swish on Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:19 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by swish on Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:09 pm

NYCelt wrote:On vacation now, which is why we were at the HOF yesterday, but I'd be happy to post it when we return.  I have posted it before, and it's somewhere here in another thread if someone cares to look.  I don't mind if someone goes in and does a cut and paste of it back here.

The Royals already had a center they felt was superior to Russ, Maurice Stokes, and they already had the Ice Capades booked as well.  
There was little more magic in how Boston acquired Russ other than the fact that St. Louis was willing to deal and The Royals felt set at center and wanted to draft Green.

I live in the Rochester area, and most everyone from that generation here knows the story is completely made up.  Also, as I wrote in a longer post some time back, I got the story directly from a former Celtics owner that it was a made up tale.  Brown did own the Ice Capades at the time, and that was the only connection.  Red was supposed to have been fond of stretching the facts in some of his stories.

NYCelt

Thanks for the scoop on the Russell trade. It looks like I've lived with a fib for about 61 years.

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by cowens/oldschool on Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:20 pm

Swish you of all people know those HoFers that played with Russell would not be near even all stars if they were playing today. Russell made a lot of them HoFers because of the teams success.
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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by swish on Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:13 pm

cowens/oldschool wrote:Swish you of all people know those HoFers that played with Russell would not be near even all stars if they were playing today. Russell made a lot of them HoFers because of the teams success.

Hey Cowans. Good to see that your seeing things my way in regards to the skill level of those 1950's-60's teams.

Per your below statement.
"Swish you of all people know those HoFers that played with Russell would not be near even all stars if they were playing today."

I agree 100 % oldschool - but back in their day, they were the "the cats meow" and should be judged by the level of play during their generation - and as you can see the Celtics were loaded - figured to win and did not disappoint.

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by cowens/oldschool on Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:19 pm

Swish we are in agreement, but you missed my point.

How many of those HoFers get there without Russell?
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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by swish on Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:43 pm

cowens/oldschool wrote:Swish we are in agreement, but you missed my point.

How many of those HoFers get there without Russell?

We will never know old school - but I can make a strong case for ALL OF THEM.

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by beat on Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:06 pm

NYCelt wrote:
dboss wrote:
swish wrote:Auerbach didn't have to deal with evaluating 19 year "old babe's in the wood" nor did he have to face the potential of youngins moving on to greener pastures before they became seasoned veterans.

 swish

Neither did any other GM at that time.

Sorry but Danny is not Red.  Danny has his own path to forge and right now he has a long long way to go before he can be compared to Red.

Dboss

I agree.

It also drives me absolutely crazy every time I read that bogus story of how the Celtics ended up with Russ.  It's something 100% made up by Red, having no basis in fact whatsoever.  Oh well; we all have our hang-ups.  That's just one out of several of mine!

We were just at the basketball HOF yesterday.  I lost at PIG.  Fortunately, before my son could beat me at 1-on-1, they shut us down.  You can play HORSE or PIG on the HOF court, but they don't allow 1-on-1.  Anyway, lots of good video there on Red and the early days of the C's.

Probably didn't want him hanging on the rim after posterizing you!!

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by rickdavisakaspike on Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:27 pm

Well. excuuuuse meeee!

Sure, Russ made everyone around him better, but he had serious talent around him.

Cousy and Sharman were future HOFers before Russ joined the team. Tom Heinsohn was/is tremendously underrated. Did Russ make him better? Soitenly, but the reverse is also true.

Who else? Sam Jones was the best guard in the league, with the possible exception of Jerry West. K.C. Jones was the best defender of his era. Going back to USF, you could say it was K.C. who made Russ better.

What about John Havlicek? Would anyone in his right mind even suggest that he wouldn't have been enshrined without Russ? Just posing the question makes me wonder if cow and swish aren't blowing smoke out their buttocks here.

As far as Red's brilliance at the draft table goes . . . umm, I love the guy but he once drafted someone who couldn't play in the pros because he hated flying. He drafted John Havlicek, supposedly sight unseen, on the recommendation of Curt Gowdy. When he saw Havlicek at training camp, Red laughing said, "Boy, are people going to think I'm smart." And then there was Acie Earl. Okay, 'nuff said.

Regarding Red, there are a couple of coaching innovations that seem to have been forgotten over the years that one wishes Brad would reinvent: 1) the Sixth man (I nominate Jaylen, no wait, Jason, no wait, both. Let's have a Sixth/Seventh man combo. Wouldn't it be great to see both those baby monsters coming in at the same time? Alternatively, there was a strategy Red used for years until he had a team of future HOFers and didn't need it; that is, a flying squad of guys off the bench to come in and create havoc, the way the Sixth man would later do. There was no name for it and it's been largely forgotten over the years.

Sam, oh Sam, Captain, my Captain, where are you when Brad needs you? I say that because I'm calling for Brad to reintroduce the greatest offensive strategy of all time: Sam's favorite, the Weave. Bring back the Weave!



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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by swish on Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:47 pm

Hey spike

Remember me - I'm the guy that said that all those future HOFERS on the Russell teams deserved the honor. cowens is the guy you want - not me.

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by RosalieTCeltics on Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:57 pm

I sat thru game after game during the sixties, watching the Celtics play basketball with some of the most talented players in the NBA.
Sam Jones, Frank Ramsey, Bill Sharman, John Havlicek, KC Jones, the list goes on and on. These were all bonafide Hall of Famers.

Red also had a knack of picking up players late in their career who could give the Celtics a couple of good years and help them win their titles. Bailey Howell, Wayne Embry, Don Nelson, just a few of the many who helped them along the championship ride they were on.

Maybe Red embellished some stories, maybe he didn't. This is all part of the history of the greatest team in pro basketball during that era. As great as Chamberlain was, he was outsmarted time after time by Russell. I watched him refuse to go back into a playoff game because he was losing. The history goes on and on.

Sam would be flipping over when it comes to this topic. I miss having him watch my back as I argued for this era of basketball.
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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by swish on Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:27 pm

There's a huge difference between being considered as the best team of their generation - and being considered as the best team of all time - best of the 1950's-60's - without doubt - and even perhaps in the seventies - beyond the seventies - no way.

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by dboss on Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:29 pm

Those Russell teams had great talent on them.  I suspect that many of them earned HOF status themselves.  How much of that was influenced by Russell we will never be able to quantify.  What we do know is that the singular driving force behind winning all of those championships was Bill Russell and coach Auerbach.

Great players do not have to have won championships to be selected to the HOF but it certainly does not hurt.

But back to the theme of this thread.  How many players has Danny drafted or acquired that will make it to the HOF?  Obviously KG and RA fall into that discussion but name one player that Danny has drafted that will make it to the Hall?

I think Ainge has been at this for 14 years.

Considering that the mission is not complete comparisons between the GREAT Red Auerbach and Danny Ainge is nothing more than a premature birth with complications.

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by beat on Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:11 pm

dboss wrote:Those Russell teams had great talent on them.  I suspect that many of them earned HOF status themselves.  How much of that was influenced by Russell we will never be able to quantify.  What we do know is that the singular driving force behind winning all of those championships was Bill Russell and coach Auerbach.

Great players do not have to have won championships to be selected to the HOF but it certainly does not hurt.

But back to the theme of this thread.  How many players has Danny drafted or acquired that will make it to the HOF?  Obviously KG and RA fall into that discussion but name one player that Danny has drafted that will make it to the Hall?

I think Ainge has been at this for 14 years.

Considering that the mission is not complete comparisons between the GREAT Red Auerbach and Danny Ainge is nothing more than a premature birth with complications.

dboss
And I wonder how many DA even had the opportunity to draft will eventually make the HOF?

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by beat on Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:12 pm

dboss wrote:Those Russell teams had great talent on them.  I suspect that many of them earned HOF status themselves.  How much of that was influenced by Russell we will never be able to quantify.  What we do know is that the singular driving force behind winning all of those championships was Bill Russell and coach Auerbach.

Great players do not have to have won championships to be selected to the HOF but it certainly does not hurt.

But back to the theme of this thread.  How many players has Danny drafted or acquired that will make it to the HOF?  Obviously KG and RA fall into that discussion but name one player that Danny has drafted that will make it to the Hall?

I think Ainge has been at this for 14 years.

Considering that the mission is not complete comparisons between the GREAT Red Auerbach and Danny Ainge is nothing more than a premature birth with complications.

dboss
And I wonder how many DA even had the opportunity to draft will eventually make the HOF?

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by dboss on Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:17 pm

beat wrote:
dboss wrote:Those Russell teams had great talent on them.  I suspect that many of them earned HOF status themselves.  How much of that was influenced by Russell we will never be able to quantify.  What we do know is that the singular driving force behind winning all of those championships was Bill Russell and coach Auerbach.

Great players do not have to have won championships to be selected to the HOF but it certainly does not hurt.

But back to the theme of this thread.  How many players has Danny drafted or acquired that will make it to the HOF?  Obviously KG and RA fall into that discussion but name one player that Danny has drafted that will make it to the Hall?

I think Ainge has been at this for 14 years.

Considering that the mission is not complete comparisons between the GREAT Red Auerbach and Danny Ainge is nothing more than a premature birth with complications.

dboss
And I wonder how many DA even had the opportunity to draft will eventually make the HOF?

beat

Beat

That is a great question and I am sure will be the subject of additional and somewhat endless prognostication.

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Re: Auerbachian - Good or Lucky?

Post by gyso on Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:22 pm

The league back in the 50's and 60's had 6-10 teams.  The third round picks back then would all fall in the first round now.  All the draft picks lasted four years in college.  There was no free agency then, so team management had total control of player movement.

For those reasons and more, it is impossible to compare Red to Ainge.

It is fare to say that Danny Ainge is one of the better GMs in recent times.

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