An Ugly Brand Of Basketball

Posted: May 17, 2017 by cschrump in Uncategorized

Chad Schrump / @Hoosier_Hoops

This Boston Celtics team is flat out ugly. Yeah, sorry not sorry.  It’s the truth.  Look at the roster.  Delve into the names.  It seems like this storied franchise has had more 1st round draft picks in each of the last five seasons than the rest of the Eastern Conference combined, so you’d think they’d have stars on top of stars on top of stars.  But they don’t.  This Boston Celtics team is ugly, I tell ya.  So ugly in fact, only a mother could love them.  The ironic thing about this team that only its fans could love, is that they start playing for an Eastern Conference Championship tonight.  What?  How can this be?  Totally blows my mind.

You could argue that Danny Ainge, Boston’s General Manager and President of Basketball Operations, has had some horrific drafts. Actually, there is no argument.  Take a look at some of these names he’s drafted.  Well hold on…to make matters worse, way worse in fact, keep in mind that Ainge has had, except for 2013, at least two and sometimes three, 1st round draft picks each year since 2012.  Read that again, please.  I need you to get a grasp of those numbers.  Then, last night, he lands the #1 pick in this summer’s draft.  Damn.  How does Trader Danny keep doing this?

As we were discussing though, how much faith do we really have that Ainge won’t screw it up? Here are some of those names… How did Jared Sullinger and Brazil’s Lucas Nogueira play?  Not well, since they both were traded to the Raptors.  How did the late Fab Mello perform?  Is James Young and his 7.1 minutes per game going to be any good?  I dunno.  Ante Zizic and Guerschon Yabusele?  R.J. Hunter?  Hell, Hunter is in the damn D-League and hasn’t done anything since hitting that deep game winner for Georgia State, yeah that Georgia State, in the 2015 NCAA tourney that sent his coach/dad wheeling around in celebration with a torn Achilles.  That’s a who’s who of dog shit drafts, friends.  Just awful.  That’s Cleveland Browns kind of bad.

Danny Ainge was a career .200 hitter for the Blue Jays.  That’s about what he’s batting on successful 1st round draft picks since 2012.  He’s about 2/9 or so.  Anyone else gets fired for that kind of shit show.  Can you imagine if Ainge could draft his way out of a wet paper sack?  Good Lord, this team might be Golden State of the East.  Again, he just got the #1 pick… is there reason to think he could screw it up again?  I vote, “Yes.  Absolutely!”

Ainge’s only homerun, (like what I did there?) came by way of Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, the 6th pick of the 2014 draft.  That guy has become a real leader on the C’s.  Smart’s always been a tenacious defender but now, has worked on his shot and become a nice threat from deep.  Love his grit.  He’s ugly.  Just like the rest of his teammates, really, really ugly.  Actually, ugly like Danny Ainge played.  Remember when that dude went to the floor and began biting Tree Rollin’s ankles in the 80’s?  He’d do whatever he had to do to save a possession.  This Celtics team, man they really muck things up just like Ainge did.  Go check out Boston’s super scrub Kelly Olynyk.  Is he even playing basketball?  I’m telling you, nothing is pretty when you watch their games.  Nothing.

What has saved Danny’s ass is that he’s a heck of a trade man as witnessed by the absolute fleecing of the Brooklyn Nets and has made a couple of really shrewd personnel moves along the way:

In spring of 2013, Ainge somehow snuck into Indianapolis in the heat of the night, lured Brad Stevens from a nice, little job at Butler and got him to agree to coach the NBA’s most storied franchise. This was a coup of the highest order and one that left most of the basketball insiders shell shocked.  When you look back on it now, I’m not sure why it shocked anyone, honestly.  Stevens lead a tiny, Liberal Arts college to back-to-back NCAA championship games.  How ridiculous was that Butler run?  We probably won’t see anything like that ever again.

Stevens has an icy, calm demeanor but ask those close to him and they will tell you he is one of the most fiercely competitive people you will ever meet. Who would doubt that?  Just look at the ridiculous amount of success this 40-year old has had.  Brad then starts imprinting his vision on his new NBA franchise and before long, his team is playing as hard as any team in the league.  All-out effort, all of the time.  Defending, diving, hustling, blocking out, making things uncomfortable, making things difficult. Making things ugly. Playing like a team that doesn’t care if it looks pretty.  An NBA team, full of multimillionaire athletes – playing the “Butler Way.”

Then, in February of 2015, Ainge made his other significant move when he thought enough of 5’9” Isaiah Thomas that he traded for him mid-season. Clearly, Thomas has been the catalyst of the Celtic’s resurgence.  Perhaps no one has bought into Steven’s vision more than little Isaiah.  Ignore the fact that Thomas carries the ball each and every possession.  That’s beside the point.  That’s on the NBA officials, the worst of all-time by the way, to call the violation.  But I digress.  I.T. is without question, Boston’s guts.  Crazy that a dude that little can have so much swagger.  Need a big shot?  Call on Thomas.  He’s their bell cow and that won’t change anytime soon because as we all know, Ainge can’t draft.

Boston’s roster is full of grown ass men. Guys that don’t care if they look cool.  Guys that have never been stars anywhere.  There’s a lot to be said about a team that couldn’t care less if they look good while playing.  I promise you that Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley would take any style points you’d like to give them and throw them straight out of the Garden window.  Give any of them a shot at diving for a loose ball that results in a floor burn, which turns into a perfectly placed screen that leads to an extra pass for a wide open shot that rattles home.  Every man on this team will take that.  This is what that team is about.  They’re about making ugly plays that win basketball games.  Defend with absolute effort.  One perfectly set screen at a time.  One unselfish possession at a time.  One game at a time.  They play basketball the way Brad Stevens wants them to play basketball.  They play it harder than you play it.  Is it ugly?  Well, a lot of people think this style of basketball is certainly ugly.

Not in Boston though. They think it’s beautiful.

 

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