Monday, July 03, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's been a while since I posted an update on my blog. Rest assured, I have my reasons. My computer is in the weeds with what I assume is a virus problem. I have a theory or two to account for this problem. If you visit Mark Cuban's blog (Bear in mind, you do so at the risk of your own intellectual well being) with its continual critique of journalism such as it is, perhaps you might see where I'm coming from. If you can find the point in the latest entry, I think you win a prize.

Is it a coincidence that my computer is wracked with a virus while Mark Cuban treats a topic (Ozzie Guillen's recent verbal verbal misstep) covered in agonizing detail by a site in which Mark Cuban himself has been the subject of a vicious attack? Most likely, it is a coincidence. We here at Cincinnati Kid Industries do endorse most forms of paranoia. Particularly the delusional variety.

There is also the possibility that the Red Sox themselves are tired of me, the lone voice of truth in a sycophantic region devoted to glossing over their foibles. As was the case in the Seinfeld episode where Kramer tried to scam the Post Office into replacing Jerry's stereo, the Red Sox just might be endeavoring to drag the Cincinnati Kid from his cushy lair and force me to rely on internet cafes to expose me to the harsh, clear light of day as the monster I am. A monster so vile...

Whatever the case may be, I ought not rule out coincidence, especially as I am a great believer in Ockham's Razor. The likelihood of Mark Cuban or the Red Sox knowing who I am and what I write is pretty slim. My fame has yet to measure with my capabilities as a writer. I realize that, but I can live with it. But I am still paranoid. And yet, I am not quite prepared to rule out the possibility that I am right and you all are out to get me. For my part, I believe that paranoid and arrogant is a winning combination, although it might explain why I'm still single. I've also been told that I'm immature and afraid of commitment. It just might take that weird cult leader from to get me off the market. Then again, I think I'd rather be single than go through a process like Warren Beatty went through in the Parallax View. I wouldn't want to live in a world where I might come out the other side of the looking glass a Red Sox fan, or worse.

The real subject of my post should have been up a week ago, when it was relevant. Alas, it has little to do with Scott Kazmir markedly outpitching Josh Beckett. I'm going to hold off on commenting on Curt Schilling's brilliant effort for a little while, too. Nor is the pathetic weakness of the NL East my concern on this fine evening. I must confess, that there was very little to say toward the stated purpose of this site with the recent wining streak ruining my days. And I have nothing patriotic to say to celebrate America's 230th birthday. Tonight my subject is Danny Ainge, and the inexplicable lack of criticism for his stewardship of the Celtics.

From what I saw of the NBA Draft (and I watched until Dee Brown was off the board because I thought he was vastly underrated), it seemed to me that Danny Ainge set out to make himself the worst GM in NBA history. Alas, Isaiah Thomas stole his thunder. No one will criticize Ainge when they can wonder why Isaiah picked Renaldo Balkman at 20. For those of you scoring at home, Balkman would almost assuredly have been available in free agency. After this, it mattered little whom Mr. Thomas selected with the 29th pick. For all the good this draft will do the Knicks, Isaiah might as well have drafted me.

The real issue is how poorly Ainge manipulated the draft process. In hindsight, the Cs could have ended up with Randy Foye or Brandon Roy, based on what Portland and Minnesota did with the 6th and 7th picks. For my part, I think that if Sebastian Telfair is all hype. Without that documentary film on ESPN, how many people would know him if they fell over him? And then there's Theo Ratliff. Who knew he was still alive, let alone still in the league? Read the last portion of this passage to get a realistic assessment of this trade.

If you read the article in the last link in the preceding paragraph, you'll find that Bob Ryan gave this draft an F-, and the two guys at the bottom of the piece have problems with Ainge's moves. But Peter May is willing to give Ainge the benefit of the doubt, and Shira Springer is guardedly optimistic. I hate to say this, but I agree with Bob Ryan. That is becoming a disturbing trend in this blog.

As for Rajon Rondo, according to Shira Springer, Ainge had him ranked 7th overall. Of course, Shira also pointed out that Danny Ainge has as much use for media mock drafts as he did for Antoine Walker. While the pro-Antoine anti-management bias of this site is overt, that doesn't mean that we are opposed to showing some consideration to those harboring opposing views. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to ask where Ms. Springer has been for the last several weeks.

In case she didn't notice, Antoine Walker earned a championship ring. As far as I know, not being familiar with the owners of the Pistons or the Heat, I cannot say the same for Danny Ainge as an executive. If I owned the Pistons, I would have been sure to give Danny a ring for the Rasheed Wallace trade where the Cs took spare parts (I will admit that Lindsay Hunter has been a solid player for a number of years, but how can he count when he never played for the Cs?) and Detroit took the O'Brien Trophy. As for the Heat's owner, I think he might make a nice gesture as Bob Kraft did on his visit to Russian head of state Vladimir Putin. After all, two of the players who helped win him the title had spent last season helping the Celtics to achieve their lone playoff appearance in the Danny Ainge Era.

Antoine Walker is vastly underappreciated as a basketball player. He can be arrogant. He misses a lot of shots. In many ways, he reminds me of me. People in Boston that think they know the Celtics, or think they know basketball still use his name as a punchline. To them, he's a poster boy for what's wrong with the NBA. And yet, he was a contributing member of a championship team. It is true that Danny Ainge was also a contributing member of the Celtics' dynasty of the 1980s, but what has he accomplished since then?

In the Miami Herald piece I linked above (see underappreciated), there are two paragraphs that need to be quoted:

In explaining the trade of a seven-year veteran and Celtics co-captain, Ainge reportedly told the media that Walker's leadership "stifled'' other players' leadership and had a ''grasp'' on the Celtics franchise that wasn't ``a positive thing.''

Walker pointed out, ``Look at Boston, look at me right now. Last time I checked, I don't think Boston's had that great a record since I've been gone.''

That speaks for itself. Perhaps Antoine Walker wasn't stifling the leadership of his former teammates. Perhaps there was no leadership there to be stifled. The Celtics cannot ignore the fact that Danny Ainge is a terrible GM. His hat hangs on his draft record. But the team is young, and as yet unproven. They have a great deal of potential, but the trouble with potential is that more often than not it is never reached.

And yet, there is no serious criticism of Danny Ainge the GM. Bill Simmons almost seemed like he wanted to go there in his Draft Diary. Instead, he chose a far easier target in Isaiah Thomas. To be fair, Isaiah's decisions are so bad that they demand immediate response and often overshadow the folly of those around him. I even considered inducting the Sports Guy into the Max Mercy Hall of Fame for leaving Ainge out of the bad GM summit he wrote a few months back (there is no link to this piece, Cincinnati Kid Industries cannot afford the archive subscription fee at I had to rule against it, since I laugh out loud when I read his stuff. So for the immediate future, Bill is immune to the Max Mercy HOF, especially since the next inductee deserves a special ceremony.

As I said before, Shira Springer blithely said that mock drafts rank up there in Ainge World with Employee Number Eight. So I will wrap up this post with some cheerful thoughts for the last remaining Celtics fans. Danny Ainge elected to pay the money the Suns owed Brian Grant to sit home and watch TV (as he retired on June 28). For the record, that is $1.8 million to a guy who won't even play a game of basketball, let alone play for Boston and a first round pick next year (granted, it comes from Cleveland so that it won't be all that great unless King James vanishes from the material sphere) for Rajon Rondo, a point guard who prompted this reaction from Bill Simmons in his running diary:
9:40 -- Just when this draft couldn't get any crazier, my beloved Celtics just bought the 21st pick from Phoenix to take Rajon Rondo, the Kentucky guard who Chad Ford touted all summer because he mistakenly thought Rondo was foreign. Unfortunately, Rondo can't shoot. This is an understatement. As Bilas says, "Teams in the SEC didn't even guard him." Put it this way: The list of NBA teams that won an NBA title with a point guard who couldn't shoot looks like this:
1. (empty)2. (empty)3. (empty)
On the other hand, my Celtics moles told me that Rondo absolutely DESTROYED Foye and Williams in their workout a few weeks ago. So who knows?
God, I'm a sap ...
9:43 -- My dad's reaction: "So we have two new point guards, but one of them's 5-foot-11 and the other one can't shoot? And I'm supposed to be happy about this?" Tough to argue with that one. I'm not even going to bother telling him about Rondo's freakishly long fingers. Maybe tomorrow.

At least the Celtics will have a dance team for the first time in franchise history in the coming season. It's almost ironic that two teams broke tradition in a big way in the last few months. Boston, with it's arena rafters filled with championship banners and the retired numbers of past heroes now has cheerleaders. Miami, the former expansion team whose first ever field goal came from the immortal Rory Sparrow, made its first finals appearance and won its first title. But I'm wrong about Antoine Walker, and Danny Ainge is right.

And Sebastian Telfair and Rajon Rondo will be a championship back court one of these days.

In the immortal words of country music legend George Strait: "I've got some ocean front property in Arizona. From my front porch you can see the sea. I've got some ocean front property in Arizona. An' if you'll buy that I'll throw the Golden Gate in free."

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