Thursday, June 28, 2007

Right up until the moment the Celtics drafted "Big Baby" Davis, I was quite happy with the way the draft process shook out this year. Landing Ray Allen should turn out to be an unmitigated disaster for a team that already had an aging, overrated swing player wearing number 34. Not only that, but Ray Allen gets paid quite a bit of money, and the salary cap situation in Boston is dreadful.

I would, I must confess, rather have seen them draft Joakim Noah. I think Noah is going to be terrible. He can't shoot, he was worse than useless against bigger, more athletic players in college and he was compared to a baby wildebeest on ice in this space not entirely unfairly. He got by in college because there were very few players who were bigger and more athletic than him. But this is the NBA. Here's looking at you Chicago. The new Bulls run is ending before it began.

On one peripheral level the Ray Allen move makes sense because the last thing the Celtics need at this point is another young player. However, that is the only thing about this deal that makes sense at this moment. Paul Pierce is more of a slasher (or was before he left his speed somewhere back in 2004), and Allen is a jump shooter. But that doesn't mean they can play together. Both guys have egos, after all.

Even if the intention is to turn around and package Pierce with some young players and try to chase a big man like Garnett or Jermaine O'Neal, where is the logic in trading for a guy who makes fantastical sums of money despite the notable handicap of never having won a title, or a finals game, or a conference finals? Even better, why pair him with Pierce when all those things apply to the "Truth" as well?

Unless I miss my guess (and I'm always ready to admit that my predictions go wrong in spectacular fashion far more than they hit the mark), the Celtics have just taken the first step in the process that will lead them to the inevitable conclusion that they should have traded Al Jefferson this season. With Pierce and Allen squabbling over shots and touches, what will be left for Big Al? Or Ryan Gomes? Or Rajon Rondo? Or Tony Allen if he comes back? Or Gerald Green if he has another discernible skill beyond dunking?

Maybe I am of a one track mind when it comes to the Celtics current management team, but I think that this trade is just one more attempt to get out from under the mill stone that was, is and ever shall be the Walker trade. Since that day, Ainge has been trying to find a player to complement Paul Pierce. Ricky Davis didn't work, and Wally might have worked if he'd stayed healthy for more than 8 seconds. If this were the damn rodeo, he might have had something, but it's basketball. Obviously, Antoine did something right, but Ainge didn't like his game. Ainge must like Allen's game, but he hasn't been right yet.

I say this to avert what I fear could be a series of tragic scuffles, tramplings and scattered outbreaks of hooliganism when Celtics fans flock to their local video rental professionals to clamor for the few remaining copies of He Got Game. Don't get your hopes up, Celtics fans. Or do, so that I can laugh at you and say I told you so over and over again.

The rest of the draft was disappointing. I'm not very familiar with Gabe Pruitt, since I never got a chance to see USC play this season. I do remember Big Baby from the NCAA tournament run LSU put together in 2006. I was favorably impressed, and I felt he should have come out right away. Injuries and the fact that LSU was no longer a surprise team hurt him this year. But I think he was a steal in the second round. I think he is immediately the best option the Cs have at center.

I was hoping for the Cs to draft Josh McRoberts. I even had a nice little seed for a paragraph where I could compare McRoberts to Joe Klein, minus (of course) the athletic ability and the mean streak. Too bad I'm one of about 12 people in the area who remember Klein. But trust me when I tell you, it's an insult. Plus, since the Davis pick seems to work, it doesn't help my School for Scoundrels reference from yesterday, because even though Ainge's self sucks, he did help himself tonight.

So without Noah and without McRoberts coming to Boston, I can only be so happy with the terrible trade that will haunt the Celtics. Although it might be possible that Allen could be insulted and awakened by the fact that he was traded for Jeff Green, Delonte West and the aforementioned Wally, I'm not losing any sleep over that possibility. I suppose I wouldn't be a very good Catholic if I didn't believe in miracles, but I don't expect to see them where the Celtics are concerned.

I was, however, so bummed that the Cs could have had a worse draft that I had to include this mugshot of Larry King.

He is one intense, creepy dude today. But back in the 70s, he was worse. I always assumed that you got more creepy as you aged, but this seems to contradict that notion. Hell, I bet if I'd said that was the Green River Killer, you'd have bought it. Yikes.

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