First the positives: I’m honestly excited to see how Evan Fournier and Jabari Parker look on the Celtics next year if they are retained, given a full off-season and training camp to get integrated. People poo-pooing Fournier have little to no understanding of his struggles on the court are wholly attributed to his Covid diagnosis leading to issues breathing and restrained playing time. Side note: if you’re still mad the Celtics didn’t trade for James Harden what happened to Fournier likely happens to him.
As for Jabari, I am biased in my rooting for him to succeed. Which is fine because there are plenty of people on the opposite end rooting for him to fail because he’s taking minutes from bench players we at this point should realize do not hold the key to our success. If Parker is taking minutes from Romeo Langford we have a problem. If Grant Williams and Semi Ojeleye see their playing time reduced then that’s a different story.
In Romeo you have a consistent defensive stalwart. His weaknesses aren’t so crippling as Williams and Ojeleye. Langford deserves more time. Williams and Ojeleye are a shell game. You aren’t sure what you’re going to get, it is likelier you’ll get nothing from them as opposed to something positive. Parker is simply another shell.
The problems with the Celtics this year is almost entirely disconnected from its on court product or front office performance. Truly this is a cursed team being exploited by a hyper capitalistic league and a bourgeoisie players union working hand and hand with management to craft a hellacious schedule designed to maximize profits at the expense of players healths.
But the players didn’t want to spend eight months in a village they could not leave and the only available activity was work. So it’s their fault. Not Adam Silver (#BestSportsCommissioner). Not LeBron James, Chris Paul and Michelle Roberts.
You know the old saying: if everyone is crazy you’re the one who is insane? That’s me this entire season constantly making my case this season is like pyrite serving as a gold substitute. Up until this point the league has had 160 in Covid protocols either diagnosed with the illness or exhibiting symptoms. Total days spent in quarantine is around 1,557. The Celtics lead the league in total players having been in Covid Protocol with 13 and days spent in said Covid Protocols with 167.
Newcomer Evan Fournier landed here and from the jump he’s been sidelined, spending a total of four weeks away from the court and to this day says he cannot breathe properly. Similar to superstar Jayson Tatum who has spent 18 days in protocol and said earlier he needs an inhaler at the start and end of games.
You’d think any sane person would agree with my assessment that the team was not dealt a proper hand and perhaps being compounded with a short off-season the Celtics were doomed to fail. Look at the Los Angeles Lakers. Covid wasn’t a problem for them in the slightest, but the long playoff the previous season has left their superstars vulnerable. LeBron and Anthony Davis missing a large chunk of the season. Two more teams given the “underachievers” label is Toronto and Miami. Both made deep runs in the playoffs last year, were given little rest and play in Covid hot spots.
When the Celtics have their best players available for long stretches they win games. When they don’t, they lose. Shocker. “I can’t believe Jaylen Brown and his group of D-Leaguers couldn’t defeat Lou Dort and his group of D-Leaguers!”
We’re all sick and the media suffers from severe narcism. There is nobody to blame here. Whatever basketball decisions you have quibbled with likely haven’t been given fair shots because the players kept getting sick. You’re mad Ainge didn’t draft or trade for whatshisface? Name that player I assure you he’s becoming ill the moment he lands in Boston.
Lastly, the Celtics are at the end of one title window. One that began in 2017-18 and ended in 2020. Yeah, Davis was always the end goal but the team Ainge assembled staring Kyrie, Hayward and Horford was supposed to contend as well. Jaylen and Jayson were supposed to be the next generation pieces growing into their own right now as the older core aged out.
When a team cashes in their chips for years of contention eventually they are paying the price, losing financial flexibility and finding themselves scrapping the bottom of the barrel. The reason the Miami Heat went out with a whimper in the last LeBron season wasn’t because of any sensational reason, but because they find themselves in the inopportune position relying on Michael Beasley and Greg Oden. The Celtics are in a similar boat relying on late first and second round picks to round out their bench.
But to be fair, Ainge did address this by trading for Fournier…. it’s just he’s been sick.
We need to be put out of our misery with a quick playoff exit. Here’s hoping we get it.