Boston’s New German Friend

Is that… could it be? The familiar, yet all too rare feeling of optimism creeping into my mental state? 

No, Schroder is not the big fish that’ll dramatically change the Celtics fortunes by himself. Until today I realized I’ve been spelling his last name wrong. But by his mere existence, providing his contributes positively, is a major net gain for a team I believed to be thin once Evan Fournier inked his contract to the Knicks about a week ago.

After Fournier was no longer an option Boston’s main five seemed to be Smart – Richardson – Jaylen – Jayson – Horford, their sixth man being Robert Williams. Boston faced a potential roster crisis similar to last season where two of their best players play the center position leading to no better option but to trot out the dreaded double-big lineup. In my opinion the double-big lineup was fine on small doses; Williams and former teammate Daniel Theis did well together, but it isn’t a formula you want to rely on when playing Brooklyn. Opposing teams typically launch three-bombs and make them at an extraordinary clip thanks in part to God hating the Celtics. With the double-big lineups minimized that weakness hopefully vanishes.

We’ve all heard the story about Schroder and told our fair share of jokes. Not even twelve months ago he was Laker’s GM Rob Pelinka’s greatest find in free agency. Before playing a game for the purple and gold the team believed in him so much they wanted to preemptively sign him to an extension worth $84 million, roughly over $20 million per season. He turned it down, either due to his agent or himself believing there was more capital to be extracted from the market, and saw his value plummet as the Lakers lost LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the majority of the season to injuries. 

From the promising 2019-20 campaign in Oklahoma in where he shot 46/38/83 splits to the dregs of a 43/33/84 Schroder, in the most simplest way I can put this, made a mistake and lost a lot of money. Boston is his best chance to recoup his lost capital and re-enter free agency the next season where either Boston will retain him if Beal doesn’t sign or elsewhere. 

Why he didn’t work in L.A could also be chalked up to he didn’t fit next to LeBron. Someone who needs the ball in his hands, but isn’t an elite scorer to deserve the needed shot attempts doesn’t usually work well next to the equally ball-dominate James. I’m aware it is contradictory to say the stats for Schroder are better with LeBron out of the picture than with him in, it also tells the story that maybe he wasn’t a good fit in L.A and in Boston with more pass friendly players like Tatum and Jaylen he’ll flourish. 

Thirty-Six games with LeBron: 11.9 FGA, 43.7 fg%, 3.2 3PA, 31.6 3P%, 4.1 FTA, 82.9 ft%, 14.8 pts, 4.7 ast, 3.4 reb.

Following March 20th, when LeBron started coming in and out of the lineup: 13.3 FGA, 44.4 fg%, 4 3PA, 37 3P%, 3.6 FTA, 87.8 ft%, 16.4 pts, 7.6 ast, 3.3 reb.

Schroder is a fine playmaker, a decent defender and the best off the bench shooter this teams had (not counting the Covid stricken Fournier) since James Posey. For the first time since 2018 the Celtics field of a team predominantly of actual basketball players. By my count they have seven reliable bodies, potentially that can be upped to nine or even eleven; Payton Pritchard, Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford and Yam Madar looking mighty fine first two Summer League games. I know Summer League success rarely translates to the regular season, I fondly remember the fantastic summer campaigns of Carsen Edwards and R.J Hunter BUT THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT. 

Last season, besides the whole covid-19 issue, Boston possessed merely three good non-center players which crunched the roster significantly. Now the talent is evenly distributed between the guards, wings and bigs. Truly this hasn’t been seen since 2018 and the only reason nobody remembers how stacked that roster was is because that season was defined by their injuries. But look take a gander at the 2017-18 team and weep if you’re a Celtics fan wanting to reminisce at what was robbed from you.  

Before today I did worry about where that extra scoring threat would emerge, crossing my fingers Romeo or Nesmith would take that leap, with Schroder the need becomes less apparent. 

I’ve heard for years how the Celtics need to bring back Rajon Rondo. For what it’s worth: Schroder’s initial claim to fame was being nicknamed the “German Rondo.”

Shameless Ring Chasers

To be honest, I don’t mind the off-season the Celtics are having. Yeah, I’d love to have kept Evan Fournier. Perhaps if Brad Stevens did not feel it necessary to clear up money for Bradley Beal he would have ponied up the dough for him. But sitting on your hands and crossing your fingers Mr. Covid to not come to your door leaves you alone so that you can finish top-3 in the conference and impress a soon-to-be free agent all-star shooting guard isn’t the worst plan in the world. Of course they’ll be other suitors. Golden State will be at the door. The demons that run the Miami Heat always find a way to free up salary. Boston beat back the opposition for Al Horford, Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker in the past. Maybe they can do it again.

The positives are in what Boston did so far, and the negatives are based around “they didn’t spend money in free agency” which is true. Besides signing Enes Kanter to $2.7 million the Celtics sit on what’s left of their MLE ($3.2 million) on what potentially is going to be used on Dennis Schroeder? Hard to tell. Everything you read on Twitter is 99% scuttlebutt.

It sucks to see everyone else sign someone and achieve that new car syndrome that is all too fun to experience in the moment, but come Christmas time they sour on. It’s like clockwork. I’m sure the Knicks won’t regret paying out the ass to keep Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks. I’m certain the Chicago Bulls won’t pull their hair out over DeMar DeRozan’s one dimensional offensive scheme that only works against the Celtics on a consistent basis. 

What Stevens has done was move off a negative asset in Walker for Al Horford. Many lauded the Thunder at the time for this deal and still do, despite the fact they’ve essentially paid $60 million for the sixteenth pick in the draft and paid Walker to fuck off. Yet another win by the immortal mastermind Sam Presti.

Those who are mad it took a first round pick to get off of Walker are the same people who get mad when the Celtics draft anyone in this range of the draft. They’re simply prone to anger and should be ignored. The team isn’t perfect. But the proper authorities on the matter of how the team is run are not them. You wanna get anywhere in this god forsaken landscape of sports media you usually tie yourself to a team and cry about how poorly they are run and run down the players, no matter how accomplished, in an almost sabotage effort. Like you want to run your stars out of town. We have a lot of wannabe Dan Shaugnessey’s on Twitter and that goes for not just Boston.

Tristan Thompson, one of my favorite players because you all hate him so much, traded to Atlanta or Sacramento (I don’t really care to check) for Kris Dunn and a 2nd round pick. Another negative asset the Celtics moved for positive value. A brief description of Dunn is he is Brad Wanamaker beat by beat. Quick, passable as a ball-handler, can get steals on defense and that’s about it. If he stays healthy he’s fine.

Josh Richardson is a solid scorer, and contrary to popular belief was good in Philadelphia two seasons ago, but horrid in Dallas last year. My  submission is he needs to have the ball in his hands and be allowed to cook. He isn’t an off-ball player. Perhaps Ime Udoka put in a good work for him and figured that was the cause for his recent struggles. While a starting backcourt with Smart and his mini-me will make the hallow FleetCenter sound like the Battle of Gettysburg, I can only shrug and say “maybe it’ll all work itself out.”

Look at what the Lakers and Nets did and flatly assume it’s all superfluous. One team signed the best available free agents over the age of thirty thanks to their geographical location. The other picked up shameless ring chasers. But both of them could have ran it back with the same rosters and enjoyed similar success they are likely to embark on this upcoming season. It’s all predicated on health. Health is why these two assholes didn’t meet in the finals last season.

Miami is the perfect combination of location and shameless ring chasing. 2020 hurts despite myself seeing the outcome from a mile away as it happened, because it inflated their reputation beyond the admirable above-average label. Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson shot the lights out in the bubble and showed how much of an anomaly that was the following season, yet we insist on the former version of themselves being true. It isn’t. They are fine supporting cast pieces. Pat Riley should look to cash in on them rather than keep drinking the kool-aid. Just like DeRozan you can’t say the Heat are overrated because once every two weeks they meet their expectations against the Celtics and everyone forgets the previous contests where they played like hot garbage.

Attention spans similar of that to a moth attracted to a flickering lightbulb. 

Wait and see is all I can say right now. Wait and see. We don’t know what awaits us. Yes, Covid-19 is still here and wrecking havoc on even grander scale than it did the previous year thanks to the influx of the Delta variant. Many players have refused to be vaccinated and the league seems apathetic towards the matter. Fans and writers are too stupid to understand they are drawing their grandiose conclusions due to how their season related to the virus. 

Outside of that we don’t know what will be of Marcus Smart or Robert Williams. The former is due for an extension and expects around $20 million annually for his services. Williams is less of a concern due to his restricted free agent status next summer. He is also prone to injury and it isn’t a horrible idea to see what’s out there for him now so you’re not saddled with his aching body combined with eight figure salary. 

More Like Dumb Agency

Repetition defines our lives. The ability to stave off mental decline as we watch yahoos cheer the very people who’ll destroy life as we know it isn’t one to take lightly. To be so far from the levers of power, especially since once upon a time you believed we were so close to them, only to never grasp them is a cruel game we play on ourselves as much as our overlords do.

Sports and politics are intertwined in suffering. It’s differences stems from the kool-aid drinkers of the latter being more joyous and less questionable of authority than the former. If I can pinpoint what ills the American psyche in the briefest terms it be a misplacement of emotions. Nobody in sports is truly happy, those who are come across as sycophantic weirdos. Everyone on team Democrat currently is delirious with joy as they’ve returned to brunch. They are also guilty of being sycophants, but that leads them to admire people and never (and I mean never) question them. 

After a while you grow accustomed to the bad news, sometimes you even grow numb to it. It depends given the circumstances of your relationships to the event. The defeat of Nina Turner breaks my heart. Toss this L in with the others. Brent Welder, Allison Hartson, Ihssane Leckey, and of course Bernie Sanders. They’ll always be another progressive running in some area of this God forsaken country to get wrapped up in. Soon we’ll forget the pain and ready ourselves for more hurt. It’s like when the Celtics break my heart, they’ll be back and soon I’ll get wrapped up in whatever silly obstacles they find in their way pondering whether God really is toying with my delicate mental health. 

All I wanted this summer was the return of shooting guard Evan Fournier so we could perceive our flexibility in our rotation and, in my mind, be the second best team in the conference baring health. I do admire the Milwaukee Bucks in what they accomplished recently, but I was confident the Celtics could handle them. Maybe they still can, seeing as they stole two out of three from the Bucks prior to the Fournier deal happening. But out of respect I give Milwaukee the moniker of second best over my favorite team.

The contract for Fournier doesn’t seem one Boston would not do in a normal situation. Four years, $78 million ($19.5 per) isn’t very much. It’s right where experts pinned his value being. But Boston didn’t match. My guess is it’s either because ownership is being cheap or they believe Bradley Beal is coming next off-season so just let the chips fall as they may this year and keep the books clean.

“But what if he doesn’t sign?” is a question I seen bounced around by the wonderful people on Twitter.com. That’s the risk you run, unfortunately. It is encouraging to see Beal nip trades in the bud, meaning he isn’t interested in entertaining suitors for his upcoming free agency beyond his own team and Boston. 

What hurts is I do not know how we achieve this without cutting loose Mr. Celtic Marcus Smart. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have broken the bank, and Smart is due an extension. Either we’ll see him moved this season for assets or we’ll feel obligated to play this season out if, for once in our lives, we enjoy a clean bill of health. 

That’s the other sticking point: we’re wrapping ourselves up in a potentially doomed season given how the situation regarding the leagues handily of Covid-19 has been laughably poor. It is very likely the Celtics experience the same woes they did previously and the team appears worse than they actually are. But the discourse dictators are so stupid they took it at face value making the pill all the more bitter to swallow. 

Covid lays in the grassy knolls waiting for the perfect opportunity to upend our season the moment we gain any sort of momentum. Hey, remember we started last season 8-3 before Tatum was diagnosed with Coronavirus? Seems like ages ago. 

For all and all, despite all my doom forecasting the roster remains solid and even as Brad Stevens has let Fournier walk, and elected not to overpay the parade of free agents that are a dime a dozen, the team will gel better if their health persists. 

It just never dose persist. 

Henry Clay and Good Ole Catholic Bashing

I did the impossible I won at something

There was not one prominent party more devoid of vision than the Whigs. If they could not nominate Henry Clay, or a plethora of favorite son candidates, they loved to elevate the generals (they loved their generals, folks!). They also loved nominating people that were old as shit. William Henry Harrison 67-years old at the time of his nomination, Henry Clay was sixty-five at the time of his nomination, Zachary Taylor was sixty-four when he came out of nowhere to become the party’s candidate, and lastly Winfield Scott was sixty-five when his fat ass was the party’s sacrificial lamb to the immortal Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire.

The youngest candidate the Whigs nominated was the fifty-four year old Daniel Webster (also of New Hampshire, but also Massachusetts). 

The party founded on anti-Jacksonian democracy continuously linked themselves to poor man’s versions of the man they despised. While having opinions of his own Andrew Jackson’s right-hand man was the Martin Van Buren, the real brains of the Democratic Party. If A-Jax was all about that action, MVB was the often overlooked bean counter without him Jackson doesn’t accomplish virtually everything he set out to do during his presidency. Granted everything Jackson accomplished was demonic, but he to give credit to the great Satan he had to win many legislative battles to do so. 

By the time 1844 rolled around Jackson’s rival and punching bag Clay was his party’s nominee (like Clay literally birthed the Whigs). Looking to rebound from losing the election of 1832, the Bank War, opposing the Indian Removal, not winning his party’s nomination in 1836, losing Harrison thirty-days into his presidency in ‘40, and having Democrat turned Whig John Tyler reject his platform at every turn, the heroic loser hoped that this time would be when all the stars aligned to achieve an epic narrative changing victory.

Spoiler alert: he didn’t. DAMN BIRNEY BROS!

Former slave owner turn abolitionist James G. Birney compiled over 17,000 votes in the critical state of New York thereby giving the state and the election to “Young Hickory” James K. Polk. 

But Clay obviously deserves blame here. The Great Compromiser proved once more he was not adaptable on the main issue of the election, that being Texas Annexation. Polk saw the independent nation bordering the fledgling Mexican Empire, it’s founding based around Anglo-Saxons wanting to practice slavery where it was ruled illegal thus causing a irreparable rift between sides, as ripped for expansion of the horrific practice. 

All Clay offered was an ineffective moderate solution to the issue. Once in office Polk did everything in his power to provoke war with the Mexicans. Clay took the sails out of the anti-slavery “Conscience Whigs” by tepidly supporting expansion, whilst also angering the “Cotton Whigs” as rumored swirled that the slave owning Clay was secretly an abolitionist thanks in part to a letter by his cousin Cassius Clay stating Henry was in accord with the abolitionist movement. 

I stole Tennessee and later New York for the slimmest victory in electoral history

Funnily enough a similar issue would pop up for the Democrats in the next election, northern Lewis Cass would be linked with the fervent slavery faction of his party, while his running mate William O. Butler would be dogged by rumors of being an abolitionist despite being a southern slave owner. 

This era was defined by nut-jobs continuously driving the ship into the ice berg, whilst crying they did not have enough control in the government. 1844 would be the last time the Democrats united behind a candidate with little reservations or conspiracy. His successors the aforementioned Cass, Pierce, Buchanan, Douglas would be subjected to hotly contested conventions, partly held together with duck tape and even in victory enraged both sides of their own party constantly.

Eat shit Birney Bros

Just like his mentor what Polk sought to accomplish was demonic and God willing he’s in Hell for all of eternity as payment for his crimes against basic human decency. But he also did everything he promised to do. Annexed Texas, expanded the country’s borders and slavery. It’s a shame that considering the water in the White House was contaminated with human feces Polk didn’t bite the dust as quickly as his predecessor or even his successor. 

James K. Polk pulls an Al Gore

Nope. History dictates any person that could remotely be a force of even marginal positive change need to die and pass the torch to a mediocre successor. Polk was a talented politician, but also a horrible person so he got to serve his entire term in relative good health. 

Playing the game Campaign Trail on AmericanHistoryusa.com you can take control of the Clay campaign, pick from three options for Vice President and try to rewrite history. If you want Clay to steal southern states, you’ll have to be pro-annexation and come out strongly against abolition when Cassius’ letter comes to light. Keep in mind you’re doing this while inflaming New York, but they aren’t essentially anti-annexation or supportive of abolition they are moderates and their wants are complex and downright infuriating in their vagueness.

Democrats advantages in New York is the inroads to Irish arrivals, and to combat that the Whigs nominated nativist Theodore Frelinghuysen of New Jersey to shore up the opposing side. It’s likely fools errand to try and soften your anti-immigrant stances, and Frelinghuysen split the baby as he was anti-expansion of slavery and voted against the Indian Removal Act. 

If you pick a more progressive option in former congressman and legal counsel for the Second Bank of the United States John Sergeant, if you want a retread of the horrific defeat from twelve years earlier. Sergeant is more strong in his hostility to slavery and ousting of the American Indians from their ancestral land. Sergeant also voted against the 1820 Missouri compromise which allowed Missouri to become a state despite being above the 36 and one-half degree line and tipping the balance of power in Congress in favor of the “Slave Power.” 

If you pick this guy you’ll have to spit in the face of immigrants to shore up nativist support in your party as it’s unlikely the Irish will swing to your side. Nativist will be easier to win over if you pick Frelinghuysen and you won’t have to be so toxic when answering questions. Regardless you usually start off with a lead in either play-through, one you’ll certainly bleed of once you start answering questions and, hopefully, form a coherent ideology that splits support in your big tent party. 

Had he won it’s chief attribute was to be that Clay found a way to dissuade people from engaging in abolition sentiments and channeled their rage against an other scapegoat the Irish Catholic. Seeing as one of the main successors to the Whig Party was the Know-Nothings was premised on anti-Catholic sentiment it is feasible to see that the party of Clay survives longer upon his victory and veers closer to anti-immigration and away from domestic policy. The elections of this era were defined by slavery and an abundance of social issues, not much about domestic policy is to be found. Course the likes of Abe Lincoln had his guiding principal be Clay’s “American System” and the Homestead Act as his main legislative accomplishment outside of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Prior to Lincoln the Whigs/Republicans struggled to engage with southerners in an alternative to their wishes of rampant expansionism. Never understanding all they wanted was land and cheap labor. Seeing as the government wasn’t going to give them land that was held by the planter elite they went after the American Indians to secure themselves a plantation of their own. 

A little known fact about the Whigs is their candidates did promise to run for only one term. They believed the president existed solely as a figurehead, a sort of rubber stamp for the congress and senate where the real power laid. If Clay did serve only one term it’s likely the sixty-six year old does not survive his entire four-years as drinking the poo-water did Zachary Taylor in by his second year in the office. So you’ll likely get Frelinghuysen as your president. Since he was not much of a departure from Clay in terms of policy you only lose the best deal maker in 19th century American politics at a time of great and constant strife, with the threat of succession looming. No biggie.

Clay probably acquires Texas, but not by war. It probably doesn’t even achieve full statehood until a Democrat takes office. The issue that killed the Whigs as a party was Millard Fillmore signing the Fugitive Slave Act; in this timeline it could have been the statehood of Texas that did them in if Clay or his Whig successors sided with the Democrats in granting them the status cretans like John C. Calhoun lusted. 

If there is no war, and Clay is dead, Frelinghuysen is the party’s de facto nominee in 1848 facing either Lewis Cass or Martin Van Buren. With no Texas to stick in his craw Van Buren doesn’t anger Jackson and potentially keeps his place at the table after being a good solider in the previous election supporting Polk. Van Buren ran a third-party campaign on the abolitionist ticket known as the “Free-Soilers” despite never once being an abolitionist a day in his life. He’d like to see slavery curtailed but never thought of it being expunged from the nation. 

His campaign was rooted in showing his party how they were playing with fire constantly wavering to the south, expanding slavery and flaring up the north. Seeking only to deny Cass the office Van Buren accomplished his modest goal and sent war hero Zack Taylor to the White House instead. Taylor was more unapologetic towards the south, demanding California be admitted as a free state and if the south tried to secede he wouldn’t hesitate having all of them killed. It’s likely the Civil War kicks off then and there if he hadn’t kicked the bucket and Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act, something Taylor also vehemently opposed. 

The only reason Fillmore found himself in presidential bullpen was the party’s attempt to reconcile with the Clay faction unhappy his party nominated a candidate so closely associated with slavery. All anyone knew about Taylor’s upbringing was he descended from a class of rich Virginian planters and owned plentiful amounts of slaves. Fillmore, a slavery agnostic was installed to secure balance on the ticket. Little did people know just how little did that Alec Baldwin looking motherfucker cared about the issue of slavery. 

But in TL Frelinghuysen is the nominee (maybe Georgian rep. Thomas King Butler would be his tuning mate), and either him or Cass or Van Buren are the president. But I see Clay/Frelinghuysen  merely being able to kick the can of Texas down the road and ‘48 being a redux of the issue. Maybe Frelinghuysen wins, still signs the Fugitive Slave Act and kills the party as despite his previous history as an anti-slavery proponent he like all politicians is guilty of cowardice. 

Or maybe Cass wins and he does what Polk did only four-years later. 

I think Frelinguysen wins. My nativity wants to believe he’ll veto the Fugitive Slave Act, make California a free state, continue to drag his heels on Texas annexation, and try mightily to shift the focus of slavery to hatred of Irish Catholics and maybe with expansion halted, for a brief time that’ll work and the Civil War is kicked down the road. Maybe Abe Lincoln runs for president but on the Whig ticket? Maybe Lincoln’s defining moments isn’t the war with the south to end slavery and preserve the union, but his war in the west to secure land for poor whites at the cost of Native Americans.

In history we see great men falter, we see blood soaked generals rise to power, and sometimes useless or thought to be irrelevant individuals secure an eternal place in our textbooks and more often than not leave a mark whether we know it or not. Accidental presidents like John Tyler authorized the annexation of the Lone Star state six-days before Polk took office, Millard Fillmore did the bidding of the south and destroyed their only opposition to their political project in the process,  Andrew Johnson brought unspeakable apocalyptic nightmarish atrocities, Chester Arthur existed, Theodore Roosevelt blissfully ended the Gilded Age, Harry Truman flushed all the Communists in the work force down the toilet and lead us to the Hell world we currently inhabit, Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty and expanded civil rights…

And the little thought senator from New Jersey, later mayor of Newark, would Bible thump and catholic bash to comical extremes. 

He Has Us By The Balls

It’s Just As Much Smart’s Team As It Is Tatum’s

In many ways the landscape of Boston sports is virtually unrecognizable compared to twenty-five years ago. While the Celtics fell on some rough times in the late-1990s the mystic remained. It was never uncommon for behemoths to succumb to regression for a decade. The New York Yankees from 1982 to 1995 were the dregs of the Major League’s. The basement is inevitable, it’s the prolonged stay that is the bigger concern.

Since 2008 the Celtics have not been in a funk by any stretch of the imagination. Experiencing only one season without a playoff appearance (2014), six conference finals appearance, two NBA finals trips and one championship is nothing to sneeze at. But we are impatient and demand the moon. The feeling around the league when Giannis secured his first championship was an overwhelming “FINALLY!” despite the fact he is only 26. But to many he’s been around forever and his chances were plentiful prior to this season. Failure is unacceptable to the people who’ll never amount to much in life as they tie themselves to complete strangers in a one-way symbiotic relationship. 

My Twitter timeline is flooded with “You’re next” tagging Jayson Tatum. No. No he isn’t. The NBA is a silly league governed by happenstance and elitism. The only reason the Bucks are here is thanks to Covid-19 attacking the NBA’s best players, and benefiting from untimely injuries. Otherwise we’d be treated to a soul crushing Lakers-Nets series. The talking heads glee would make me vomit. Thankfully they did not get wha they wanted. Giannis, the man they’ve tried to goad out of Milwaukee for the better part of three-years is likely to remain in his small-market, acting as the road block to Kevin Durant and the aforementioned Tatum for years to come. More piranhas in the tank is preferable than just one or two. 

If the Celtics are to be where Milwaukee is the explanation lies in Marcus Smart. With Kemba Walker in Oklahoma point guard duties are solely his. Second year man Peyton Pritchard likely his backup baring a trade. People have linked the Celtics to guards like Dejounte Murray and Patty Mills and I don’t see it. We don’t have the financial capital nor the resources to swing those kinds of deals. We are a team caught between eras, one where we looked for talent to prop up the Jays and the future one where we build wholly in the image of Tatum. 

For this year (and possibly the next) the offense is Smart’s to handle. His chief responsibility is to feed his all-star forwards and do so often. Smart’s gotten the reputation as a shot chucker and personally I understand how that’s come to be. His wildly confident in his shot that often betrays him and even when that is apparent he is undaunted. That is something I can admire from afar about him, though it is maddening when your season hinges on it. 

But little do people know he is very responsible when in a distributor role versus when casted as one of the offensive forces. Smart has the brain of a Mike Conley during the stretches where he is the one, concerning himself with getting others involved. When the floor general isn’t him he is one of the marksmen in the trenches waiting for the command to fire. As much as not bringing back Walker is a sign this team will go as far as Jaylen and Jayson will take them, this was a bigger vote of confidence in point guard Smart.

How will he do? God knows. Dude is a fine ball player coming off a sluggish 2021 campaign that is forgivable given how virtually everyone on the roster had a season they’d like to forget and can chalk it up to the unsettling backdrop it took place under. Sadly, it seems Covid will remain in the background for at least one more season and we’ll have to wait and see how Boston handles the issue.

Again, 2021 wasn’t pretty. But blame players being in and out of the lineup for the entire season. Nothing about 2021 seemed to be real. A respectable 45-win team was cut down to 36, in my opinion. And for what it’s worth, Smart says his sluggish play on both sides of the ball was due to personal issues off the floor. Those are complicated matters I cannot comprehend. I think we should respect it and hope he is able to be in a better place mentally this upcoming season.

According to Chris Forsberg, in the 2019-20 season in the limited reps Smart received at point guard (23 percent of his 1,919 minute) he enjoyed a positive 9.9 net rating, ranking strongly in the 93rd percentile of combo-guards. The year before, you know the worse year to be a Celtics fan, he did even better with a plus-10.6 net rating logging a mere 8 percent. 

It is very likely Smart is on the track to becoming a Kyle Lowry type player. Both struggled to find their shot for many years, but were renown for their defensive prowess. 

If this experiment works Boston could then search for that illusive shooter off the bench they haven’t had since James Posey. Hell, if Tristan Thompson enjoys a renaissance the Nets in need of a center could for deal him giving back Joe Harris in my dream scenario. 

All our hopes and dreams hinges on our streaky shooting guard now playing point guard. 

Overachieving Cheapskates

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and the Red Sox going from worst to first (*KNOCKs ON WOOD*)

Little was expected of the Red Sox this season. Still stinging from the Mookie Betts trade, one made wholly to placate cheap ownership, the general manager Chaim Bloom was saddled with the unenviable task of moving a homegrown, five-tool superstar adored locally and nationally. The return was a starting outfielder, a backup catcher who has recently begun his major league career, and a second baseman that’ll be seen in the Bigs next season most likely. 

Not an impressive haul. But Bloom wasn’t trading Betts to shore up positions in need of addressing. Many teams in all sports fear what is called the luxury tax, crossing this threshold comes with penalties worth around $13 million for 2021 and potentially more until the team is out of the red.

John Henry is incredibly rich and could afford to pony up the dough. This is simply money he doesn’t want to part with for various selfish reasons. This was a salary dump. Only in baseball can a Gold Glove caliber outfielder, MVP and World Series champion in his prime is treated so unjustly.

Bloom did not move Betts more for the players given in return, it was to free up money to appease his owner, but also to get back to spending to replenish their depleted farm system. The money saved by not paying Betts, and trading David Price to the Dodgers leads to the signing of prospects like Jarren Duran and Connor Seabold. What Bloom hopes to set in place is a profitable minor league affiliate that’ll funnel a long term competitive pro team, similar to the earlier era Theo Epstein teams circa 2003 to 2009 when the Sox missed the playoffs only once. Consistency since then has been hard to come by. Mixed between four AL East titles and two world championships are last place finishes. 

Not limited to spending on the farm, Bloom paid Hunter Renfroe, Kike Hernandez and Adam Ottavino. Bloom has put the money that should have been in Betts’ bank account to incredible use. 

Right now they are in first place, albeit in an incredibly tight contest with the Rays hot on their heels. The two teams have traded first place a couple of times during the course of the season. While the Rays lost their ace Tyler Glasnow in June for the foreseeable future, the Red Sox hope to have theirs (Chris Sale) back and a young arm (Tanner Houck) returning too. 

The soldiers have braved the perils of many games played on extremely short rest, many arms in their rotations haven’t been relied on this much in their careers. Hard throwing Nathan Eovaldi never was so relied on to go six or seven innings every outing. Eddie Rodriguez is battling fatigue and inconsistency. His fastball speed waxes and wanes his body healing from the ravages of Covid-19 of which he was diagnosed with last year and missed the entirely of the 2020 season. Garrett Richards lost his faithful sticky stuff and was forced to reinvent himself on the fly, throwing pitches he couldn’t have conceived of in his worst nightmares, a sixty-eight mile an hour curveball(?!) is not what the team paid for him to throw, but as John Adams once shrugged “Them’s the breaks.”

On the backend Nick Pivetta and Martin Perez have sometimes overachieved, rarely throwing out stinkers fourth and fifth starters in the rotation are expected to. Pivetta was a Bloom transaction after cashing out on Brandon Workman having an immaculate 2019 campaign, then traded to regain the relief pitcher a season later. Ironic considering the team Bloom fleeced (Philadelphia) is lead by former Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski. 

But as things stands, the Red Sox are one bat short and one or two arms short of minimizing their greatest flaws: durability and versatility. Their ninth inning man is someone who previously explicitly said to management he doesn’t want the ball in such a high-leverage situation, but the hard throwing Matt Barnes has been dominant and a lightning rod, making his first All-Star team this year. It was expected the former Yankee Ottavino would serve as the closer, but as an eighth-inning reliever he’s done more than admirably; plus he can double as a closer too. But the Red Sox need more. 

Hirokazu Sawamura, Darwinson Hernandez and Brandon Workman are inconsistent and haven’t pitched well as of late. Josh Taylor and Garrett Whitlock are the only other reliable relievers. In the postseason having four arms is fine. But as we enter the dog days we need better stopgaps than the first three names I mentioned to keep the Red Sox from plateauing. This is why I’ve circled Craig Kimbrel. 

The Cubs are sellers this year and while the Red Sox do not want to commit salary, Kimbrel’s 2022 is a team-option. If gotten Kimbrel adds flexibility and a much needed extra bullet in the chamber. His 0.59 ERA and 20 saves means the hard throwing 33 year old still has a lot to give. This’ll ease the workload on Barnes and Otto. 

This division race is poised to go down to the wire barring a losing streak. The Red Sox are beyond fatigued and are looking forward to the break. Their arms are in need of reinforcements but the promised cavalry likely isn’t enough. Today the Red Sox are title contenders, this deadline will be a referendum on what one can really expect from Bloom. He’s never been a buyer before at this point in the season. Will he be cheap and trade for cost effective backend relievers or will he go for a big fish?

Perhaps a bigger question: will John Henry open up the checkbook?

Judging Presidential Losers (1796 to 1824) Vol. 1

The Faces Of Defeat


Thomas Jefferson, 1797 to 1801

  • Better relations with France

  • Support of Maximillian Robespierre

  • No Alien & Sedition Acts

  • No all powerful SCOTUS

  • No Quasi-War with France

  • Further hostilities against Great Britain

  • Jefferson appoints Levi Lincoln to Supreme Court Justice, John Marshall becomes an influential senator from Virginia

Would He Preserve Peace?
Peace with Revolutionary France, continued bitter relations with Great Britain despite the earlier passage of the Jay’s Treaty. A earlier Jefferson administration in a more turbulent time is very murky and hard to gauge. Overall, I say worser relations and a potential earlier embargo on Great Britain leads to a Quasi-War with the Brits in place of the French.

Jefferson was a fan of the Provisional government in France and didn’t think highly of Napoleon. Maybe the U.S sends troops to stop Bonapartes rise? Or maybe the U.S is drawn into conflict with Napoleonic France? Hard to say. Maybe the Quasi-War Adams lead the U.S into becomes an actual war under Jefferson. 
Score: Negative one point

Would He Ensure Liberty?
No Alien and Sedition Acts, which George Washington supported Adams signing because after crushing the Whiskey Rebellion the pro-Jefferson tabloids heckled the general mercilessly. 

But then there’s his many slaves…

Score: Plus one point

Would He  Provide Prosperity?
Jefferson accurately assessed the tyrannical nature of finance capital and capitalism as a whole. Alexander Hamilton ensured only the elites would gain power and a responsive government, in a purposeful nature. That being said, to reaffirm what I said earlier his alternative was this fallacy of the Yeomen farmer not having to rely on the government to whip up revenue, the slave masters will force the slaves to pick cotton and tobacco to do it. This is also tyrannical. 

In the end Jefferson’s alternative to Hamilton’s dystopian pleasuring of the rich was an agricultural based economy profiting off exploiting non-whites. Not good.

Score: Negative two points

Would He Be Effective?

The Democratic-Republicans possessed a 12 seat advantage in the House of Representatives, but the Federalist enjoyed a 19 to 10 margin in the Senate. Plus he undermined Adams during his presidency as Veep and I doubt if we reversed the roles it be any different. Jefferson would be even more handicapped by the machinations Hamilton.

Score: Negative one point

Final score: Negative three-points 

In the election of Adams vs Jefferson did Americans make the right choice? Eh, not really. But both options sucked so I’d call this a wash. I think if Adams and Jefferson switched presidential victories they’re more effective in a positive sense by what they would and wouldn’t have done. 

John Adams, 1801 to 1805

  • No Louisiana Purchase

  • Hamilton is too busy to duel Aaron Burr

  • No disastrous Embargo of 1807 against Britain, leading to better relations and free trade
  • Possible war with France

Would He Preserve Peace?
Peace with Britain and Adams was a good enough diplomat to avoid escalated conflicts with France so… three points

Would He Ensure Liberty?
Cc: Alien and Sedition Act. Negative three

Would He Attempt To Provide Prosperity?

The north and southern states competed directly with one another setting up different economies with conflicting interests. Not much is said about Adams on the domestic front, but we know Jefferson spent like an asshole and it wasn’t for internal improvements or stuff the people actually needed. I’ll cut Johnny some slack and give him a plus one score.

Would He Be Effective?

Adams enjoyed a fourteen seat majority in the House and thirteen in the Senate. I believe he would be effective. Plus two.

Final score: three-points

Did Americans make the right decision? 

Eh… no. I think the Louisiana Purchase was a horrible idea as I don’t find slaughtering native Americans to make room for slaves all that enticing. I don’t believe Adams would have done this and given the icier relationship the U.S would have with France I say this deal doesn’t get offered to the U.S and maybe Spain ponies up the dough for it. Jefferson’s ideals was based on never ending expansion, but once the frontiers closed his libertarian values became null and void. The “Revolution of 1800” which saw the demise of the Federalists Party could have very well been the death-nail for the Dem-Reps.

So… no. I’m more sympathetic to Jefferson’s point of view on government than Hamilton, as the former didn’t call the people the great beast. But I’d rather see slave power curtailed rather than it work hand and hand with capitalism.

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 1805 to 1813

  • Further aristocratic dominance

  • No War of 1812; or at least not yet

  • Inadvertently stunts the growth in popularity of Andrew Jackson

  • Very Pro-Slave for a Federalist

Would He Preserve Peace?

Peace with Britain, yes. That’s enough. Plus three. 

Would He Ensure Liberty?
Nope. Pinckney was very pro-slave for a Federalist and believed political office should be held exclusively by aristocratic elites, such as himself and even proposed the president serve a twenty-year term. Yikes. Negative-two.
Would He Provide Prosperity?
No embargo of 1807 leading to an economic collapse so… sure. Solid, conservative governance. Positive one. 

Would He Be Effective?

In OTL the Federalist were beyond toast. Maybe Adams winning in 1800 butterflies this, but we’ll just assume America grows to despise the Feds anyway. The Dem-Reps would throughly kick Pinckney’s ass. So negative one. 
Point total: negative 2 points

Did Americans make the right decision: Madison was by no means a good president. He was tricked by Henry Clay into starting war with the British, let the charter of the nat’l bank expire meaning the U.S had no money to support its war efforts and he vetoed an internal improvements bill because according to his Jeffersonian ideals trying to make the roads and bridges of colonial America more habitable is unconstitutional. Gotta love that Constitution. 

That being said, Pinckney was an elitist dope propped up by Hamilton. It was either going to be Pinckney or Rufus King acting as Hamilton’s avatar, he went with the former because the latter exercised more intelligence which is a big no no for Hammy. 

That all being said… I’m not too fond the Madison administration and think a Pinckney victory in 1808 keeps the Feds alive and more importantly avoids a pointless war with the Brits, and even more importantly minimizes Andrew Jackson’s celebrity. 

So no, the U.S did not make the right choice. Though I understand why they turned their noses up at the snobby, pretentious Anglophiles based in the northeast. 

DeWitt Clinton, 1813 to 1817

  • Superior handling of the economy

  • Superior handling of the War of 1812; Madison was guilty of keeping incompetent generals in charge because political differences

  • Focus on Internal Improvements

  • Establishment of the 2nd Nat’l Bank; Madison let the first bank’s charter expire and collapse

  • Possible gut punch to influence of slave state oligarchs, of which they’d of course recover from but whatever

  • No Hartford Convention (and all their good ideas) leading to the collapse of the Federalist Party

Would He Preserve Peace?

Yes. A thousand times yes. Clinton would inherit a war that was rotten from the jump and considered un-winnable. A peace deal with the Brits. Plus 3 points. 

Would He Ensure Liberty?
De Witt was based in New York during a time where slavery was being phased out entirely above the Mason-Dixon Line. The planter elite would despise him so.. two points

Would He Provide Prosperity?

Clinton proved to be an inspirational, determined and resourceful political figure in New York helming the Erie Canal Commission. He proved effective in garnering $7 million in funds for the project labeled by his detractors as “Clinton’s Ditch” and he had the last laugh by 1825 when he sailed from Buffalo to New York City. He wouldn’t veto the Bonus Bill like Madison did, leading to a construction of roads and canals the country sorely needed for trading purposes. Three points.

Would He Be Effective?
A Clinton election leads to an Era of Good Feelings differencing only in the fusion of the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists. Clinton wasn’t a Fed, rather a Dem-Rep gone rogue. His near victory caused Madison to reestablish the National Bank and govern more like a Federalists. It’s safe to assume Clinton was the best president this country turned down. Plus two. 

Final Score: Plus nine points

Did Americans Make The Right Decision?

No. Madison sucked. He wrote a shitty document that hampers our ability to fix things to this day and his fumbling of the war caused the city of Washington to be burnt down due to him keeping incompetent generals in service because of political affiliation favorable to him. He sucked. He blowed. I’m glad he’s dead. 

Rufus King, 1817 to 1825

  • Continuation of the Proto-American System based on internal improvements and the Nat’l Bank

  • Another blow to the planter elite suffering a defeat against a anti-slavery Federalist

  • No Monroe Doctrine

  • No Panic of 1819

Would He Attempt To Preserve Peace?
I believe so yes. As I stated before the Federalists casted their lot in with the British and as far as survival of the United States is concerned that was likely the right call. One point.

Would He Attempt To Ensure Liberty?

In one of Rufus’ last political acts he denounced the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which while it did prevent an earlier Civil War, and prohibited slavery in the north it served to strengthen the Slave Power in congress and did little to quell the thirst the planter elite had in expanding their empire up north despite the recent ruling. King was deeply anti-slavery and while vetoing this bill definitely leads to a Civil War, perhaps with generals like Winfield Scott on the side of the Union the Confederacy is crushed as is the practice of slavery. Two-points.

Would He Attempt To Provide Prosperity?

For all the boasting I just made about King’s principals, the Federalists are still the party of the aristocratic class of the north. While DeWitt was also of this ilk, his record as Mayor of New York and later Governor showed an ability to expand beyond that. King would be a solid, steady man at the helm.Not a champion of the people by any stretch of the imagination. Zero points.
Would He Be Effective?

By this time the Federalists were deader than dead and if by some miracle King won it leads to a Civil War meaning the bulk of the Dem-Reps up and abandon the country all together leaving behind some loyalist Jeffersonians, but many more Feds… so yes. He’ll be effective. One point.

Final Score: three-points

Did Americans make the right decision?

James Monroe steamrolled opponents in two presidential contests only to be forgotten in history immediately after his term… While in office he didn’t accomplish anything spectacularly good, rather acting as a bridge from the first era of American politics to the next. Monroe was the David Woodley/Don Strock Miami Dolphins stuck between the Bob Griese and Dan Marino eras. Destined to be forgotten and did little to make a case for himself to be remembered.

Andrew Jackson, 1825 to 1829

  • More stuff for the barbarian to destroy

  • Perhaps is less vindictive as his wife is still alive and hasn’t made enemies in John Q. Adams and Henry Clay
  • Earlier Trail of Tears
  • Possibly U.S involvement in The Fredonian Rebellion in Texas

Would He Attempt To Preserve Peace?

Jackson probably invests the military to assist the rebellion in Texas and maybe we get the territory into the Union sooner. I think a Jackson administration at this point in time mirrors James K. Polk’s tenure in office two decades later. A presidency built off expansion of the border and financial sturdiness thanks to low tariffs and free trade.

If Jackson wins the war versus the Mexicans, three-points. If he loses it negative three.

Would He Attempted To Provide Prosperity?

On the economic front Jackson wasn’t very invested in his earlier days. The deficit would continue to decline as it did in OTL. One-point for being a rather inconsequential figure in that regard.

it just so happened that man Jackson wanted hanged was a worser figure in U.S History John C. Calhoun so i guess it wasn’t all that bad.

Perhaps we don’t get those tariffs in the first place as Jackson only did this to piss off the protectionist in the north (I don’t know why, I tried understanding his reasoning but it comes across as a guy with too much time on his hands coming up with elaborate schemes to get one over on his advisories). The tariff was designed to fail in Congress, make Van Buren and the south look reasonable as they were extending an olive branch to the northern protectionists lead by Henry Clay… only they took that offer, thereby pissing off Calhoun.

On second thought… negative two points.

Would He Attempt To Ensure Liberty?

Let’s see… loved to own and slaughter blacks and natives, and threaten representatives if they didn’t agree to his tariffs. Jackson leads an earlier exodus of the natives from their ancestral land. Negative three-points.

Would He Be Effective?

Andy Jack knew how to get his way. If Jackson was Trump, then Martin Van Buren was the Mitch McConnell the real puppet-master. He killed Clay’s bank, won numerous other legislative battles and throughly transformed the United States mentality and forever broaden their ambitions for westward expansion.

I hate every single thing the man did, but he accomplished what he sought to do… three points.

Final score: Plus one-point if he wins the war with Mexico; negative five points if he loses.

Did Americans Make The Right Decision?

Well in ‘24 they did support Jackson, only the House chose Adams instead. Maybe if Jackson wins here he’s less vindictive and deranged… maybe he even steps down after one term because there’s nothing galvanizing him to continue serving. I’m actually leaning towards no. We didn’t make the right choice

More Thoughts On The Return of Al Horford

It’s no secret the Celtics lacked significant enough cohesion on the offensive end. For a multitude of reasons the team never jelled, some of the cause of players not being fully healthy and outside forces out of their control. Despite his scoring prowess once he lost a step there wasn’t much Kemba Walker could contribute to the team if he is to remain inconsistent from the field. Then there’s Jaylen Brown, while his scoring has improved his inability to pass and dribble left much to be desired. Jayson Tatum was always a good passer, but when given floor general duties it essentially sacrificed his scoring as he became more passive looking to get others involved at his own detriment. The idea proposed by Jared Weiss that Tatum is selfish and needs to be more deferential to his teammates is laughable. I’ve been watching him for four years and the only criticism I had was he wasn’t asserting himself nearly enough.

A common trait that seems to define this generation of superstars to me is they lack the assertiveness of generations past. What a selfish prick like Michael Jordan or LeBron James would do if a coach didn’t let them touch the ball during crucial stretches of a game would be akin to spontaneous mutiny. But Tatum is far too reasonable to go to such an extreme and that’s why we lost in 2018. So get the fuck out of here if you’re trying to paint him as a self centered individual.

What the Celtics needed post-Kyrie was a point guard that’ll give the rock up and initiate offense. Basically a Mike Conley. But the Kemba signing worked and we’re a Tyler Herro anomaly or a Gordon Hayward injury or an Al Horford reneging on the Sixers away from being champions. But, as always, the breaks of the game went against the Celtics. So we have to regard the signing as an a abstract failure despite it very much not being. It’s nice that the discourse around the league treats Coronavirus as a knee sprain. A setback that is natural when playing basketball. 

Everyone gets so touchy when you say this season, and the previous one, are fake. “You wouldn’t be saying this if your team won.” Yes, I in fact would be saying this. I just have this part of my brain that processes irony. It’s like saying my teams win only because they cheat. Okay, so what if you’re right? What are you going to do about it? 

But the takeaway the front office for the Celtics was it was time to move away from score first point guards and enter an era where everything is geared around your two all-star forwards in a similar vein to the Los Angeles Clippers and things have been working out pretty well for them. Remember when I called them a bunch of tissue paper thin mentally weak cowards? Well as of two weeks ago that seems to be all but buried as they sure showed me what for. Good for them. No really, good for them. 

The moving of Kemba for Horford improves the Celtics passing and defense. A sad turn revaluation last season was Brown’s off ball defense being below from suspect, and Marcus Smart either taking a step back due to injury or his aggressive play coupled with the injuries he’s accumulated in his career leading to his wear and tear and regression as a defender. It hurts my soul to type this.

While many have you believe Horford is washed, they are merely letting his lost seasons in Philadelphia and Oklahoma cloud their judgment. Now I’m not one to use advanced metrics, as they are for nerds who need to be shoved into lockers and shunned from society… but when the numbers are to my liking that’s a different story. 

Last year old Al’s defensive metrics are very friendly to him. 
Defensive Real Box Score +/-: 83rd percentile
Defensive Box Score +/-: 88th percentile 
Luck-adjusted Regularized Adjusted +/-: 77th percentile

Finally, the Thunder’s defensive rating of 109.1 with Horford on the floor ranks fifth in the NBA, vs the 113.9 with him off; ranking 26th. 

He isn’t done folks. I’m perfectly aware my endorsement is akin to the kiss of death but what am I supposed to do in the face of this mounting evidence supporting the idea Horford just found himself in odd situations? The Thunder had to send him home because he was helping them win too many games. That counts for something. 

He’s still a very good passer and creator. While his athleticism has waned, he still can utilize his lanky frame and play bully-ball. Something the Celtics have missed from their center for some time. Though I do believe Tristan Thompson wasn’t too bad in his role. Oh, shut up! Your boos mean nothing to me I’ve seen what makes you people cheer!

As far as the Celtics center situation is concerned I believe we are in a “wait and see” period. Moses Brown is under contract until 2024, they are in rush to play him. Robert Williams can be sign and traded if the fit with him and Horford doesn’t work out. Thompson came along nicely late in the season and is making only $9.5 million. Not much you can get for him, so you might as well keep him. Horford is good for 20-minutes per night and unless you’re playing the Sixers that’s fine with me. 

The Celtics lost a transcendent scorer that’s likely Hall of Fame bound if he recovers like I still believe he will. But what they gained was much needed roster flexibility and established a clearer vision going forward. Not a bad trade in the moment. But of course, hindsight is always a bitch. 

Alfred Joel Horford Reynoso Has Come Home

This is something i did not want. Kemba Walker is due for a major bounce back season coming off a campaign plagued with anomalies that’ll be impossible to duplicate. Even in his hobbled state he averaged only one less point per game than he did in his previous season. 

What the Celtics did essentially was get themselves out of paying a large sum of money, risking a potential downgrade in on-court value, to raise their ceiling for improving the team in 2023. Outgoing walker being due $73 million over the next two seasons vs returning Celtic Al Horford being set to earn $53 million over the same course of time, add in flipping the sixteenth pick in the draft for entering his third year center Moses Brown, I’ve seen teams do worse in salary dumps. 

Dumping Walker leaves behind a need to replace his point totals, and the likelihood of the “solutions” being in-house. Primarily Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard. What Smart will need to do is improve his finishing around the room and develop an inside game. He is the main initiator of the offense now and it is a must he does more than what he is usually asked for. Which is why I’m skeptical that he’ll succeed and always stood by keeping Walker. 

Still, Smart is only 27 and his trajectory compared to Kyle Lowry at their respective seventh seasons are remarkably similar. Difference is with Lowry is his shooting percentages rose to All-Star levels in his age 27 season, which is what Smart will need to do now. No ifs, ans or buts. 

Looking down on the depth chart the aforementioned Pritchard can fill the role Terry Rozier once did and that’s camping out in the corner and being the backup ball-handler. Pritchard is faster than Smart and if the latter had the formers speed I really think I’d be more comfortable with our guard situation. 

Receiving old friend Alfred after two years journeying the pitiful situations of Philly and Oklahoma kind of adds more depth. Prior to this we had five NBA players, not counting Tristan Thompson because he’s a center and we couldn’t get away with playing him next to Robert Williams. Today I am certain Rob will coexist with Horford. All this talk that he’s knees are gone are likely half correct. But it says something that the Thunder sent him home because he was helping them win games when the front office wanted to tank. 

He still shoots a respectable percentage from the field, a crisp 36% from three-point and he can still get up for an alley-op on occasion. Horford is far from done and, if I am to be frank, is gonna age better than Walker… (Now watch Kemba put up 25 in OKC and make the All-Star team next season). 

Our starting lineup as of today, (assuming Evan Fournier re-signs, which this trade makes easier to do) is Smart / Jaylen / Jayson / Rob / Horford; with Fournier and Pritchard. That’s seven NBA players ready to contribute at the drop of the hat. I am bullish on 2nd year Pritchard because I feel he is always good for one or two long range threes a night. But you need more than that to win. You need Pritchard to average more points and be able to command the offense. You also need one of Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith and Jabari Parker to become a contributor off the bench. If I had to make my bet, it be Jabari because of the painful irony he’ll be hitting free agency next year. A perfect double sword I am all too useful as a fan.

Bottom line: this trade makes sense. It hurts to see Kemba go as he did everything he could here to bring us a championship. But plans changed and getting off of his contract seemed like a must.  

The Bitter NBA Watcher

Time to write has been scarce on my part. Growing up has meant a gradual loss of free time and facing massive exhaustion upon completing my duties I am unable to muster the energy needed to pen my already half assed columns. Life was so much simpler a few short years ago. It also helped I wasn’t a black-pilled nihilist utterly disgusted with the eebs and flows of basketball. 

I’m going to be honest with you, dear reader… I haven’t watched much basketball these last couple months. Most of that has been by choice. The Celtics being a miserable affair on a nightly basis, followed by me bogging myself in the same Twitter arguments left me wanting to create much distance between me the game. While all the other teams have fun because Coronavirus hadn’t handicapped them, I stew about handwringing over the uncertain future that lays ahead. Frankly, I am curious and worried Brad Stevens won’t have it in him to make the trades needed to revamp this roster which had several issues. While general managers hardly form emotional attachments to their players, to make it easier to cut and have contentious contractual negotiations with, a coach NEEDS to have one. 

There’s been some scuttlebutt about Marcus Smart hitting the trade bloc and that Dallas was a potential suitor. I advise you don’t put any stock in this at all. But I can also say that even if Dallas had players I would want in return for Smart, I doubt Stevens has it in him to cut loose someone he’s worked with everyday for seven years. 

Team-building is important. But over the course of the last couple of years I’ve noticed it’s decline in the past. The Miami Heat were Trail Blazers when they carved out three max contract slots for Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Having little to no imagination for how the rest of the roster came together the top heavy squad relied on Mike Bibby and Noris Cole to provide the spark guys like Jeff Hornacek and James Posey have for their respective teams in the past. 

The Miami ideology worked itself out in the end, even after a defeat at the hands of Dirk and the Mavericks. Mercenaries like Shane Battier joined the fold and acted as the adhesive for when the big three started to lose their grip. When the walls began to cave in middle of the fourth, facing a potential 2-0 hole vs the OKC Thunder who were their good guy doppelgänger, Battier abruptly stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer that sailed Miami to the much needed win. If he hadn’t been there the Thunder, who once upon a time wasn’t a ticking time bomb, would be up in a series nobody expected them to be in vs the franchise that desperately needed to win now least they show their pride the door.

Team-building. It matters. 

Fast forward to now… who the hell makes that shot for the Nets if Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden aren’t doing so well. Because EVENTUALLY they’ll all go cold during a critical stretch. I’ll tell you what happens… it’ll wind up matters very little and this top heavy roster that fell into the laps of overachieving idiots like Sean Marks and Steve Nash cruise to a championship because the NBA is not a league where you can afford things like patience and roster construction. Just wait for dumb luck to strike and cash out all your draft picks for the disgruntled star that suddenly became available.

People say the Celtics in 2008 did the same thing, but Ainge gave “his friend” Kevin McHale a draft pick that could have been Stephen Curry if he picked him over Johnny Flynn. The Rockets aren’t assured a damn thing with the bundle of picks they received.

The most talented team is undoubtedly Brooklyn. For Christ sake, the Bucks are letting Blake Griffin score off them. Things are real bad. On the bright side we can all finally agreed Kyrie sandbagged Boston in the Milwaukee series… right? Oh, yeah. Everyone thinks the people who live in New England are intrinsically evil and deserve hell.

We already know who will win the championship. That much is assured. The NBA is a league of unstoppable forces and immovable objects. One of those being LeBron, was sent home so the table is set for the three greatest scorers this league has ever seen to win a championship together and nobody outside of Twitter will give two shits because basketball isn’t as big as that hellscape of a platform says it is. 

In the more fun (but not better) conference the scrappy Nuggets face the Suns and Chris Paul hunting for his first ring. The Jazz play their first game in over six months vs the perpetually self destructing Los Angeles Clippers. 

Just how the stage is set for red headed bastard step child of New York to rise in the East, it is ready for the red headed bastard step child of Los Angeles to do the same in the West. Only the Clippers weak spots are more pronounced and insist on showing themselves at the worse times. How ironic, considering Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are probably the best equipped to handle the Nets. Second to Philly… which reminds me.

Why play Joel Embiid at all if you’re going to chicken out at the finish line anyway? A torn meniscus is not something to joke about, but Jo-Jo did look sublime out there in Game 1 and almost mounted a comeback vs Atlanta. Despite the loss the Sixers will defeat one of my favorite teams in the Hawks in rather decisive fashion. They will not shoot over fifty percent every night. This isn’t the bubble. 

If any team not named Brooklyn wins it’ll be a much needed win for team building. Each team having to show patience with a player or coach or signing quality role players to assist their star. Phoenix it’s DeAndre Ayton. Atlanta it’s signing Gallinari and Bogdan. For Philly it’s somehow turning Tobias Harris into their 2nd best player. For Utah it’s fixing Jordan Clarkson. For Denver it’s persevering through injuries. 

For Brooklyn… It’s the perks of technically being a big market team when fans don’t give two damns about you and won’t attend your games even if you advertise free beer.