A few days ago we celebrated Thanksgiving to reflect on what we’re thankful for and what we’ve been blessed with. Basketball certainly shouldn’t be on the top of the list of things to be thankful for, but due to the holiday and how the Celtics are playing, there should be a connection to at least appreciate what Danny Ainge has done with this team. The Celtics, who were suppose to be contending for a high lottery draft pick, find themselves a half game behind the Toronto Raptors for first in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. However, some fans have yet to accept the departure of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, undermining what the 2013 team is currently doing.
Last night was clearly the best game the Celtics have played all season, blowing out the Cleveland Cavaliers to improve to 7-11 on the season. For the first time this year, Gino made his appearance on the Jumbotron, making fans reminisce about the Big Three era and Garnett’s reaction every time Gino was shown on the screen. While it can’t be said enough, everyone misses the Big Three era, Paul Pierce and KG, but 18 games into the new season, it’s become the main focal point by fans.
This current Celtics team is working hard, from the coach all the way to the end of the bench, but still, they remain in the shadow of the Big Three era. It’s time to move forward. Beginning in the late 90′s and until the Celtics raised banner 17, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parrish were always talked about as if that era ended the day before. While fans of this generation have a championship team to cling to and never forget, it’s time to focus on the here and now.
Today, the Boston Celtics are a playoff team in the Eastern Conference, and they’re accomplishing this without Rajon Rondo. This team was not built to “tank” and it wasn’t built to get a high lottery pick either. The Celtics, whether the fans like it or not, will not be getting a high lottery pick this year unless Ainge blows the roster up; the Atlanta Hawks continue losing to negate them from swapping picks with the Brooklyn Nets for a higher pick; or many teams at the bottom of the East change their seasons around.
As fans how do we know that getting Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker is Danny Ainge’s plan? He hasn’t publicly stated whether he wants this team to continue winning or losing, and there is no reason for him to. The draft is a major risk; Greg Oden, Kwame Brown, Michael Olowokandi, and Pervis Ellison to name a few were all busts. How do we know Wiggins might be the next LeBron James, and not make it on the list of the worst draft decisions in NBA history?
The way Boston has played so far, it appears they’re a player or two away from becoming a legitimate playoff contender and being just as exciting as they were a few years ago. Let’s remember, while fans may disagree with Ainge’s decision to trade Pierce and KG, Boston only won one championship during the Big Three era despite being promised at least two. To put it bluntly, the Big Three era wasn’t as successful as advertised.
The 2013 Boston Celtics are fun, play with energy, and are beginning to come into their own. Why overlook them and what they’re pulling off without their All-Star point guard, for either the 2014 NBA Draft or even the past. Both are out of the control of the organization, the players, and the fans. So let’s begin to appreciate this team and enjoy the fact that they are exceeding the expectations and limitations that the analysts and the rest of the league put on the Celtics.