Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ok, so I'm worried the Celtics might be tanking...

I can't believe I'm advocating for Humphries.
The idea of trying not to win games in order to get a better draft pick makes me sick; it goes against everything I know and love about the competitive nature of sports.  Plus as a season ticket holder it's pretty discouraging to be paying for a product that is intentionally inferior.  I'm also not convinced that being worse this year actually even increases the Celtics chances of being better in the future; in July I wrote a piece that shows historically tanking hasn't worked in the NBA.

Unfortunately through four games there are some rather disturbing trends (which I pointed out yesterday on Celtics Life) that suggest this is exactly what Boston is doing:

  1. They've led every game so far at some point in the 4th quarter (and outscored their opponents 284-271 through 3 quarters), but then gotten destroyed by a combined 109-66 in the final period.  Probably that just means they're a young team with no go to guy down the stretch.  But, it could also imply a philosophy such as "OK, we've proven we can play with this team, now let's call off the dogs."
  2. The guy playing the most minutes (35 a night) is Gerald Wallace, who's averaging a pathetic 5.5 points per game, the lowest on the team of anyone who's scored.
  3. Veteran Kris Humphries posted 8 points on 3-4 shooting, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks in just 21 minutes on opening night while Jared Sullinger was suspended.  Since then Humphries hasn't gotten off the bench once, while previously unheard of rookie free agent Vitor Faverani starts at center.
  4. Boston is averaging a league worst 21 turnovers per game.  With Rajon Rondo out, they only have one point guard/true ball handler on the team, Phil Pressey.  And like Humphries, Pressey hasn't seen the floor in 3 games, and has logged just 4 minutes all season.  Using a point guard who actually is a point guard might be good way to avoid turnovers.

I'm headed to the Garden shortly to watch the Celtics take on the Jazz (here's my game preview for CLNS Radio, although it's fairly redundant to what I've just discussed).  Utah is the only other 0-4 team in the league.  If these guys want to have any chance of convincing myself and other fans that they're not tanking, this is a must win.

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