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Rick Pitino, What Were You Thinking?

What was Rick Pitino thinking? Why did he trade away Chauncey Billups for Kenny Anderson? Sure, Anderson was a veteran point guard and was pivotal for the C’s during the 2001 playoffs, but let’s be honest. Pitino really screwed up this one.

Billups has become one of the top point guards in the Eastern Conference as many of you already know. It just kills me everytime I see Billups playing for another team against the C’s. They really missed a special player here. It especially kills me when Billups kills the Celtics, just like last night’s game in Boston. Billups scored 12 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Pistons over the Celtics, 87-85 (NBA.com Box Score).

The key play of the game was the closing seconds, in which Rasheed Wallace coralled a rebound with 1.7 seconds left with the game tied at 85. Billups grabbed the inbounds pass and threw up a great pump fake that Tony Allen bit on. Billups was going up then pulled back, but it was too late as Allen had already maded significant contact. The pump fake is a big part of Billups’ game.

Anyway, Billups headed to the FT line with .1 seconds remaining. The high-percentage free throw shooter netted both foul shots, giving the Pistons an 87-85 victory. I don’t blame Tony Allen for falling for the pump fake, but if he was just a little less aggressive, the refs probably would not have called a foul and the game may have gone to overtime.

This was definitely a game of regrets. The Celtics had a higher FG% (at 49.3%) but hit less effectively than the Pistons from 3-point land and especially from the free throw line. The C’s hit only 61.9% of their free throws (13-21), while the Pistons hit 87% of their free throws (20-23). In a two-point game, it’s easy to nit pick. If the Celtics hit what should be the easiest shots more often (free throws), they definitely would’ve beat the Pistons last night. It’s that simple.

I hope the Celtics learned that to be the best, you have to beat the best. They have only 3 losses this season, but all of them are against the East’s elite teams (Pistons, Cavs, Magic). Most important, I hope Rick Pitino realizes that he set the Celtics back at least 5 years during his tenure.

About KC Downey - @kc_downey

KC is the "head coach" of the Sports of Boston, LLC blog network. Follow him on Twitter: @kc_downey

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Discussion

9 comments for “Rick Pitino, What Were You Thinking?”

  1. [...] Game Recap [...]

    Posted by Pistons Edge Celtics, 87-85 | Sports of Boston | December 20, 2007, 5:48 am
  2. Gotta disagree with you here. It’s true that Pitino gave up on his #3 pick overall way too early, but it took YEARS for Billups to develop into the player he is now. Stops in Minnesota and Denver yielded very unimpressive results. Five years in his best season was 12 PPG and 5 APG, if he was in Boston we would have screamed at Pitino for drafting a bust.

    Then he goes to Detroit and with great players around him becomes a superstar.

    I think it’s a little hasty to feel that if Billups was on the Celts that they would have eventually won a title or something. He’s an amazing player but it took five years and four teams to get there.

    Posted by Jeff | December 20, 2007, 9:36 am
  3. I beg to disagree. I’m not saying that Billups was the greatest player ever and would’ve led us to a title…but we have not come close to having a good consistent point guard until now with Rajon Rondo. Before Billups, our best potential PG was Dana Barros, so Billups was a good pick, but a bad trade. Kenny Anderson was not what we needed on a young team.

    When he joined the Pistons they weren’t amazing. They had just had their first 50-win season in awhile, and Joe Dumars just traded the francise (Jerry Stackhouse) for Rip Hamilton. It was a team in transition, and they all gelled right away. Rip, Chauncey, and Ben Wallace were there and they are perfect for each other.

    In all, I think Pitino gave up WAY too early on Chauncey Billups. I dont know if theres an argument there…

    Posted by KC | December 20, 2007, 4:47 pm
  4. ha you’re right, Rip Hamilton is terrible, what a bad deal that was.

    I’m not saying he didn’t give up too early on him, because you should never trade the No. 3 overall pick for at least two years.

    But hindsight is 20/20. It took him five years to average more than 16 points a game and in his first four years he never averaged more than 4 assists a game…that’s Telfiar bad!

    Rip scored 20 points a game that year and along with Ben Wallace (7 points, 15 boards, 3 blocks a game) and they played stellar defense (allowing less than 90 points a game and leading the league in defensive boards and 5th best in scoring D) which led them to the eastern conference finals. Billups finally was playing the style he’s best suited for, a tight offensive set with tough interior defense.

    Until this year the Celtics have never concentrated on defense. The year they went to the eastern conference finals? Let up 94 points a game in the regular season.

    Would we do that trade now? Of course not. Kenny Anderson was a 28 year old seasoned PG who had averaged at least 15 points a game for the last seven years.

    Again, you have to hold on to draft picks longer than 40 some odd games, but Billups has succeeded in large part because of the players he has around him and the style and PHILOSOPHY in Detriot.

    I think it’s a little naive to think that if we dont make that trade that the Celts would now have the Billups he is with the Pistons.

    Posted by Jeff | December 20, 2007, 5:17 pm
  5. Every time I saw Billups after he left the Celts, all I can think about was “Pitino!!” I can’t watch him making a shot without thinking about him.

    Understandably about the above post and the style of Detroit, but we lacked a decent ball-control guard for probably 7 years, and Billups could’ve cured enough of it that we could’ve used our guard drafts for bigger players.

    Pitino!!!!

    Posted by RedSoxmaniac | January 29, 2008, 1:49 pm
  6. [...] Alton Lister even make it so far in the NBA that he decided to play for the Green at 37 years old. Chauncey Billups anyone? The Tim Duncan fiasco? ( That was a fucking fiasco if you ask me; proper karma by the [...]

    Posted by Never Forgotten: Dino Radja « RedSox Maniac’s Greatest Sports Talk Ever Page! | January 29, 2008, 2:10 pm
  7. Very good point Redsoxmaniac. I completely agree!

    Posted by KC | January 29, 2008, 5:28 pm
  8. [...] things he did wrong here in his years in Boston. Signing Travis Knight and Andrew DeClerq? Yuck. Trading Chauncey Billups? Don’t get me [...]

    Posted by Pitino Busts My NCAA Bracket Again | Sports of Boston | March 31, 2009, 6:08 am
  9. [...] been a carrier in Beantown and has seen it all. He experienced the lean years when Rick Pitino was roaming the sidelines, brought the C’s back to respectability and then helped lead the Celtics to their 17th [...]

    Posted by Pierce belongs in MVP conversation - NESN.com | April 1, 2009, 10:30 pm

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