Céspedes brings a powerful bat to Fenway Park...until he becomes a free agent after 2015. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) Flurry of trades leaves Red Sox in state of uncertainty Chicago White Sox v Boston Red Sox Red Sox Trade Andrew Miller for Top 100 Prospect Rodriguez Stephen Drew (Photo: Bill Kostroun) Red Sox Trade Stephen Drew to Yankees for Kelly Johnson Less than a season after pitching in the World Series clincher against the Cardinals, John Lackey has been traded from the Red Sox to St. Louis at the trade deadline in exchange for Allen Craig. (Boston Globe) MLB Trade Deadline: Red Sox Trade John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for Allen Craig

Celtics Off-Season Questions: Tank, or Go with the Flow?

(ESPN.com)

Remember when there were 17 million questions surrounding the Boston Celtics after their first-round loss to the New York Knicks back in May? Well, the Celtics answered just about every one last week after shipping Doc Rivers out to L.A and their two future hall-of-famers to Brooklyn.

Now, Boston is left with this question regarding its immediate future: Tank the 2013-14 season, or not?

At the surface. that may seem like an easy one to answer. Why wouldn’t the Celtics  completely bottom  out considering last week’s events left them inches from  ground zero anyway? If you can’t compete for a championship, what’s the point of being mediocre and ending up in NBA purgatory–not good enough to win, but not bad enough to earn a lottery pick? This isn’t the Atlanta Hawks were are talking about, this is the Boston Celtics.

Another reason to tank? Well, this should be more than enough to make Danny Ainge think more than twice about his decision. Andrew Wiggins truly does have the potential to be the type of player you tank for. Be miserable for an entire season to be back-up and kicking the a year later? Let’s be honest, most Celtics fans will take that.

But let’s also be honest about the fact that there is absolutely no guarantee that throwing away one full season will land you the number one pick. Oh, how about the fact that the number one pick hasn’t really worked out as expected too many times in recent years?

Some will point to the 2007 draft. Even though the Celtics didn’t land the number one pick, their number five pick was enough to snag Ray Allen from Seattle. The Allen trade led to the Garnett trade, and the rest was history. So the 2006-07 tank season was a success after all.

Alright then, lets tank Danny, it can only end up in a positive! There are definitely no other teams in the league that have nothing better to do than to try to land one of the most coveted number one picks in recent history, right?

And the hair-pulling begins.

Did people forget that there are the Washington Wizards of the world? You know, the Charlotte Bobcats. Oh, hello Detroit, Toronto, Orlando, Sacramento, Phoenix, New Orleans and Milwaukee.

Those teams have masters degrees in “How to lose”. They know what it takes to suck. They know that Wiggins and his franchise-altering potential are waiting on the other side of those ping-pong balls.

While the the 2014 draft class is projected to be one of the best in the last decade, the failure  to land a top-five, let alone a top-ten pick, would be labeled as a disappointment–a huge disappointment–especially if a franchise as illustrated as the Celtics mails-in one season and ends up back where it started–screwed.

There is no time to be a joke for more than one season here in Boston. The city and its fans won’t allow it. With the resurgence of the Red Sox and the Bruins taking over town headlines, the Celtics would be a mere afterthought.

So what’s it going to be?

Tank, be irrelevant for a year, maybe more, and take your ever-so-limited-chances of snagging Wiggins? Or hold-off on being terrible, risk being in the middle of the pack, and cross your fingers for the hopes of magical trades and big-time free agent signings?

I would hate to be Danny Ainge right now.

About Joe Saade - @JSAADE1225

  • Age: 20
  • Gender: Male
  • Favorite Sports:  Basketball, football, baseball, volleyball
  • Favorite Boston Players: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, David Ortiz, Vince Wilfork (Welker and Ray Allen gone)
  • Title: Celtics writer
  • Contact: JSaade@sportsofboston.com
Hey guys, Joe Saade here. I just recently joined the Sports of Boston team this summer 2013. Currently a journalism major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (Class of 2015), I'm  pursuing a career in the sports journalism field. The one and only reason I decided to become a sports writer is because of the Boston Celtics. Since the age of 6, I would stay up and watch those horrible Celtics teams of the late 90's and early 2000's. Sure they sucked, but I was addicted. My love for basketball only grew larger and larger, and eventually when I was in middle school and realized that my dream of  playing in the NBA was ridiculous, I set a new plan in my mind to stay as close to sports as possible when I grow up; hence, become a sports writer. I love reading Bill Simmons and Rich Levine's basketball columns, simply because they bring fun to sports writing. They include all the facts you need, with a lot of humor and inside jokes that knowledgeable readers would get a kick out of. As for me now, I am currently a sports intern at WCVB-TV Channel 5 Boston. I also intern for the sports department at the Nashua Telegraph (some newspaper in NH that no one knows about). At UMass, I write for the sports section of our college newspaper, and work in the campus television station where I appear on a weekly sports show as a TV analyst. Life is good. Twitter: @JSaade1225

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