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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.