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Discussion in 'Mark Blount's Port Cellar: Celtics Forum' started by BaseballJones, Apr 19, 2017.
And what if you could get Thomas for sub-max money?
If he's on the team in 2020 it's at a salary that makes it basically impossible to not start him, also it means you let a ton of guys including Smart/Bradley/Crowder walk to pay him.
I can see the argument for keeping IT and letting him walk for a big deal when his contract expires, but if you re-sign him then you are making him your "star" to build around (terrifying since his game is unlikely to age well).
Isaiah is not the Celtics problem. Not his fault that there is no one else on the team who can score with any consistency. Not his fault that the C's have to give him key minutes with 2 other guys 6'3" or under, one playing SF. Not his fault that the C's don't have a big who can rebound and protect the rim.
Because A) your 1 and 2 options won't develop if you draft them and IT has the ball enough to score 29 ppg. B) if he doesn't have the ball that much he is going to bitch about losing while 1 & 2 grow C) He doesn't play championship caliber defense D) when the drafted 1 & 2 are ready his "little engine that could" body might be toast from the accumulation of a lifetime of drives landing him on the floor. E) In order to get a 1 & 2 without drafting them IT is likely going the other way if Ainge can find a taker.
IT actually plays off ball quite a bit.
Don't dispute that... but to players he views as equals - I'm not seeing it for 1 & 2 options drafted. For example I would have thought there would be serious synergy with him and Brown at this point in the season and it just doesn't seem there. Just my view.
I think someone is going to give IT4 the max or near max so it won't matter.
I think IT4 would be a great sixth man who can provide instant offense off the bench and whose would be playing defense against lesser players. How much is that worth? $15M? $20M? Not sure. But I wouldn't look forward to paying IT4 $40M for the last year of a max extension or even $33M a year (for the last year of a max extension should he agree to one).
Why are you assuming that options 1 and 2 are coming via the draft? And if we strike out on Fultz, who in the Jackson/Ball/Tatum group do you expect to be that primary scorer?
This is as accurate as it gets... and I think IT is going to take it very personally when the Celtics make it clear they won't be writing him checks that large.
Are you looking forward to paying Al Horford $30M in his age 32 season?
He's not THE problem, but he is a part of the problem, he dictates a lot in terms of roster construction in a way that few other "stars" do. The idea of trading IT isn't that it somehow is his fault, it's that he is incredibly difficult to build a successful playoff team around because he guarantees a terrible mismatch on defense against every team in the playoffs, and his offensive game suffers in the playoffs when he doesn't get a generous whistle, and where teams can aggressively trap and hedge against him because there are days off to recover.
He's a really good player, but he's also one that is really tough to build a real winner around. You need to get shooting to open the floor AND rebounding to offset the size mismatch his man will always have from just about every position to maximize his talents, and you also need 4 guys on the court who can help to cover his defense because of his physical limitations.
The problem is.... Guys who are well above average at all those things are hard to find expensive to keep, and a lot of them are better players than IT. It's a lot easier to build around players who have normal NBA size, especially since small speed based players tend to burn out very quickly and early. So the idea of maxing IT is a real concern, if you aren't going to max him... then this is probably the offseason to get pieces that will make you a real contender for him.
Not particularly, but I'd much much rather pay him that than late era IT. If Horford starts losing his athleticism you move him to C, and he's still a great passer, hopefully a mediocre defender and can shoot open 3s. If IT loses his athleticism he's not an NBA player of any kind, his bad defense gets worse, his offense evaporates. His game is almost entirely built on getting past guys with quickness and small space explosion. He can't rise over anyone to shoot if he can't win on the dribble, can't post guys with strength when he loses speed etc.
Because I don't believe George or Butler is coming this way, Durant isn't coming in the door, and I don't see another top 10 player available... So the draft it is.
I personally believe Jackson would be a good long term draft with the idea of getting intensity/defense /and number 2/3 scoring (Brown being the other 2/3). I just worry you'd have to keep him away from parked cars.
That's like asking whether I'd like to schedule a colonoscopy or a root canal. Paying $30M for his age 32 year when we'll have (hopefully) a couple of studs on rookie contracts is waaay more palatable than $40M to IT4 when he's 34 and when we will hopefully have some extensions to negotiate.
Do you really think Isaiah gets a 5 year max deal at age 29? I remain skeptical of this. It's not that I disagree with these arguments but I'd like to keep him another year and see if they can nab another top guy. The ping pong balls will obviously play a large role here.
I don't know what he gets. He's such an . . . idiosyncratic . . . player. If I were him, I'd take a $80M extension but the fact that he isn't means that at the very least h's going to get a pretty lucrative contract when he finishes out this one, no?
He's such a hard player to value.
Absolutely agree that he'll get a big deal but if the price were, say, 4/80, I'd consider it. But if you're not going to give him help then it makes no sense to extend him. The thing is for me is that if you trade Isaiah at the draft then you're basically punting 2017 FA because nobody is coming here if he's gone and this summer's FA along with the next 2 Brooklyn picks are our best chance of adding elite talent.
I'm honestly torn on what to do.
Who says "no" first to Isaiah Thomas for Andre Drummond: the Celtics or Pistons?
The Celtics.... I mean what?
Shooting and rebounding aren't revolutionary ideas in roster construction, though. The types of players you are describing here are guys who would fit in any system, with any PG. There are other skills that become less essential on a team with one of the most efficient volume scorers in the league.
And you ignore completely that this Celtic team is, in many ways, constructed exactly opposite to what would be best for a team with IT. They are arguably built to exacerbate his limitations. They aren't full of shooters, they don't have even one above average rebounding/shotblocking big, etc.
For example, how many teams give significant run to a 6'3" non-shooter at SF, other than the Celtics? Is that ultimately the role Marcus Smart would fill if he moves on (or if the Celtics get rid of IT)?
Conversely, what examples are there of successful teams with just one star player? Paul Pierce, to name one obvious HoF worthy one, didn't have a great track record of team success as the only guy. I'd trade IT happily for a mid-career version of Pierce, but 1) that, or anything comparable, ain't happening; 2) even as much of an upgrade as that doesn't put this team in position to challenge Cleveland/Golden State.
IT's limitations are visible to all and exacerbated by the current Celtics roster. Trading him for fair value in a way that doesn't cripple the Celtics offense is going to be hard to do. I'd rather at least take a stab at adding talent to him, via draft or free agency, using the resources the Celtics do have at their disposal, than take a deliberate step backward.
One thing about your use of the word "constructed" - which also goes to the thread title.
I don't think DA "constructed" or "built" this team as much as he happened into it. DA spent the last three years trying to build up assets - by either creating assets out of decent players by signing them to what ended up being team friendly contracts, by acquiring useful players for less useful players, or by drafting kids that with at least one useful NBA skill.
And no one could have foreseen that a 5'7" guy would end up being in the MVP running.
That's why I don't really care about the outcome of these playoffs. We're in like the fifth inning. I'm more interested to see where we are this time next year. And the tear after that.
Very good point, I agree.
Edit: I do think that by next fall we'll be in the 7th.
Kind of crazy that a team without shooters, rim protectors, or rebounders earned the one seed. I think the saving grace of this playoffs is that it has removed any green tinted glasses thinking the Celts were very close to a championship. They're a ways away and that's absolutely fine. They're going to be good for a long time. As a Pats fan while it is mostly about the ringz, I do love that they are a great bet to get to the conference championship game every single year. It's awesome watching a competitor year in and year out.
Most years 53 wins is a 3 or 4 seed. Not a 1 seed.
Oh I agree. I mean look at the Thunder when they first got Durant, Harden, Westbrook, and Ibaka. It took them several years to ascend.
I think next year's team will look very different.
Zizic and Yabousele will be on he team, and Zizic, at least, will play key minutes and bring some of what is lacking.
I also expect some progress on the "too many short guards" front.
That's along with the Nets pick (or whomever it is dealt for) and any possible free agent activity. Though the Celtics performance this offseason does not seem like a big help to them if they are trying to sign Heyward.
I respect your BB knowledge. But this type of thinking ignores that IT4 is half (and a bit} of a player. He does does not provide defense. In today's NBA you cannot have a core player not play defense and be championship contenders. Harden will never win a championship as a #1 because he doesn't defend. The burden is too high in roster construction to accommodate half a player as a number 1. Win 50+ games in the regular season? Sure. Be exciting and a PR persons wet dream? Sure. IT4 willl not age well - as you well know - the moment he loses a step he is toast. It is a fools errand to push all in (both in usage of trade/draft capital AND financial cap space) on IT4 and construct a team with him at the forefront with all the limitations and caveats the roster takes on to accommodate his uniqueness. He is a wonderful piece, but he is so limited and flawed he can't be the man or even the #1 sidekick on a championship team. It's unfortunate in the timing because if he had come to the Celtics as the Ray Allen 3rd amigo everything might be fine. But he's here first and it would be extraordinary for him to agree to operate and be paid as the number 3 before the 1 & 2 are present (or playing like such if you believe Brown can be when developed).
Ainge did not IMO design this situation. He was collecting assets, sifting for gold. Stevens was playing rubics cube going through permutations looking for cohesion and trying to develop pieces to have the strengths of the system he and Ainge agreed to run. Into this vacuum of no 1 or 2 Ainge drops what he views is a potential #3 in the Ray Allen model. IT4 to his credit blossoms/explodes in this vacuum and becomes this magical and flawed success story acting like a #1. He believed he's a number 1. Many fans view him as a number 1. Sadly midnight approaches and he either has to adapt back to a #3 on a championship contender or take his IT4 #1 show on the road.
This seems harsh. I enjoy watching him play. But he is either a number 3 star who is warming up the crowd until the 1 and 2 arrive or a number 1 for a team that never wins a title. It is what it is.
I agree with this in general, but I don't agree with the Harden comp. Harden has become a just below average defender, and he can turn it up in the playoffs since some of his worst defending is because of laziness and energy conservation.
I think the biggest thing people miss, and what Eddie J is as well, is that comparing IT to other high volume scorers who don't play good defense isn't giving the whole picture. I think of Durant here, even though he plays a different position. He was a pretty mediocre at best defender in the regular season last year. Then all the sudden in the playoffs he was terrific. Harden, LeBron, Youngish Kobe, Rondo, etc. (hell even Kyrie who is an abysmal defender usually played pretty decent D in the playoffs last year) there is a long history of guys who underachieve defensively but have the tools to become either average or good in the playoffs with the higher intensity and focus and days off. IT's problem is that he PHYSICALLY can not do that, he's always small. It makes it so much harder to really build a team because you need elite defenders around him, and even then it is sometimes not enough.
IT's comps should be Calvin Murphy and Damon Stoudamire. Maybe he's a little better than both, but there's a reason neither guy despite being good scorers was the centerpiece of a title contender.
"A little better" than Damon Stoudamire? That's ridiculous.
Was Stoudamire a good scorer? His best per 36 is 17.8 points, IT4's career is 23.0
I'll withdraw the Harden comment if your claim is that he does play defense in the playoffs - because that is the basis of my point.
IT4 is in no way lazy or conserving energy - he is simply at a major competitive disadvantage on defense that he can't overcome with effort.
Damon Stoudamire was way less efficient but a better distributor. His scoring also drastically dropped when he was traded from Toronto to Portland in year 3 of his career. I don't see the comp other than they are both under 6'0 tall. Mighty Mouse was a 3rd or 4th option forced to score points for an expansion team his first few years. He's not even really a scorer.
edit: other people have said it, but IT4 is like Allen Iverson. AI benefited from a weak east and playing with Dikembe Mutumbo/Ratliff in his one year of success. AI played with a team that was better built to his needs/weaknesses than IT4. He had taller players around him who could rebound, play defense and didn't care about scoring all that much.
Also re: Harden, I'm sure he can win a title being 1a. Who is the best player he has had along side him in Houston? A past his prime Dwight Howard? I wouldn't rule out the Rockets winning a title this year either. If they play GS, it's going to come down to whose 3 point shots are falling.
I'm not sure who the perfect 2 would be for a guy like Harden though. A guy who plays off the ball, hits close to 40% of his 3s, can score 20 a night and play defense. Klay Thompson maybe?
Assist numbers are kind of close--what else are you looking at?
I think people missed the point of the Stoudamire comp. That's the 3rd best guy who was under 5'10" after IT and Murphy (the a bit less was more aimed at the IT/Murphy comp) and he very quickly was relegated to 3rd/4th option despite showing very strong scoring potential his first few years because you can't build around a tiny guy.
People love the Iverson comp, but Iverson while "small" was still 4-5 inches taller than IT, it's like comparing a 6'6" guy to a 6' 10" guy and saying both are undersized for the C position. My entire point is that there is a degree of undersized that makes it impossible for you to defend anybody, not just some guys because the entire league has at least 5 inches on you.
Iverson was only 3" taller than IT4, not 5. So the comp is definitely valid, although I agree those are a particularly crucial 3 inches in the NBA.
Fair enough. I was looking mostly at Damon's early assists numbers when he was forced to be the guy on terrible Toronto teams. If his scoring numbers are inflated, his assists numbers probably are too. His first 3 years his A36 were 8.2, 7.7 and 7.4 while IT4s career a36 is 6.2
Iverson was 6 feet IT is listed at 5'8" that's what I'm going off of.
Edit- based on some pre-draft stuff looks like it's more like 3.5, IT was in the higher end of the 5'8.x range and Iverson was 6 flat. Still I think that the point stands there is a big difference between an inch or two under sized and 5 inches especially at the league's smallest position since you can't switch down like an undersized 4 or 3.
Also the size of NBA backcourt has increased since Iverson played so the night to night difference is probably even bigger.
It's made worse when he plays alongside a 6'2 SG and 6'6 SF. I think IT4's problems could be hidden like AI's in the right situation.
maybe. Personally I doubt it. Minimized some maybe (particularly on the glass), but in the playoffs it's pretty rare to face a team giving big minutes to a PG, SG or SF who isn't an offensive threat at all. No matter who plays next to him come playoff time he has to be guarding someone, and opponents will just go to that guy over and over, force the double, swing the ball, take advantage. If no double his man will just score easy buckets all night.
How have these Celtics looked against Chicago with the defensive liability that is IT4 on the bench? Are people really clamoring for more of that?
Better on defense, bad on offense, both by a large margin.
The argument isn't "trade IT for nothing and don't replace him" it's.... "you can't win a title or even a conference title with IT so get guys who can" That the team as constructed struggles to score (though plays MUCH better defense) without him isn't a reason to keep him, it's a reason to look for guys who can score without bringing his unique defense murdering physique. This team would be much better for example with a Lowry type as the PG, he's not the offensive player IT is, but he gives you some of that, and doesn't drop the floor out of the defense. Since you'd be adding talent to score either in the trade of IT, in the drafting of a Fultz type, in free agency or some combination of the 3 you can build a much more complete team, one that can actually contend.
Nobody wants the team as currently constructed with or without IT, it isn't a real contender.
This is very obviously the main point. If we use a top 4 pick to draft a point guard then Thomas becomes somewhat redundant anyway.
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Most of our problems come from the big men on the team. Then add in the issue of a space and shooting offensive system without many good shooters among our guards and wings. Thomas' defensive problems are way down the list of reasons the C's likely won't win a title this year.
But for me this is in fact the real reason to deal Thomas and continue to rebuild. We simply don't have the players to win a title now even if we add another star player to give Thomas help. We need a star center and a star wing, and the chance to add both went out the window when we passed on Boogie.
Because we aren't capable of finding someone like Porzingas? I don't believe Stevens vision of the future team (which Ainge is backing) requires a stud center. I think they need a center who can hold his own and not get destroyed and also be comfortable shooting far enough outside to prevent a defensive team from clogging against slashers. Easy to find, no. But they also don't need Cousins or Towns in order to get it done.
I do wonder what the Celtics offseason would look like if they had tried to compete for Lou Williams. Williams with the second unit would clearly have given them the scoring they lack and while he and Thomas playing defense (is that an oxymoron) along side one another is terrifying, Stevens could make that work for brief stretches. The guy can clearly shoot and would have helped help spread the floor PnRs and also for Thomas to get a lane to the basket. I don't think Houston paid egregiously for him and if the C's could have slightly topped the package, he may have, for this series at least, made a huge difference.
On the other hand, the Lakers may not have traded with Boston or asked for a "rival" premium. Or maybe Ainge decided he didn't want to waste minutes on a guy like Williams who wouldn't be part of the long-term plan. Again, he would look awful nice for the C's right now.
I respect your opinion, but I think you are underestimating the difficulty of finding quality centers who can rebound, defend the post, defend the rim and space the floor on offense.
I think it is going to be pretty damn hard (unless Ainge already got one in Zizic who many say would be a lottery pick this year).
Where I quibble with your original statement is you are requiring a STAR center as part of the mix and I'm looking for quality center who is just a bit better than middle of the pack - say 12-14 range. Still a really hard get, but not the almost impossible one of "Cousins or failure" which is the net of your statement.
If nothing changes tradewise they will have (after 2017 draft) the 2018 Brooklyn pick and the Memphis pick to find that center if it isn't Zizic. Given the likelihood of the 2018 Brooklyn pick being lottery bound it is possible a QUALITY big will be available to them.
Edit: maybe the player with the skills being described isn't just a bit better than average - maybe that set of skills would make him a star rather than 12-14 range. Maybe that is the difference in our views. I don't know.
The Celtics weren't in on Boogie, Ibaka, or Noah.
The point being, I don't think Ainge and Stevens agree with SoSH consensus that a hole at C is the problem. At least, they didn't at the deadline.
Not sure that has been proven. They clearly stayed away from Boogie for "fit" reasons. Noah is garbage and they probably thought as much. I thought Ibaka was someone who could have helped but perhaps they didn't want to pay the Magic's price for a rental. I think upgrading Amir has to be the top or near the top of Ainge's off-season wish list.
Especially since they signed a C to a max deal last summer. The problem is that the PF position is a huge hole in the lineup, and they need someone better than Olynyk there. Right now they have a starting C and a bunch of backup PFs that can't be relied on, especially in the postseason.
Agree with the first part... Not the conclusion.
They more likely desire a center with different skills than those players. And in Cousins case w/o the perceived baggage not to mention the high acquisition cost.