A Good Omen For Celtics’ Fans …

Late last week, the Celtics and the Sixers made a draft pick trade.  In terms of this year’s draft, the Sixers move up from #3 to #1 while the Celtics get another first round pick from the Sixers in 2019.  If the common narrative is correct, the Sixers will take Markelle Fultz with the overall #1 pick; and then after the Lakers take Lonzo Ball, the Celtics will take Josh Jackson.  Here is my assessment of the situation:

  • Markelle Fultz:  Because Washington was not a top-shelf team last year, I did not get to see a lot of his play back here on the East Coast.  I did make it a point to watch a Washington/UCLA game because both Fultz and Lonzo Ball would be on the court together.  That game was a blowout in favor of UCLA but it seemed to me that the basis of the blowout was the lack of real talent around Fultz.  Based on highlights I have seen and on his state, Markelle Fultz seems like a player who can make it in the NBA – – but I have no idea if he is the best player in this draft.
  • Lonzo Ball:  I have said before and will say again that Lonzo Ball is gifted when it comes to passing and hitting the open man.  In that aspect of the game, he may be the best since Magic and Bird.  He is not a natural scorer although he does have great range on his jump shot.  His weakness is that he does not play any defense at all and will have to ramp up that part of his game significantly in the NBA.
  • Josh Jackson:  Based on last year’s college basketball season, I think he is the best player in this draft.  He is athletic; he can shoot – albeit his range may need to be expanded a bit; he is a good defender and he will rebound once he adds some weight/muscle to his frame.

Based on that assessment – and on the assumption that the Sixers are going to take Markelle Fultz – I suspect that the Celtics got the better of this deal.  If you are a Celtics’ fan, you may want to harken back about 35 years to the last time the Celtics traded away the overall #1 pick in the draft in order to move down to #3 and pick up “other assets.  That trade wound up being a windfall for the Celtics; let me remind you of the trade:

  1. Celtics gave the overall #1 pick to the Golden State Warriors – which they used to draft Joe Barry Carroll – plus the #13 pick in the draft – which they used to draft Ricky Brown.
  2. Celtics got from the Warriors, the #3 pick – which they used to draft Kevin McHale – plus Robert Parrish.

Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish – plus Larry Bird of course – made the Celtics a force majeure in the NBA for more than a few years.  Rickey Brown played 6 seasons in the NBA averaging 13.2 minutes per game, 3.4 points per game and 0.4 rebounds per game.  Joe Barry Carroll was a solid NBA player averaging 20 points per game for his career.  In addition, he always led the league in first names…

I don’t know if this Celtics’ trade will bring the same windfall of talent as did the one they made with the Warriors about 35 years ago, but I do think the Celtics came out ahead on the deal.

Since I mentioned the Golden State Warriors tangentially above, let me move to the current wondering as to whether or not the team will go to visit the White House as the NBA champions.  I do not understand why this is worth the energy it takes to think about it.  In the first place, I have seen nothing that suggests that the team has been invited to the White House and – despite the seeming grandeur of winning a sports championship – teams need to be invited to go to the White House and do their silliness with the incumbent President.  They do not decide to show up one day and get to see the President because they are the reigning champs of whatever sport…

Moreover, Bob Molinaro pointed out last weekend in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot that Larry Bird did not go to the White House to “visit” Ronald Reagan and that Michael Jordan did not go to the White House to see George H. W. Bush.  As Professor Molinaro properly observed, the republic survived.

I think we can dial back the energy that is going into this story and report the outcome – they will go or they won’t go – in the agate section of the newspaper after the invitation is offered…

The US Open concluded yesterday with Brooks Koepka as the champion.  If you have never heard of Brooks Koepka, that could be because he has only won one tournament in his career and that was certainly not a major championship.  Koepka finished at 16-under for the tournament winning by 4 strokes.

Dwight Perry had this comment relative to the US Open in his column, Sideline Chatter, in the Seattle Times last weekend:

“The U.S. Open gallery witnessed quite an unusual sideshow during Thursday’s opening round at Erin Hills: an advertising blimp crashing to Earth about a mile from the course.

“Evoking memories of John Daly carding an 18 on No. 6 at Bay Hill in 1998.”

Finally, with the CFL season set to start later this week, the Saskatchewan Rough Riders released QB Vince Young who was trying to make a football comeback there.  Young had suffered a hamstring injury in training camp and was expected to be out for the first several weeks of the CFL season – – but he was cut.  Greg Cote had this comment in the Miami Herald in the wake of that release:

“Want the exact definition of ‘your football career is over’?  Comeback-attempting Vince Young got cut by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



10 thoughts on “A Good Omen For Celtics’ Fans …”

  1. Sir: Do you know if the Extra Silly Pedantic Network will be carrying CFL games this year? I enjoy watching their hijinks every so often; 110 yard long fields, 15 (or is it 25?) yard deep end zones, 12 players running into each other, WRs motioning toward the line of scrimmage before the snap, but especially, the dreaded “rouge”…what’s not to LIKE?!?!?!?

    1. Siggurdsson:

      In 2014, ESPN signed a 5-year deal with the CFL to get the US telecast rights to “selected games” plus the Grey Cup game. I cannot find any report that mentions a cancellation of that arrangement. Therefore, I assume ESPN will televise – or stream – CFL games this season.

      Like you, I enjoy watching CFL games. For that one season in the 1990s when the CFL expanded into the US and there was a team in Baltimore, I went to a game at the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore with #2 son…

      1. Let us not forget that Ken Rosenthal once covered a Grey Cup game in Regina for the Baltimore Sun. His copy also appeared in the Regina Leader-Post.

        1. Gregg Drinnan:

          I certainly did not know that Ken Rosenthal covered a Grey Cup game in Regina. I presume that you had a hand in placing his copy in the Regina Leader-Post, no?

  2. Fultz, Ball, and Jackson are all guards. Fultz hit 41% of 3-point shots last year against weak PAC-12 competition. Ball and Jackson a good bit less. But none of these three could shoot 70% from the free throw line. They were all decent college players and will probably be decent NBA players. I just do not see these guys as stars.

    1. Doug:

      I think Ball may be a star in the same way Jason Kidd was a star; Kidd was hardly a deadeye shooter. I think Jackson will be the best of the lot because he can defend and rebound in addition to his athletic abilities. To be a great player, he will have to become a much better shooter. I just have not seen nearly enough of Fultz to have a firm opinion on him…

  3. Doug brings up an interesting issue, perhaps the gym rats among the group can weigh in: why is FT shooting a lost art? IIRC, one of the reasons Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was as effective as he was had to do with the fact he hit his FTs. Shaq, on the other hand, did not, to the point where it became a punchline for (IIRC) a Taco Bell ad since he did better with his head sideways. In Shaq’s case, it also led to the “hack-a-Shaq” strategy which did limit the effectiveness of the most dominant player since Wilt (who also had FT issues). Is it something that sinks in after the first collegiate year, that FT effectiveness wins (or loses) games?

    1. rugger9:

      My theory is that AAU basketball contributes to the demise of free throw shooting. AAU basketball is all about “highlight moments” and not about fundamentals. The “best players” go to AAU teams and then on to college and the NBA having never worked on free throw shooting.

    2. FT shooting is first and foremost a mental exercise. But it has to start early. As Jack correctly states, the AAU coaches develop skills that show up well when the ball is live. Not so much at the FT line.

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