BOSTON (CBS) – Celtics GM Danny Ainge has said the Boston Celtics will not tank the 2013-14 season, and the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn believes him.
Washburn joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show on Tuesday night, and said tanking isn’t as easy as some fans might think.
“I think its too much of a risk. You really can’t break down your roster in the NBA and throw out a bunch of kids and unproven players and try to lose 70 games and then end up with the number-one pick; that’s just not how you can do it in the NBA. It’s too much of a risk,” he said. “The Celtics have too much talent to tank, and if they did, there is no guarantee they’re going to have a top three or four pick.”
“You have too much of a foundation to tank,” said Washburn. “It’s hard to tank. I just think the karma situation, the fact they have a lot of talent — what does that tell your fans when you are visibly trying to lose games? We’ve been through this before in Boston, and I don’t think fans would accept that for a chance at a guy like Andrew Wiggins.”
“The Celtics aren’t going to be the worst team in the league. There are a lot of bad teams in the NBA, and a lot of teams with the same idea,” he said. “That’s not going to work in Boston.”
Washburn added that he doesn’t think the Celtics will make any other big trades, and will see if they can build around Rajon Rondo this season.
“They had their chances to draft a guy like Shane Larkin, but I think the fact they drafted Kelly Olynyk was an indication they weren’t playing for the post-Rondo era,” he said. “I think that Rondo is a very good player; he’s not a top-two point guard but he’s top-five, and you don’t just give this kid away.”
“I know he has his problems and his maturity issues, but the dude produces,” he said of Rondo. “He’s a triple-double, and I think those guys are hard to find in the league if you give him a chance to play into the good graces of management and fans, come back from his injury and return to form, you could build around him… if he can show he has the maturity to be this team.”
If they aren’t tanking and trying to see if they can build around Rondo, will the Celtics add any other running mates for the point guard — through free agency or trades?
“I don’t think they’re going to add anybody. They’re already over the cap, and their tradeable assets are Rondo and Jeff Green. Basically they’ll have to find a shooting guard through free agency or through a trade. Top-notch shooting guards are hard to find,” said Washburn. “At this point, you wait on the trade market, unless there is something really attractive.”
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For now, Washburn says the Celtics should try to see if they have in-house options, and develop the players currently on their roster.
“Give Jeff Green a chance to show what he can do at small forward. MarShon Brooks is a very low-priced guy; he doesn’t play a lot of defense but he can shoot and show the ability to score — give him a shot (at shooting guard),” said Wahsburn. “I’m not saying the Celtics are going to try to win this year, but if you give Brooks a chance, guys who haven’t played or had an opportunity — that’s not tanking, that’s development. That’s a distinct difference from gutting your roster, throwing out a bunch of Fab Melo’s, and then trying to convince your fan base that you were trying to win games. This year, you need to develop players.”