BOSTON (CBS) – Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe joined Gresh & Zo in studio Tuesday afternoon to evaluate the Celtics surprising start to the season and the thought of tanking for a high draft pick in the NBA lottery.
After starting the season 0-4 and being written off by fans and media alike, the Celtics have battled back to win four in a row, erasing any doubt of tanking the season in the process.
But some fans (and media members at this very station) would rather the team struggle to win games to secure a high pick in the draft. Shaughnessy warns that tanking isn’t what it used to be, and fans should be careful what they wish for.
“I understand this league is tricky. We all know you need two, three superstars to win a championship. We get that. They’re hard to come by and they don’t fall into your lap,” said Shaughnessy. “However, the tanking notion is not the pot of gold that people think it is…and it used to be.”
So what’s changed? Shaughnessy provided some historical context.
“When I was a kid, if you finished with the worst record the worst you could do was get the second pick. So when Lou Alcindor is at UCLA winning 88 in a row, or whatever it was – that’s going your way. It was worth tanking in those days.”
“Having the best chance to get the number one pick is still not a good chance. The math doesn’t work. The lottery has taken away the beauty of losing on purpose. You can still be in the purgatory of mediocrity in the lower levels.”
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So if not tanking, what’s the quickest way to turn around a team? Free agency? Quality draft picks?
Shaughnessy thinks it’s about being in a place where guys want to go, and have a star player that they want to come join. Dan believes Rajon Rondo is not that type of player, and Boston is not that type of destination.
“That is why a philosophical debate will rage on all year,” said Gresh.
Listen to the full discussion below: