By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp released his NBA offseason grades on Monday, and he slapped a big, fat “C” on Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics.
Dang. Talk about a tough grader.
Sharp acknowledged some positives — adding Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and a future high pick — before getting to the negatives.
First up: missing out on Paul George.
Second: trading (effectively) Markelle Fultz to Philadelphia.
Also: trading away Avery Bradley.
Sharp referred to Hayward as “a poor man’s version of Paul George,” declared Fultz’s ceiling to be higher than Tatum’s, and also stated that a Big Three of Hayward, Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford not good enough to win.
Considering Sharp gave the Thunder an “A” grade for their acquisition of George, it’s fair to surmise that Sharp believes Ainge’s best course of action would have been to surrender however many future draft picks it took to wrangle George from Indiana.
“Without Paul George they’re not all that well positioned to contend next year, and without Fultz, the young core still doesn’t have any player who looks like a future superstar,” Sharp wrote. “The only guarantee is that arguments about the Celtics will continue for at least another few years. This is our new version of the Sixers. Everyone in basketball has an opinion on what the Celtics are doing with their assets, why they’re doing it, and whether it’s stupid or brilliant. I’m just not sure it needed to be this complicated.”
Only Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers (D) got a worse grade than Boston.
Realistically, the Celtics will be better in 2017-18 than they were in 2016-17. Sharp himself wrote as much. But as for the final judgment on the famed trade of the No. 1 overall pick, the final word won’t be known on the Fultz-Tatum comparison for at least five years. But for now, Sharp’s taking a solidified stance that Ainge made the wrong call.