|The Boston Witness Protection Program|
Danny Ainge has done a terrible job on acquiring talent for this roster.
In past years, Big Baby Davis is hitting jumpers from the bench and doing his Drunken Seal routine to keep plays alive; he's also keeping Kevin Garnett fresh enough so that the NBA's biggest punk ass bitch can be more of a physical presence. (In a game where Garnett went wrestling cheap heat on the Philly crowd, he had one foul and was mostly a jump shooter tonight. Weak.) Now, that's Ryan Hollins, who is little more than a 10 to 15 minute energy thug, whose specialty seems to be setting picks after made baskets.
Instead of Nate Robinson and Eddie House hitting threes, it's Mikael Pietrus and Marquis Daniels hitting nothing. Instead of Kendrick Perkins stopping penetration and giving the Sixers guards 30+ minutes of pain and glowering, it's Greg Stiesma's hit or miss contributions and zero ref credibility. There's no James Jones, no Jeff Green (harsh, but luck is a product of design), and no Tony Allen to keep Paul Pierce from having to be his team's best offensive and defensive player. There's no Rasheed Wallace to give them three improbable months of big man production. There isn't even a guy that looks like he could develop into a rotation player.
Sure, they have Brandon Bass, who has had the series of his life to date. But not so much lately. And Avery Bradley has a place in the NBA, even if it's better as a 15 minute defensive hammer. But this is about half a roster, for a team with older than dirt stars, and that's all on the GM.
The Celtics had five points from their bench tonight, and that wasn't a mistake or an anomaly.
Davis, Allen and Perkins were all rotation players for playoff teams this year, playing important minutes, and playing them well. Perkins, the trade that's going to haunt them for the next five years at least, is through to the Conference Finals in a vastly superior bracket. Allen is second team all-defense, and Davis was the best player on the Magic at the end of the year.
If you want to be charitable about such things, Ainge is keeping his options for free agency. He didn't see an opportunity this year in the East; he was expecting a roadkill loss to the Bulls at this point, or the Heat getting thugged and distracted. Fans go for single years; GMs are supposed to be about the long term. But man alive, this roster does not look good, and building a reasonable bench was never this hard for them before.
Boston should win this series, and most likely will. They will get the whistles in Game Seven, the extra day of rest is huge at this point, and expecting the Sixers' guards to decisively win their matchups, while Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes fight Bass and Garnett to a draw, is a fool's errand.
But when you have one of the NBA's best point guards, and one of the five best power forwards ever, and home court... you should not be going seven games with the youngest team in the Association, and an #8 seed to boot. The reason they are isn't Doc Rivers, or Garnett, or Rondo or Ray Allen.
It's on their GM.
And I'm really hoping they keep him for a long, long time...