Monday, December 26, 2011

Boston Big 3: The last stand?


Following the emotional high of the Celtics' deep 2002 playoff run the atmosphere in the air was festive, Basketball is now back in Boston. After years of tragedies, frustration and people "not walking through that door" The C's found themselves at a place they used to be familiar with, title contention. And while the series against the future Brooklyn Nets was lost 4-2, there is an uplifting tone that this team can finally be brought back to the glory days.

Eventually, a new guy was bought at the helm. Former Celtic Danny Ainge, the perennial shooting guard from the 80's who also had duels with MJ back in 92' and 93'. Ainge was known for bold moves which acquired criticisms for the team's hardcore fans.

The early years' results were then disastrous. The Celtics flirted with mediocrity, followed with consecutive eliminations from  the Pacers and Nets before plunging to the lottery and eventually, the deeper part of the lottery. It was such a decline, conference finals elimination, conference semifinals elimination, first round elimination, lottery and climaxed at the second worst record in franchise history.

Since the C's became a 1 superstar team, top notch free agents didn't want to sign with our team. Because of that, we were hoping that a draft pick can help us, Danny did that, but his luck at odds were at 50-50 some of the names drafted/ traded by Ainge in the pre-big 3 era were Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Rajon Rondo, Delonte West, Orien, Greene, Tony Allen, Leon Powe etc.. . A bunch of guys became solid contributors, the others went to international leagues. Good thing that Ainge was able to "harvest" some of those stars and turn them to the big 3.

Why am I saying this? That long frustrating wait might be a reality come next season.

The Big 3 era was fun while it lasted. 2 conference semifinals appearance, 1 miraculous yet stalled playoff run, and a dream championship turnaround season. In the Philippines, where most fans are obviously just in for the bandwagon, this finally led to some.. C's merchandise. Last time I saw them was as a kid in the 80s and it was fun seeing people in C's jerseys while commuting around the metro.

The sneaker game also went so well for the C's. Sneaker companies began producing kicks with Celtics colorways. We did not have to rely on the Truth's kids exclusive sneakers (dumb move). Even brands without endorsements from major C's stars were shelling out their colorways.

This is probably the last stand the 2nd Big 3 era will have as the main protagonists. I kinda want them to remain here next season, for significantly less but still making way for the team to sign some big names at the free agent market. That's how the Celtics teams of old conduct their business, slowly transition aging starsto veteran leaders and guide the young stars for them to lead the team. But times today are so much different from when Red handled the helm.

The future might be as bright as it is dark. The C's will finally have money to attract big names and free agents, but will they agree to sign in Boston? players now are all about, going to the big markets, weather and hanging out with their friends. Supposed the C's were unable to grab big names next offseason, history might repeat itself moving forth. As sad as it may be, to contend at present, you'll need a "super team".

All facets considered, how will this last stand shape out?

Today is the start of a brand new 66 game season, while getting off in the wrong foot. An injured captain with his backup out for the season. Bandwagon columnists are predicting them below the 4th seed. The season is still long, and trigger happy trader Danny Ainge wouldn't stop by a second to make a critical deal done. Anything can still happen. 

Hey, before playoff time, no one gave the Mavs a chance last year.

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