The Schmuck of the Irish

Not so fast.

Holy cow, has Boston blown another off/season. While the most hyperbolic retroactive takes are now being composed by the Beantown faithful, Gordon Hayward is not the bball savior the team needs. Sure, he’s a great, quality player. Though his two-way power is overrated, dude’s got game. And now he’s back with his coach, uptempo system, weak East, all the young assets, and so forth. But this is when examining the situation through the rosiest spectacles.

Let’s not ignore the what-ifs of what happened. If Ainge had performed his job competently, the Celtics would’ve trotted out IT, Hayward, Paul George, Jimmy Butler and Horford, with Markelle Fultz off the bench. Who says that team can’t hang with even Golden State? That’s essentially 6 all-stars, plus whatever halfway-decent scraps that might’ve remained after the necessary trades. Look at what Minn and OKC ultimately “sacrificed,” and Boston could’ve done better in not just one, but both scenarios together.

Ainge has a cleverness in acquiring so many picks, but his inability to flip them is now a suicidal liability, considering how they straddle that cursed line between win-now and develop-later. They did not get enough new power to help in vital areas like scoring and rebounding, while talented up-and-comers like Brown, Crowder and now Tatum— who were so preciously protected from any trades — get further buried down the bench and in playing time for Hayward. Are Bradley and Smart really so special in their specialist roles? This team was in the process of being swept out of the first round by the 8th-seed Bulls until fate gave them a pass. Though lauded for taking the East, their cakewalk 53-wins would translate to barely making the playoffs with a Western schedule.

Thanks for playing, Boston. Enjoy drafting some more remarkable prospects who won’t see the floor next year while Cleveland still sweeps you into dust.