With week 3 of NBA action underway, we’re starting to see some interesting developments unfold. The rust of the offseason has finally shaken off for most, and with new faces in unfamiliar locations taking center stage there’s little doubt that we’re in for some of the best basketball in recent memory.
The Celtics in many ways have played a huge part in creating this buzz, mainly due to the offseason activities of Danny “Hide ya picks, hide ya wife” Ainge playing chess when most others have been playing checkers over the course of the Summer. Among other big moves this past summer, the initial head scratcher of moving back two selections in the draft in order to get his guy, Jayson Tatum, 3rd overall at first put many fans and analysts into a frenzy. Many early on had thought that the choice for #1 was a no-brainer, making former Washington phenom, Markelle Fultz, next in line to don the Celtic Green. For Danny, the option wasn’t so clear, having made the call after a series of workouts leaving him unconvinced on Fultz, but enamored with the Duke standout instead. It only took until summer league started to see just why Danny gets paid the big bucks while us mere virtual GM’s stick to running the show on NBA2K, as Tatum has been nothing short of electric. Viewed as arguably the most NBA-ready prospect in his class, Tatum’s initial question marks of defensive consistency and athletic limitations for the forward position are looking like an afterthought with the passing of each game. Not to mention, the kid has been thrust into a key role in the Celtic’s offensive game plan due to Gordon Hayward’s horrific opening game injury against the Cavs (click if you hate your eyeballs) and has responded to the call with solid averages of 14 PPG and 7 RPG on insane .484/.500/.839 splits through 7 games this season. For non-Michael Rapaport types, Tatum’s advanced metrics are just as impressive, with .631% True shooting (28th in the league) as well as an effective DRtg of 95.1 (one of the best among all rookies). This solid production coupled with early exposure to playing big time minutes make for a very, very promising future for the 19 year old. While kids like Lonzo Ball get continuous reverence as if he introduced the concept of passing to the fucking Lakers, Tatum is actually out here acting as both a plus defender and efficient contributor to a 5-2 squad.
Being that I am the resident Bulls fan of the BH squad, I feel that it is especially refreshing to look at a team that is doing everything the right way as it seems, even when it doesn’t immediately reflect the interests of their fanbase. Ainge certainly commands the same level of ‘shut the fuck up and let the man work” type of respect as the R.C. Bufords, Bob Myers, and even the Bill Belichicks of the sports world due to his ability to consistently make moves that flat out work. Once/if Hayward comes back healthy next year and Lebron leaves Dan Gilbert in the dust part 2, the East is certainly Boston’s for the taking.
Well, done Danny… well done.