As promised yesterday, we have for you the mother of all draft posts: six uniquely brilliant Headband voices articulating their collective hopes, dreams, and abject terror of Yi Jianlian. This post is going to be pretty long but I haven't yet figured out how to insert jumps into this thing; I think it requires fucking around with HTML and I don't have time to go there at the moment. So, without further ado, your Official Shamrock Headband Draft Preview:
Sean The Fox Says:
I can't emphasize how much I'd love to see the Celtics move this pick. 1) Because Pierce, like other so-called "franchise" players throughout the league, feels he deserves a championship and will request a trade to a contender if they don't 2) because the top-half of the draft is a logjam of similarly talented players, which results in a crap shoot for the C's at #5 and 3) because if you CAN get Marion, or the combo of Odom and Bynum, WITHOUT giving up Big Al, YOU DO IT.
The first point speaks for itself. Pierce has been patient for the last couple years - but why do you sign that contract if you knew of the possibilities? Too bad, Paul. I'd suggest hiring a new agent if you're that unhappy with your decision. But if he wants out, then so it is.
Secondly, there are no breakout stars other than Oden and Durant in this draft (OK, Horford, but he will be gone before the Celts pick). I also don't know where any of the also-rans necessarily fit with the current composition of the roster (which is jammed with 2's, 3's, and 4's).
Will it be Yi? What have we seen from Yi? To me, he looks like a shorter version of Yao, which is too bad, because he is just as slow and doesn't have the post moves that make Yao effective. All I've seen is video of Yi dunking on smaller guys (and on the lazy man's champion, Pau Gasol). Whoopee.
Will it be Noah? Noah's gotten a lot of play recently but do you use a #5 pick on a guy who averaged 12 points a night in college? Sure he's feisty, but where's the offensive game?
Will it be Brewer or Green? Both seem to have excellent all-around games, but why bring in another small forward when you are already looking to get minutes for Wally (big maybe) and Gerald Green (I want more Gerald this season!) at the 3-spot?
Brandan Wright? Buddy, you automatically fall off my board with the bullshit "I'm not working out against other players" thing. Grow a pair.
So this brings me to the third point: if the Celtcs can get Marion without dispatching Al Jefferson, I'm in. If they can get Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum without losing Big Al, even better. In Odom, you have a 6-10 veteran at just 27 years old who can score, hit the glass, dish, and play aggressive defense. He has three years left on his contract at around $11 million per, and in my opinion, is worth it. His game is poetic. Pippen-like. In Bynum, you have an improving project with the potential to be a BEAST inside. Like with Al Jefferson, some work with the Celtics coaching staff will help Bynum's offensive repertoire.
Rumors have the Celtics trading for Marion or the Odom/Bynum combo using some combination of these chips: Green, Ratliff, West, Telfair, Wally, or the draft pick. Regardless of who goes out of that group, would you bet against a team with Pierce, Odom, and Jefferson, with young upside players like Bynum and Rondo potentially rounding out the starting five? I'd be ecstatic.
So let's hold our breath for the draft. It's the TRADES that make draft night so interesting. Let's hope the Celtics make the right one.
The first order of business is to trade Paul Pierce. What we have all been assuming as inevitable over the past year or two, that Pierce is going to ask for a trade, seems to be imminent if you believe the reports coming out. The only way to satisfy Pierce is to trade our pick for a veteran, a move that could definitely be done, but the question arises: is it worth it? First of all, to get a legit player who could really make a difference (e.g. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant) would require us parting with Al Jefferson, a move that would be a temporary fix to give us one shot (if you believe what these players are saying that they’d opt out of their contract if traded to Boston) at the finals. The Celtics seemed to do this runaround back in 2002 on a smaller scale trading Joe Johnson, their then rookie, for Rodney Rodgers, a big man whose contract was expiring but who could help us make a run in the playoffs. Of course, we didn’t make the finals and we lost Rodgers to free agency while Joe Johnson made the leap to legitimate star.
The best case scenario is that we get to the NBA Finals with one of these superstars. To think that we would win the finals is absolutely ridiculous. What
Don't believe the hype. There's no chance the Celtics are picking China's Yi Jianlian. It's been two weeks now that we've seen forecasts of the Celtics drafting Yi Jianlian of China. Most recently, Andy Katz of ESPN.com made that prediction after spending a morning with the Celtics brass. I'm here to tell you that out of the four prospects atop the C's list of players likely to be available at #5 (Yi, Brewer, Noah, Green) Yi is by far the least likely to be chosen. I'll explain why - but first I want to give Ainge and Co credit for keeping everyone believing that they'll actually pick the kid despite absolutely no evidence to confirm it. First off, Ainge knows he's gotta hit at least a double with this pick. His contract (as well as pretty much everyone in the front office and coaching staff) is up in two years. That means this pick is going to have to contribute pretty much right away or it will put Ainge in an even deeper hole with fans and ownership, who have got to be short on patience with Danny the Dealer at this point. Ainge - who admittedly is a xenophobe when it comes to basketball players - would be setting himself up for disaster, as Yi has a much steeper learning curve than Brewer, Noah or Green. Second, the Celtics front office follows Red Aurbach's philosophy that unless you're a championship team you've got to pick the best player available regardless of position. Yi is the least prepared of the four players for the NBA and the Celtics are already afraid of the demands that the Chinese government will put on him during the summers, which will undoubtedly slow his development and keep him from summering in Waltham like the Celtics prefer their young colts to be. Third, his 'body of work" is modest. He comes from a League where God Shamgod and Chris Herren can score 30 consistently. He's been at best a third option for the Chinese National Team, which is sad considering that they're just happy when they qualify for FIBA events. Fourth, they haven't seen Yi work out against an NBA prospect. Yi held private workouts where he flew solo, and he was the only top prospect not to have his measurements taken in Orlando. They can't even prove he's as old as he says he is. Finally, with the departure of Chris Wallace - who handled all the international scouting - Yi has no one in the Celtics office who would advocate for him on draft night. Sans Wallace, no one has studied Yi enough to argue for him over Brewer, Green and Noah.
Why would they pick him? He is very fast and fluid for his size. At 7' those qualities along make him an intriguing prospect. Maybe Wyc or the other owners have business interests in China and just can't see past the potential to build the Celtics name there via Yi. That's very unlikely and I'm not even sure it makes sense. However, there are just too many signs that point to Yi being a smoke screen for the Celtics to hide behind. (For the record, I'm putting my money on Corey Brewer.)
Danny, please make a decision. For someone who was so quick to shoot when he was a player, Danny Ainge has a hard decision on whether to shoot or pass on this year's draft. I don't mean whether to take a point guard or a shooting guard but on the direction of the team. This is a critical point for the direction of the Celtics. We will need to sign Big Al to an extension this summer and decisions need to be made now on the future of the team. Below are two of Danny's options. I ask him to please pick a direction and stick to it. 1. Roll the dice and make a trade. The offers will be on the table on draft night, believe it. After Oden and Durant are gone, the next 2 men on the clock will be Billy "I've never made a trade that actually helped my team, only the other" Knight and Chris Wallace. (What a drop-off from Jerry West, one of the greatest GM's of all time to Chris Wallace. Similar to the casting of Danny Glover to replace Schwarzenegger in Predator II). I usually don't pay too much attention to the rumors that surround draft night but if Wyc tells him we need to get another marquee player around Paul tomorrow night is the night to pull the trigger. I will not debate the merits of Jermaine Oneal, K.G. or Marion in this space as the other writers have done so well. I think it would be short-sighted to acquire any of them actually since next summer could be loaded with free agents and holding onto Ratliff would actually give us a chance to get someone. However I understand this approach because him and Doc are trying to keep their jobs. Everything would depend on what we give up but I've yet to hear a rumor for a trade I would support 100%. 2. We can take the highest rated player on our board and hope for the improvement of Gerald Green, Al Jefferson and Rajon Rondo. This could be Brewer, Green, Yi, or Noah. This is my preferred route and is also the most conservative. As the resident fantasy sports scribe here at the Shamrock Headband, you will come to see that I generally prefer conservative approaches when building a fantasy team. Perhaps that has rubbed off on my opinion on how to build a professional team. However from a financial sense this is the best option. I also say we sign Tony Allen on the cheap this summer but that is a post for another day. I would be ok with either of these but what I do not understand is this feeling that they somehow owe it to Paul Pierce to surround him with a more competitive team. That is BS. They owe him nothing but his paycheck. Who does he think he is, Ray Bourque? If he is still here in 2012 maybe, but Paul, just get healthy shut-up. Regardless, if Danny does not pick a direction and the Celtics spin their wheels again this summer we will be forced to trade Paul for less than his value.
I’ve been posting like crazy about this over the past few weeks so I’m almost at a loss for what to say at this point. Almost. There are so many rumors flying around at this point I can’t even bother linking to them, but what seems to be emerging is the notion that the C’s are desperately trying to trade for a veteran because if they end up stuck with just the number five, whoever that may be, Pierce is going to demand a trade. And make no mistake: if Paul Pierce demands a trade on account of management’s inability to surround him with viable talent, one could convincingly argue that Ainge has led the Celtics into a worse situation than when he inherited them. Admitted draft prowess aside—though even that’s starting to look a bit overrated—almost every major trade or free agent move this management group has made has ranged from ineffective to disastrous. Vin Baker. Raef Lafrentz. Ricky Davis. Wally Szczerbiak. It’s not working.
Unless Danny and the gang know something none of the rest of us do—and I suppose that’s possible, though increasingly unlikely—they are in a uniquely horrible situation. The threat of a Pierce trade demand devalues the fifth pick, because now everyone in the League knows they’re desperate to unload it, hence every single team we talk to making outlandish demands for Al Jefferson.
There seem to be four options floating around the table, in no particular order: 1) trade the pick and players for a top-flight veteran; 2) draft Jeff Green; 3) draft Corey Brewer; 4) draft Yi Jianlian. The last option is easily the worst; I wouldn’t even know what to make of that decision, frankly. Drafting an [age unknown]-year-old 7-footer who’s widely considered the biggest potential bust in the draft and even in the best case scenario is several years away would be a slap in the face to Pierce, to the fans, and would pretty much amount to Ainge throwing in the towel on his own tenure. I still want to believe this won’t happen. Green and Brewer are much, much better choices but it’s dubious whether either of them would be enough to keep Pierce in town. I don’t even feel like making a prediction; I just want it to be over.