People may have already seen this, but the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated NBA Preview features none other than three guys who play for the Celtics, and it's not Perk, Scal and Brandon Wallace. Ian Thomsen's got a pretty decent article on how this crazy offseason went down, though there's not a whole lot in here that C's fans don't already know. What comes through the most is that even going into the Lottery, Pierce was totally ready to be traded. That shaky report from six months ago that he'd demand a trade if they didn't trade for veteran talent now seems to have been pretty spot-on. Also, I didn't realize that the mythical Chris Paul trade--the one that would have sent Pierce to Portland for the third pick in 2005, which the C's would have used to take Paul--didn't happen because Pierce didn't want to go to Portland. Maybe that was common knowledge, but I'd never heard a concrete reason for why it fell through. I guess it makes sense; in 2005, the Blazers were even worse than the Celtics.
Some people really buy into that whole SI cover jinx thing, but I've always thought it was pretty stupid so I'm not going to dwell on that here. Aside from the Thomsen piece, SI predicts the C's to finish atop the Eastern Conference, but also predicts they'll lose to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. They've got the Mavs beating the Pistons in the NBA Finals; I'm not ready to make my own predictions (soon) but I don't see Dallas getting by either San Antonio or Phoenix. Other interesting predictions are SI's pick of Paul Pierce for MVP runner-up, and their pick of Luis Scola to edge out Durant for Rookie of the Year. The former is intriguing--Pierce has certainly looked great in the preseason, though KG seems a more likely MVP candidate for a variety of reasons--while the latter pick of Scola over Durant sort of reeks of SI just trying to raise some eyebrows. The batshit-craziest pick of them all, however, is Glenn Rivers for Coach of the Year.
I'm going to take a deep breath.
If Glenn Rivers wins Coach of the Year, he will have two more COY trophies than Jerry Sloan, and one more than Phil Jackson. Glenn Rivers will not win Coach of the Year. It is infinitely more likely that he will be fired by mid-December if the C's go on a five-game losing streak. Glenn Rivers will not win Coach of the Year. He is a very, very, very bad basketball coach. Glenn Rivers will not win Coach of the Year. I'm going to stop saying this now because I can't believe someone's even brought it up. Is this some sort of Karl Rove-ian way for SI to divert attention away from the high-profile Rick Reilly defection? Next they'll be mis-reporting Kobe Bryant trade rumors in order to alter the mid-term elections. SI also predicts Danny Ainge as Executive of the Year, but he pretty much wrapped that up on July 31. Barring some sort of catastrophic injury EOY is Ainge's to lose.
In other Celtics news, the Green lost last night's exhibition contest to the Nets in East Rutherford, 82-71. Ray Allen, KG and Pierce were all DNP-CDs, which to be quite honest is fine with me. Has anyone else noticed that CSN has taken to referring to them as the "Triple Threat?" That is seriously the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard; I mean, it sounds like something a third-grader would come up with. It barely even makes sense. I understand the impulse to avoid calling them the "Big Three," but "Triple Threat?" Horrendous. On the brighter side, Big Baby blew the fuck up last night, going for 21 points and 6 boards in 33 minutes. This is great news for Celtics fans: if Big Baby can step in and be a productive force this season, that'll be absolutely huge for this team. He does seem to have some problems with foul trouble (5 last night), but most rookie big guys do, and as he continues to get in shape the fouls will probably dwindle. The C's don't play again until Friday, when they host King LeBron James and a bunch of other dudes who happen to wear the same uniform as him.