Monday, January 29, 2007

Now on to the Celtics

With the Patriots in the rear view mirror (Well not quite…Shaughnessy gets one dig in at Belichick today) and the Red Sox still a few weeks away from spring training, the CHB predictably sets his sites on the woeful state of the Boston Celtics. Lucky us.

Shaughnessy’s grand insight is that the Celtics are woeful and yet they seem to draw the praise and adoration of the home crowd regardless. He seems perplexed as to why no one seems to care? His premise calls to mind William Bennett’s Death of Outrage that was focused on the indifference of the public towards Bill Clinton’s White House in the 1990s.

Yet, if Shaughnessy’s basic thesis is correct (and Celtics crowds really are in a state of bliss) he seemingly answers his own question. People have written off this season because of the farsighted hope that Greg Oden or some other draft stud will make their way to Boston next season. Is this such a bad thing all things considered? At least it is understandable on some level. Look back in the files and Shank himself says such a situation should be written off.

In a column from April 2006, CHB also examines dismal teams from the Celtics past. He writes that the 1996-97 Celtics “don’t count because they were trying to lose games under ML Carr”. Is this really any different? The Celtics brain trust would never admit that they are trying to lose games but at this point, the 2006-2007 Celtics do seem to be operating under a similar paradigm as their 1996-1997 predecessors.

Shaughnessy’s idea, however, is that the Celtics games have become more show than competition. He talks about the dancers and he talks about tee shirts shot from cannons whipping the fans into a frenzy. I don’t buy into Shaughnessy’s argument. I find it hard to believe that Celtics fans have become so brainwashed – I think it is a simple case of Celtics fans being realistic about what this team can accomplish.

One final note…it is apparent that for Shaughnessy, the Carl Everett of the Celtics was/is Sidney Wicks. He loves to use Wicks as the poster child for all that was wrong with the late 1970s Celtics.

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