Hate to say I told you so . . .
But after an impressive 10-1 start, and a Celtics team that looks nearly impossible to stop . . .
I told you so.
So to all the "youth movement" freaks out there, how's that draft-night trade working out for your Boston Celtics fan status? Are you still confused as to why Danny Ainge "gave up" on "the future?"
You shouldn't be. As I said over the summer, the future is now. And because of that, this is a Celtics franchise that can - and will - rebuild in the free agent market, rather than rest its hopes on a ping pong ball.
Boston has looked bad in only one half of one game (see horrendous first half against Orlando). That's pretty good, considering you would have thought the team's bench consisted of hockey players if you read most of the local sports writers.
A 10-1 start isn't surprising to me. What's surprising is that it took five straight wins to start the season to see people give Ainge credit. Let's face it, now that former Bruins GM Mike O'Connell is long gone, Ainge receives by far the most criticism of anyone in Boston.
OK, so Jeremy Jacobs must sell the Bruins for them to even come close to winning a championship, but while the Celtics were awful, people still cared. Can't say the same for the Black and Gold.
Ainge had a plan the whole time, or at least that's how it looks now. That plan was to be able to rebuild through free agency, instead of the draft. The only way to do that was to draft well, for several consecutive years. The next step was to create a young, promising team from those draft picks. Develop those young players and get them some highlight reels to put on the resume. Throw a few veterans around them for a few years while they develop.
And like any smart gambler, cash out when you're up big.
Ainge cashed out when his young talent had made names for themselves and became valuable to organizations willing to begin their own rebuilding process.
Throughout this whole plan, maybe you get lucky, and get a No. 1 or No. 2 pick. But maybe you don't.
Ainge didn't. Enter Seattle and Minnesota, two teams willing to start over.
When the Celtics traded their first round pick in this year's draft, along with Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak, you would have thought Ainge announced he was moving the team out of Boston.
You all (and you know who you are) criticized Ainge for "giving up on the future." To me, your argument was laughable then, and looking back on what the Celtics gave up for Ray Allen, it makes me wonder if you people were drinking out of the same bottle Cedric Maxwell was sipping out of when he said Kevin Garnett was the second-best player in Celtics history behind Bill Russell.
Ainge was able to trade a good draft pick, and two average players at best for a Ray Allen. Let me say that again. Ray Allen.
One of the top scorers in the league, for what? Looking back on it now, for nothing. There are plenty of players like West and Szczerbiak out there. You don't find a player like Allen suiting up for your team everyday.
But what did you all say back in June?
"He's getting old."
"He just had ankle surgery on both ankles."
"We could have used that draft pick."
"Why is Ainge giving up on the future?"
Allen turned 32 in July. He averaged over 20 points per game nine consecutive years entering 2007-08, including a career-high 26.4 points per game last season. He only played 55 games, after choosing to have bone spurs removed from both ankles. And "the future," which consisted mainly of Al Jefferson and Gerald Green, hadn't gone anywhere.
So essentially, you people were too busy complaining and blaming Ainge for trading a few role players, while receiving a 32-year-old, seven-time All-Star with two bone spur-less ankles, all while maintaining what you believed to be your next great big man and the next Tracy McGrady.
Ainge then went out and got you Garnett. Sure, he then gave up your "future," but he made the team an immediate NBA title contender in the process.
You still heard Ainge's critics.
"He gave up too much."
"They have no bench."
"They need a veteran point guard."
Paul Pierce, Allen, and Garnett have pretty much shut up the people that thought they wouldn't be able to win unless they rolled nine-deep. Eddie House has already solidified himself as a lock for sixth man of the year. And all of a sudden, Rajon Rondo has supporters coming out of the woodwork.
And like I said before, I hate to say I told you so. So next time you tell someone you expected this, you didn't. And the next time you hear another NBA analyst other than Stephen A. Smith say they expected this, they didn't.
They were too busy overlooking the talent of Pierce. They were too busy over-analyzing the game. They were too busy criticizing Ainge.
The Celtics are 10-1. Those people believe now. It's just too bad it took so long.