Celtics’ dormant deadline sets up NBA futures fortunes in 2018

Do not make the mistake of interpreting a lack of action as a lack of intelligence or a lack of success.  Just because the Boston Celtics passed on any available transactions pertaining to Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Indiana’s Paul George does not translate to General Manager Danny Ainge and company having failed at Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

We currently live in an instant gratification society in which all wants and desires must be fulfilled at the drop of a hat. Patience, while still very much a virtue for those capable of exhibiting any, is now perceived from the outside in much the same manner in which we view apathy. Take a look around at all of the “Trade Deadline Winners & Losers” articles that are currently floating around the internet and locate the category in which the Celtics reside. 

Hint: It’s not in the “Winners” category.

And for what reason? Because Boston chose to stay the course, demonstrate patience and not mortgage an extraordinarily bright future for 16 months of George or a potential schematic disaster with Butler playing alongside Isaiah Thomas?

You may not call that “winning,” but it sure as hell ain’t “losing.”

Since head coach Brad Stevens departed Butler and took over in Boston before the 2013-2014 campaign, the Celtics went from a 25-win club, to a 40-win squad, to a 48-win team to a franchise that, this season, is currently on pace for 53 victories and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, going 159-138-6 ATS in the process. The Celtics are absolutely stacked with draft picks and young talent and are in tremendous position to take over the Conference in a couple years when LeBron James enters the final act of his storied career.

So don’t be fooled by any analysis that deems Boston’s approach to the trade deadline as a failure, because chances are that same analysis loved the Chris Webber-to-Philadelphia and Steve Francis-to-New York deadline deals that went down in the not-too-distant past.

Instead, stay patient until the 2017-2018 NBA futures surface and then strike quick on the Celtics if 20/1 or higher finds its way to market. Call it a hunch, but Boston may be waiting until the summer to make its way into the deep end of the transactions pool.

While I’m at it, here’s a six-pack rant for the weekend…

1. Keep an eye on the Los Angeles Lakers as a “fade” club for the remainder of the season. Magic Johnson’s willingness to trade his leading scorer in Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets this past week is a clear sign that the franchise understands what’s at stake over the next two months. A first-round draft pick. What I mean by that is simple: The Lakers currently own a top-3 protected pick, which means the club must tank it’s way into the top-3 in order to avoid losing the selection altogether to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Williams-to-Houston trade was just the beginning of the Lakers’ attempt to make sure that aforementioned draft pick stays in Los Angeles.

2. In a similar fashion, we can go ahead and apply the same logic to the Sacramento Kings, who are currently working with a top-10 protected draft pick for 2017. Don’t be shocked if this team shows some grit, like it did in Thursday’s 116-100 win over Denver, now that locker room cancer Boogie Cousins has finally been traded (to New Orleans). But that grit will only last as long as Sacramento remains within the top-10 selections.

3. Start betting Golden State third quarter point spreads. Following Thursday night’s 123-113 victory over the Clippers in a game that featured the Warriors outscoring Los Angeles 50-26 in the third quarter, Golden State now ranks first in the NBA in both third quarter scoring (31.7 points per game in 3Q) and third quarter margin of victory (+6.1 points game in 3Q). No team in professional sports makes better halftime adjustments than the Dubs and no coach in professional sports does a better job of motivating his players at the half than Steve Kerr.

4. Hint, hint: You may want to consider the same thing as it pertains to the San Antonio Spurs and the second quarter.

5. Remember last week when I wrote an article about NBA totals in the first game and week coming off the All-Star break? For those who missed it, the pertinent information is as follows: Over the last three years, the 30 NBA member organizations are a combined 54-35-1 (.606) to the OVER in their first game back off the All-Star break. And how’s this for a kicker: During Thursday night’s six pro hoops contests, the OVER went 5-1 if you bet all six totals at their opening number.

6. The Boogie Cousins-Anthony Davis marriage in New Orleans will fail and head coach Alvin Gentry will be the fall guy who loses his job as a result.


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