The Weekend Greenie Bag - The Pressure Is On The Kids

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Happy lazy Sunday everybody and welcome to another weekly edition of the Weekend Greenie Bag! Summer League may be over, but that does not mean stoolies aren’t spending the dog days of summer pondering life’s most important Celtics questions. And remember, heading into this season the Weekend Greenie bag is expanding, no longer just Celtics related. I’m going to try and remember to update the header image so it really feels that way promise. Getting involved is easy, tweet whatever with #greeniebag or email greenieceltsbag@gmail.com. Piece of cake really.

Now, your questions

I may be the minority in this, but I have one request from whoever is playing center for the Boston Celtics next year. Just be better than what we had to suffer through last season. Actually you know, rebound. Play good defense, don’t be super slow on rotations and oh yeah, rebound. I don’t even need a lot! I’m not sitting here demanding 10+ rebounds. I’ll take 7. Shit I might even take 6 a game, just give me something. As long as they are better than the Amir/Zeller/Olynyk trio then I have no issues. Don’t finish the season 26th in total rebounding and see what an impact that makes. Are these low expectations kind of sad and pathetic? You bet, but that’s how bad things were.

So enter Aron Baynes and Ante Zizic. Hell, things are better almost by default before they even step on the floor. I remember when the Baynes announcement happened there were some fans that felt underwhelmed. It wasn’t this big sexy name that sports radio had been talking about for months, so he must not be that good. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Baynes provides something this team desperately needs. Size (6’10 250lbs), rebounding ability (21.6% dreb rate and 15.6% total rebounding rate), and he’s cheap (1yr/4M). His Per 36s as a Piston last year was 11.3/10.3/1.2, that doesn’t entice you? I think if Brad keeps his starting lineup mostly conventional, Baynes is your starting C

But let’s not forget about Ante. Watching him collect double doubles in Vegas has me all in. He needs to get in MUCH better shape before the season starts, but everything I hoped he would be we saw during the Summer League. It wouldn’t shock me to see him get 20 minutes a game at least on that second unit, and if he truly is as good as we hope, see Brad eventually start him.

Well Mike, as it stands now the Cavs are in utter turmoil. We’ve also haven’t seen this Celtics team play one second together, so let’s think of this as a question simply of each teams roster on paper.

When I think of why the Celtics struggle against CLE, two reasons stand out. Their inability to rebound, and not having an elite secondary scorer. On one end they had Tristan Thompson getting 1000 offensive rebounds a game, and on the other end, the entire Cavs defense could focus on Isaiah. Well, the Celtics have appeared to address their rebounding issues, and brought in an All Star offensive talent to help Isaiah. The Cavs, well, they brought in Jose Calderon.

I think on paper, the Celtics have enough to push CLE to probably 6 or 7 games. If BOS has home court for that Game 7, it wouldn’t shock me if they won it.

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Hey Greenie,

With all the moves/picks that have been made recently, I was wondering what you think of the idea of Brad running the second unit with entirely young guys. Would look something like IT/Hayward/Crowder/Horford/Baynes starting and then like Marcus/Jaylen/Tatum/Yabu/Zizic. You could sub in Terry/Nader/Semi for those young guys too. I know there’s probably a million reasons it won’t happen (Morris and others need to get minutes, less experience, probably not the smartest way to try and win basketball games) but am I the only one who’s been dreaming of seeing this lineup? They’d be so much fun to watch and out run and jump everybody, even if there were some growing pains. Plus, isn’t letting your future pieces play together consistently a good way to prepare for the future? Any chance we see this and if so, how frequently? I know that at the very least, this’ll be my 2nd unit on 2K for sure. – Matt

Matt, I actually think this is exactly what the second is going to look like for the most part. I do think Morris gets the first crack at that spot over Yabu unfortunately. I’m not sure how much of Nader/Semi we are going to see considering they are at the end of the Celtics bench and Brad very rarely gives minutes to everyone on the roster (see Young, James and Jackson, Demetrius). If you remember, the issue the second unit had at times last year was their inability to score, and we saw Brad turn to more veteran guys like Gerald and Jonas more often than not. Well, now those guys are gone so Brad really has no choice BUT to play the young guys.

I’m with you though, I want these kids to see as much time as possible to help them form a chemistry. Chances are there is going to be a big playoff moment where we are going to need them to buy time for the starters to get their rest, and I’m for anything that helps prevent a 3-21 quarter.

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So we all know this team is better than last year.  A six or seven game series with the Cavs in the ECFs is my guess.  With LeBron possibly going to the Lakers we should rule the East with the Bucks as the underdog. If you end up with the 1 and let’s say 3rd pick in the lottery do you trade for Davis when the twin towers/Rondo experiment fails, or grab the white unicorn Aynton and porter or Marvin Bagley if he reclassified to the 2018 Draft. Bottom line does the addition of Davis give us enough 2 beat the Dubs, or do we stay the course and wait it out with cost controlled players? – Brian

Brian we touched on this in last week’s Greenie Bag and my thoughts haven’t really changed. I truly think Ainge would just prefer to wait until Davis hits the open market so he can add him without having to give up a damn thing. At the very least he’s waiting a year or so until the Pelicans lose a little bit of leverage so the asking price isn’t as high. If they were to trade for him let’s say in February, it’s costing A LOT and I don’t know how much better you are over the next handful of years with you best young talent and best draft picks out the door.

It made me sad when I heard Pierce was going to be on ESPN. I’m with Nate, I wanted him around these two for an entire year. Sort of like a KG role when he was on Minnesota the second time around. The potential of these two is so high, I want them to pick Pierce’s brain on everything. Offensive approach, defensive tricks, what it takes to win etc. It wouldn’t shock me if Pierce is around in some capacity despite his TV work, but I was all for giving him the vet min and let him work his magic.

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Greenie,

Love all the stuff you do. Just thought I’d drop in with a question to see what your thoughts were on it. The upcoming team could be the greatest litmus test of Danny Ainge’s acumen as a talent evaluator. The first unit will be in essence be players that he has either traded for or signed to big deals. The second unit and further reserves will be made of mostly, if not entirely some nights, of his draft picks including two of the major assets from the pierce/kg deal. At some point this season there will most likely be five of his first round picks on the floor at the same time. Do you think it’s fair to say that this is Danny Ainge’s most important post big three season? Not because they are expected to compete for a title, but because the Celtics are heavily relying on young talent he has drafted to support the loaded first team? If the Celtics are forced to play the first team more minutes than planned because the second unit can’t maintain or build on leads, would that put a dent in the “In Danny we Trust” mantra? 

Sorry it’s so long, but again love all you do. Pres is an idiot keeping you in a cube.  – Ryan

Ryan I’ll say this. I think every year since the Pierce trade has been a year in which Ainge needed to prove himself, and so far he’s passed each level. Level 1 was obviously starting a rebuild, in which he set himself up better than almost any NBA GM in recent history. So to me he passed that Level. Then came Level 2 which was about losing and getting as high a pick as possible, then selecting the right guy. I’d say Ainge passed this Level as well. People differ on Marcus, but here are the people taken either right before him or those who round out the top 10.

Exum, Randle, Staukas, Vonleh, Payton.

I’d rather have Marcus over any of those dudes. Randle included.

Getting to Level 3 in my opinion was making the playoffs. We all know Ainge can evaluate NBA talent, which is exactly what he did with the Isaiah trade. Ainge saw what was possible, and as a result got a MASSIVE erection I mean injection of Kool Aid into this rebuild. Ainge had exactly 1 tanking season before getting back to the playoffs. From there Ainge needed to take a leap, which they did by winning 48 games. Last year, taking Brown when many didn’t think that was the right pick, securing the #1 seed and making the ECF Ainge has passed another Level.

But I agree with you, this stage is absolutely the most important. The problem is, the type of players Marcus/Jaylen/Tatum are now, are hopefully going to be VERY different from what we see in three or so years. So in that regard, how they perform this season can’t be the end all be all because they are so fucking young. I would say I don’t think the Celtics make some of the decisions they did if they didn’t believe the young talent they have is the right combination of players.

Danny Ainge defenders (myself included) have preached the fact that Ainge hadn’t previously had the opportunity to select high lottery talent, and now that he is right in the middle of it, we can FINALLY get a read on his ability to evaluate high end talent. That’s what makes this whole rebuild so fascinating. Anti Ainge crowds want to cry he can’t draft, but they form that basis off guys taken in the mid/late 20s that didn’t turn out to be superstars. It’s a flawed logic. Now though, both sides have enough ammo for someone to finally be right.

I trust Danny and his staff, primarily because look where we stand just 4 years removed from winning 25 games.

Pretty sure Bosh is done for good, and even if he was cleared I’m not sure I want that on my conscience. I think Bosh has done enough to solidify his place in the Hall Of Fame, made something crazy like $189M on the court, I think he should just go to TV and call it a career.

But you are not crazy for thinking he fits like a glove, because he absolutely does. He does everything this system wants. he can score from anywhere, he has range, he can rebound and protect the rim, and he can sure as hell play defense. The 53 games he played in 20156-16 were legit as hell. You put him next to Horford and holy shit.

Despite that though, not worth it for me. Bigger things in life than basketball (to some).

And that’ll do it for this week. With the Kyrie news dropping the other day I imagine next week will be filled with one of my favorite discussions. Thanks to those who wrote in, remember, no take is too out there for this blog. See everyone next week

Have a great rest of your Sunday!