or "We don't know where we're going, but we're making good time."
I am amazed not to have seen any discussion of the terrible
handicap under which Danny Ainge is working.
Ainge finds himself facing an off-season that proffers wildly disparate
outcomes ranging from adding one rookie to the fourteen players now under
contract, to turning over the majority of the roster. Yet he is hampered by a built in delay,
perhaps a long delay that may stretch until long after most moves of the
off-season should have been completed.
It is widely acknowledged that the first domino, and one likely
setting the direction of this summer’s activity, is resolving the Kevin Garnett
conundrum. Now this is not a novel
situation. For several years there has
been a question at the end of each season as to whether this immensely
talented, professional, and proud Hall-of-Famer would return game to which he
has given, and meant, so much. His
off-season training regimen is legendary for its incessant and grueling
nature. On the court he is a force of
nature, but we only get hints of the extent of his daily preparations during
the season to enable him to drive his aging body to the frenzied levels that he
demands of himself. This season we’ve
gotten circuitous (certainly not something this consummate professional would
trot out as an alibi) hints of bone spurs in both ankles, and yet he rages on
through the pain (something with which I have personal, and vivid,
experience—and a pair of crutches in the back of the closet).
This off-season will entail, in addition to his 100-thousand
mile checkup and service, shaving those bone spurs. The rehab will be lengthy and his usual
summer torture will be on hold initially and severely curtailed for weeks if
not months even when he is able to resume activity. We know that this proud warrior will be loath
to return to the court if he cannot perform up to his enormously high
standards. It seems to me that he will
not really know if, or maybe whether, he can return at a level he demands of
himself—not until August or September, perhaps not until November. So if Danny’s direction depends upon that
Garnett domino, one that may not fall for months, what is Ainge to do?
Consider just how divergent are the paths depending
upon Garnett’s availability. If you knew
today that Garnett would be in uniform next season, what course would you chart
for the Celtics the next four months?
And if not, what direction would your plan take? As my old math professor used to say, the
solution is non-trivial.
[Discuss on CG Forums!]