I'm sure all of you remember the trade the Celtics made on draft night, sending Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, and Jeff Green to the Sonics in exchange for Ray Allen. The merits of this deal were widely debated by both Celtics fans and the media. Was it wise to trade such a high draft pick for a 31 guard with bad ankles? Would adding Allen make the Celtics a contender in the East? At first it seemed that everyone would have to wait until the season to see the results of the trade, but something happened today that confirmed that the trade was a bad move by the Celtics. So what happened? The deal was given the worst kiss of death it could have possibly received; the NBA's worst GM, Kevin McHale, said he liked the move:
“The Eastern Conference has a lot of bad teams in it,” said McHale. “As a matter of fact, they sent a bad team (Cleveland) to the NBA Finals. I mean, the top teams in the East wouldn’t fare very well in the West. It’s been like that for a while. Miami came in and won, and then you had Detroit win a couple of years ago, but, you know, in a seven-game series anything can happen.”
As such, McHale thinks it’s quite possible that getting Allen from Seattle could produce results beyond the general expectation.
“I think Ray Allen is going to help,” McHale said. “Ray Allen can flat-out shoot the damn ball. He’s a game-changer in the fact that he can get it rolling on the offensive in a big way.
“He and (Paul) Pierce at the 2 and 3 are potentially as potent as any twosome in the Eastern Conference. The 2 and 3 are key positions in our league right now.. . . So they’re going to be strong at two positions you really need to be strong at to score in our league now.”
Just so you know, this quote pretty much made my day. It is almost as if Kevin McHale sat down last night, channeled Steven Colbert, and decided to say the most audacious series of things that popped into his mind. So lets go through his marvelous quote, just to make sure none of the finer points of hilarity are missed;
The East Sucks: Kevin decided to start off with the standard cliche of "The East is bad, the West rules the NBA". While this was indeed true last year, as McHale himself points out the East has won some championships in recent seasons. Also, McHale completely ignores the fact that a number of Eastern teams other than Boston have made substantial upgrades this offseason (Orlando, Charlotte, New York) or are coming off a season riddled with injuries (New Jersey, Miami, Washington, Milwaukee). Therefore it is by no means a sure thing that merely adding Ray Allen will vault the Celtics above the 14 teams that were better than them in the East last year.
Ray Allen Can Score! Yay!: McHale must think that offense is the greatest need for the Celtics, since his main praise of the trade was that Ray Allen can shoot. This is indeed true. The Celtics already have a fair number of scorers however, in Paul Pierce, Al Jefferson, and Gerald Green. That offense-first attitude is likely way the Timberwolves gave up nearly 100 PPG last season despite having one of the greatest defensive players in the league in Kevin Garnett.
The 2 And 3...So Key: The best part of McHale's rant has to be his assertation that "The 2 and 3 are key positions in our league right now". Well, yeah...but are they any more key than say center, a position from which Tim Duncan and Shaq have essentally ruled the NBA since Jordan left? Are the 2 and 3 more important than the point guard position? Please. Try this on for size. Pierce and Allen are All-Stars at SG and SF. So if given the chance, would you take them over a duo of Chauncey Billups and Dwight Howard? Gilbert Arenas and Shaq? Jason Kidd and Amare Stoudemire? Chris Paul and Yao? Please. Having All Stars at the 2 and 3 didn't exactly work out so great for Denver last year, and there is no certainty it will work out for Boston either.
Perhaps the greatest part about McHale's rant is that it highlights exactly why he is a terrible GM. He would rather try for talent at the swing positions (See: Ricky Davis, Rashad McCants) than get a solid player at point guard or center. He values scoring over defense. He puts more value on quick fixes (See; Mark Blount, Davis, the Joe Smith debacle) than actually developing young talent through the draft. Above all else however, McHale's rant stood out as perhaps the funniest thing I have read all week. For that I am thankful to the old guy.