The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles (by way of Minneapolis) Lakers are certainly the two most-hated franchises in the NBA. Why? They’ve won a combined 52% of all NBA championships ever.
Suddenly, it looks bleak for both aging rosters. And to the delight of Celtics and Lakers haters everywhere, let’s play WHO! SUCKS! MORE! not just this year, but for the long-term.
For our grading system, the higher the grade, the more they suck.
The Lakers will get Gasol and his Euro-foot back soon. The Celtics won’t be seeing Rondo, Sullinger, or Barbosa for the rest of the season. Those Sullinger red flags coming true sends chills down the spines of all Celtics fans. He was playing great basketball. Lakers Suckage: B-, Celtics Suckage: A+
Both teams have huge issues here. They both actually have a lot of youth infused on the bench, but because of injuries, Boston’s bench is essentially starting. There are two “really” old guys left in Pierce and KG. For the Lakers, if you take away Dwight Howard, the average age of their starters is just a shade under 35 years. Steve Nash is a slow-moving fossil who can’t get around any PG unless he hooks him. The problem for Boston is that there is no one to fill the void of scoring once the marquis starters are put out to pasture except Jeff Green, whose heart may explode at any moment. (Note: BTBNL does not want Jeff Green’s heart to explode.) Lakers Suckage: A, Celtics Suckage: A+
The Celtics are talented enough for a 7 or 8 seed, which is where they’ll wind up. With Gasol healthy, the Lakers had a starting 5 that was an All-Star team. Are the Lakers really not going to make the playoffs? They pretty much have no excuse, except for a historically knee-jerk reaction in firing a coach 8 games into the season, and maybe the most horrible team chemistry ever. Lakers Suckage: D, Celtics Suckage: B-
STAR PROBLEMS OVER THE LONG TERM:
Rajon Rondo is an immensely talented but immature hothead who cannot control his demeanor on the court, and it remains in question whether he can be a reliable leader. Kobe Bryant is an aging star they’ll have to tear the uniform off of, and no one will be able to tell him he doesn’t have it anymore. They are still both amazing players, and should both retire wearing their current uniforms. Lakers Suckage: C, Celtics Suckage: C
MOST OVERRATED OFFSEASON ACQUISITION:
Jason Terry can do one thing: shoot. Just not this year. In 2013, he has (inexplicably) become a horrible offensive player, with career lows in PPG and assists per game, taking into account about 5 minutes fewer per game. He is a far cry from replacing Ray Allen’s production. And what the Celtics need is offense. Jet Terry is not who we thought he was. That said, it was never assumed he was a starter on this team.
Dwight Howard went from making the Lakers a “70+ win team” (remember that, Lakers fans?) to the guy that LA fans most want to ship out of town. Kobe criticized his toughness, and he responded by disappearing on the court. Mitch Kupchak just said D12 deserved a statue outside Staples Center, and Howard responded with a 12-pt 6-rebound 1st quarter against the Celtics last night. Howard’s numbers are down for the season, but they don’t tell the full story. He is a soft, weak-minded faux-superstar. A physical specimen, but not a dominant basketball player. The Lakers are driving a stake between Howard and Bryant by making comments about Howard’s long-term future in LA, and that’s not very smart.
Lakers Suckage: A, Celtics Suckage: C
The deadline is today, but what would you do if you were either team? What can you do?
The Celtics truly don’t want to move Pierce or KG, as they have more value to Boston than any other team. KG would be a great addition to the Clippers, but he’s not waiving his no-trade clause for anything. Trading Rondo would be hated in Boston, and also pretty stupid. They probably stand pat.
The Lakers are idiots to not ship Howard somewhere – anywhere – right now. They could make other tweaks to make sure they limp into the playoffs, but will they? Kupchak coming out and saying “we are not trading Dwight Howard” is an odd move for one of the best GMs in sports. What, exactly, is he seeing that fans aren’t?
Bottom line, neither team can do a hell of a lot to improve themselves with what they have available, unless Ainge completely blows up the team. We’re betting here that he won’t.
Lakers Suckage: B-, Celtics Suckage: B
For the long-term, advantage Celtics. Doc Rivers has established himself as just behind Tom Thibodeau for being a head coach that consistently does more with less. The Celtics recent play without Rondo tells that story.
Mike D’Antoni has proven that he has no idea how to instruct his teams on transition defense or rotational defense in the halfcourt. Even with Howard in the middle, this might be one of the worst defensive teams we’ve ever seen out of the Lakers. Wrong coach for this team, but that’s the bed the management and fans made after firing Brown so early in the season with an all All-Star starting 5.
Lakers Suckage: A, Celtics Suckage: D+
DEAD LEADER INSPIRATION:
Red Auerbach left us in 2006. Since then, the Celtics have allowed female dancers at the Garden. Red dislikes this. Jerry Buss died a few days ago, and dated most of the female dancers under age 20 in the LA area. LA fans seem to like this. Before their demise, both men looked exactly the same for the last 50 years of their lives. For recency/suckage inspiration: Lakers Suckage: A, Celtics Suckage: C
The Celtics will sneak into the 6th or 7th seed, win a series if they’re lucky, and get obliterated by Miami. No lottery.
The Lakers might miss the playoffs. If they do get a lottery ball, they will absolutely get the #1 pick. That’s just how they do. (See below.)
Lakers Suckage: D, Celtics Suckage: F
For the team that’s mascot is a lucky leprechaun, the Boston Celtics might be one of the unluckiest teams in NBA history. And yes, that’s with all the banners. Len Bias died, Reggie Lewis died on a basketball court, Tim Duncan went to the Spurs, and they also didn’t land the Oden/Durant ping-pong ball. They just aren’t all that lucky.
Excepting the Chris Paul trade veto from Stern, the Lakers have always gotten everything they’ve ever wanted. Most of this has been shrewd trades by Kupchak, but the Gasol trade still represents one of the most ridiculously lopsided trades in NBA history. And free agents will always want to go either there, Miami, or New York, and that’s pretty much it. Are we really doubting LeBron will want to go there once Kobe needs a walker?
Lakers Suckage: D-, Celtics Suckage: B+
If you’re Boston, your only “keepers” right now are Rondo, Green, Sullinger, and Bradley. For the long term, it’s hard to envision the Celtics filling the void after Pierce and KG. If both those guys play on the 2014 Celtics, they’re a 44 win team and in the “NBA Mediocrity Danger Zone” of being just good enough to be bounced in the 1st round for the next 2 years, but not bad enough get into the lottery. Sustained mediocrity is even worse than 100% suckage in the NBA.
For the Lake Show, does it really matter what the transition plan is after Kobe? Whether Dwight Howard is involved in those plans or not, they’ll find a top 5 free agent eventually, and that guy will be able to score. There’s no doubt they’ll find what they want. (Still, it’s adorable that Lakers fans think that Kobe isn’t just a jump shooter nowadays. After all, he’s a lockdown defender after showing he OWNS LeBron in the final 3 minutes of an exhibition game.)
FINAL SUCKAGE? The Celtics will suck more over the long term. Embedding scorers around Rondo is a huge need, and it remains in doubt whether Ainge can find them. The Lakers will be fine. Hell, if they make the playoffs this year, would you bet against that roster, no matter how dysfunctional they are right now?