As a long time Celtic true believer (my Big 3 was JoJo, Hondo and Cowens) I really wanted to see Marcus, Rob, and Grant win the championsip alongside with the Jays - the Celtics have always been about continuity and chemistry. My gut (Kareem's Substack has a great take on head vs heart decisions) did not like this deal or the Porzingas trade. But after reading today's column, the logic is there. Analytics over intangibles - and the intangibles ain't so bad either. Jrue fits the Celtic Mystique, a solid professional, team player,and a leader. Porzingas doesn't have the CV of a winner but he is still a unicorn and technically a better player now than when he was lighting it up in New York.

I was worried about the bench and the draft picks, especially since Smart and the Williams were elite and highly switchable players. Brisset, Gabriel, Stevens, Queers, Svi, Banton and Walsh aren't splashy pickups but they are a nice group to add to the reserves. Good Job Brad! (I'm still mad about IT, Crowder, and Bane getting away but that's on Trader Dan).

Hope the NBA GMs aren't as high school as the players (and owners). Joe Cronin did a good job for the Blazers - and Jrue and Dame ended up in pretty good situations. If he flips Brogdon to the Clippers for Terrance Mann and draft assets he might not get booted on Dame Day

After all of the Portland-helps-the-East has anybody checked on Buddy Hield? You ok, Bud? Miami could still use a quality guard.

Expand full comment

Conncerns about Porzingis' fit and health are certainly reasonable, but as much as losing Smart hurts, Jrue is a flat-out upgrade in literally everything, including leadership.

There are no guarantees in this league, and if the Celtics flame out in the ECF again, I'm sure fans would rather have just run it back and tried again with their favorites. But Brad Stevens is nothing if not calculated. At this point, we know the Celtics floor is extremely high regardless of who is around Tatum/Brown, but Stevens felt the ceiling needed a lift. Running it back may have been safer, but I believe the summer has led to an increased chance of winning the championship -- even if they aren't an overwhelming favorite.

And I agree, the depth certainly isn't splashy, but they'll be fine. I bet the C's make another mid-sized move before the trade deadline, too, after they have a better idea of where their weaknesses are.

And yep, I think Cronin has done a good job maximizing Lillard's situation. The road here was bumpy, but Scoot + a bunch of interesting young guys + a bunch of down-the-road draft paints a pretty clear roadmap for success, if Scoot becomes what he's supposed to be.

I have no idea about Hield. I'm higher on him than most, but I totally understand why teams would be worried about his defense in the playoffs, which makes it hard to gauge how he'd be valued.

I didn't mention this in the article, but I meant to: the Hield talk has me wondering about a different guy. I'm dying to see where Reggie Bullock ends up as a legitimate 3-and-D player, even if he's slipped from his peak.

And as always, thanks for reading, liking, and commenting! That stuff is A) fun, and B) helps with The Algorithms. So thanks to you and everyone who turns this into a three-dimensional chat instead of a monologue.

Expand full comment