On more than one occasion, Ainge has promised us the Celtics aren't tanking. They are, as he said, per The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn, the Boston Celtics.
So clearly they're tanking. I mean, you can't just play the 6'9" Jeff Green at shooting guard and fail to acquire a legitimate center and expect no one to notice. Except Wallace, that is.
Following the Celtics' 104-89 preseason loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Crash ripped his team a new one.
"We’re not playing with effort,” Wallace said afterward, per the Boston Globe's Baxter Holmes. "Guys are out there being selfish. The opponent is giving it their all, regardless of how the night is going."
Green shared Wallace's frustrations, too.
“They just wanted it more than us, plain and simple," he admitted, via the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett. "We can’t allow teams to play harder than us. ... I think today we took some steps back in our progress. We can’t come into this thinking just because it’s preseason we can half-(expletive) it."
Head coach Brad Stevens expressed concern over his troops' performance as well.
"I thought we competed again until a certain point, and then we’re not playing well enough,” he explained, per Bulpett.
"Whatever the case may be, we’ve all got to look introspectively and figure it out," he added.
Through seven preseason games, the Celtics are 1-6. Or, as the makeup of their roster suggests, right on schedule.
Still, I can understand Crash's anger. Just because Boston's built to lose doesn't mean it has to play selfish and lethargic basketball. Leave that to the playground warriors who prefer to drink soda instead of water or Gatorade during timeouts.
Unless, of course, Ainge sent out an office memo we didn't know about, telling MarShon Brooks to give it the ol' heave-ho without passing. But I don't think he did, because the Celtics aren't tanking (wink, wink).
Effort should never be an issue for any team, though, even if it is tanking. Not at the NBA level, when even bad teams' players are paid handsomely for their services.
"They just wanted it more" isn't an acceptable excuse. If Kobe Bryant were on the Celtics (breathe, Los Angeles Lakers fans, he isn't), such a transgression would be punishable by death stares followed by the Mamba's cameo on Modern Family played on a loop.
"When we step out on the basketball court, we get paid to do this," Green said, via Bulpett. "We’re professionals. Our main thing is you should want to go out every night and win."
Lazy basketball just can't happen. These are the Boston Celtics for crying out loud. They're not built to win, but they're paid to try.