Who're you calling a tank job?
Jared Sullinger: "We just want to win and show everybody that they can kiss our butts about that tanking stuff."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) December 2, 2013
But what about Andrew Wiggins? And Jabari Parker? And everyone else? Boston doesn't care:
Sullinger: "Lot of guys expect us to just like tank for Parker or Wiggins. Y’all might as well throw that out the door."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) December 2, 2013
Much ado has been made over tanking in the NBA this season, or Riggin' for Wiggins. Topping the list of the league's most blatant tank jobs were initially the Celtics, who dealt away Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry over the offseason, hired rookie head coach Brad Stevens and ventured into the unknown without Rajon Rondo.
All signs pointed to losing, and lots of it.
Losses haven't piled up the way we thought they would, though. Boston is 7-12 through its first 19 contests, a mere game back of the final playoff spot in the dismal Eastern Conference.
Wait—the playoffs? The Celtics? Something's not right. These Celtics, these Rondo-less, star-less Celtics, cannot be thinking playoffs.
Only they are. Sullinger is already calling Boston's next game against the Milwaukee Bucks a must-win for his team to remain in postseason contention.
"One, they beat us last time and, two, because we need a win to stay in the playoff rankings," Sully said, via ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg. "It’s a must-win for us, I believe."
"Must" and "win" weren't supposed to be uttered successively in Beantown this season. Unless "must" was followed by "lose," there wouldn't be such jibber jabber.
Shame on us, then. Shame on us for not believing general manager Danny Ainge when he told the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn that the Celtics weren't tanking.
Danny Ainge to Globe: "We are not tanking. Thats ridiculous. This is the Boston Celtics." #celtics— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) July 1, 2013
Or, shame on Ainge and the Celtics for piecing together a team that just isn't bad enough. Shame on the Eastern Conference for being so clumsy that tanks jobs have gone awry.
Are the Boston Celtics tanking?
The Celtics aren't tanking. Jared Sullinger says so.
Whether their current state is by design or the result of Ainge neglecting to hit the "send" button after frantically typing a mass-text message, I'll let you decide.