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Celtics Appear Headed for Tankapalooza II As Hope For Love Fades

Ainge

Tankapalooza has become the biggest flop since Bobby Valentine. But get ready for a sequel.

Once upon a time, the 2014 NBA Draft was being hyped as the basketball equivalent of New Coke in 1985 or Coke "Life" in 2014. Then some of these players actually arrived in college and began playing. All-universe became all-world. That quickly faded back to McDonald's All-American. This draft - surprise! - will not be the cure-all for any team, even those burdened with the No. 1 or No. 2 pick. All you ticket-buying fans in Boston, Milwaukee, Orlando, Cleveland, and elsewhere were played for suckers.

Hope. Gets 'em every time.

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For the Boston Celtics, the next ping pong ball fell during the NBA lottery, which continues to vex the team. The Celtics have had lots of luck during the lottery throughout their history, all of it bad.

Boston landed at No. 6. Perhaps a year ago, given the "prospects" for this year's incoming NBA class, sixth may have seemed like a good place to be. But in the reality of June 2014 and with the draft six days away, the No. 6 pick has become no-man's land.

When the spring of (Kevin) Love surfaced a few weeks ago, the Celtics and Danny Ainge found themselves facing the possibility of brilliance. Here was the payoff at the end of the long and meandering road that was last season. Love came to Boston a few weekends ago and seemingly fell in love with the city, which loved him back equally. There was the requisite party with Gronk. The visit to the touristy watering holes. The random fan photos on Newbury Street. The Fenway Park handshake with Rajon Rondo. The Red Sox game. The David Ortiz tweet.

The Celtics, it was believed, should/would happily deal as many draft picks and players as possible to bring Love here. It got even better/worse when the airwaves were full of Carmelo Anthony talk. For a couple of days, the Celtics were both relevant and poised to be on the verge of offering a team that might win 55 games next season.

The Kevin Love jerseys were on back-order in the minds of Celtics fans. Soon, that weekend buzz wore off and it became evident that the Celtics really didn't have much to offer the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door in Minnesota to hand the Celtics another championship. He's in Houston.

The latest has Love headed to Golden State and all that West Coast vibe in the Bay Area. Turns out Klay Thompson and David Lee may prove to be the tipping point in denying the Celtics the opportunity to land Love and making next season watchable.

Trumped by Klay Thompson and David Lee. That's how far the Celtics have truly fallen. It seems unreal to think that Boston is the last team in the Eastern Conference to defeat LeBron James in a playoff series -- and that that was the Celtics four years ago.

Danny, a lonely Celtics Nation turns its eyes to you and says, "We're screwed."

Reports on Friday that the team would consider dealing Rondo and/or Jeff Green if the Love deal doesn't happen will only accelerate production on "Tankapalooza II - The Sequel"

0-82? Maybe not, but 21-61 wouldn't be so bad.

Thursday, the latest "hope for the Celtics" being peddled was news that seven-foot Kansas center Joel Embiid needs foot surgery. This is good for Boston. Embiid had been considered a solid No. 1 pick my many of the prognosticators. Not anymore. Now, the best hope for the Celtics could be trading up to draft a seven-foot-tall center coming off foot surgery with chronic back issues at the ripe old age of 20.

Embiid is the NBA's most recent "real deal big man." He's been likened to Hakeem Olajuwon for his touch and footwork and he told USA TODAY Sports, "I want to be a Hall of Famer."

Even if Danny Ainge pulls off that deal and Embiid is not hobbled by his foot or back issues, big men in the draft are not the surest of things. Greg Oden, Kwame Brown, and Sam Bowie all come to mind.

Bill Walton came to Boston with a laundry list of ailments and injuries and helped the Celtics win a title in 1986. Of course, he came off the bench for Robert Parish and had the luxury of playing with Larry Bird and McHale, among others.

None of those guys, nor their modern-day equivalents, will be walking through any doors for Ainge this time.

Without a proven veteran like Love, the Celtics appear headed for another Tankapalooza.

Except this time, it might not be by necessity and not design.

The OBF column is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros. Hit him up on his Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or at his
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. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.


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