×

Draft picks won’t be Celtics’ salvation

Alan Greenwood

Appearing all too quickly on the Celtics’ front door:

Welcome to Sacramento Kings East!

Their histories are polar opposites: The Kings’ won their only NBA championship in 1951, as the Rochester Royals. They went from Rochester to Cincinnati to Kansas City and, finally, to beautiful downtown

Sacramento.

Along the way, the Kings occasionally make the playoffs, enjoying a brief visit with the NBA’s contenders, then slipping back to the bus reserved for clubs who find cause to celebrate 41-win seasons.

Now the greatest franchise in NBA history is poised to see its timeline droop dangerously close to intersecting with long-term mediocrity. Its best player is gone, and regardless of Kyrie Irving’s bargain basement brand of common sense, he offered them 20-plus points per game, a go-to scorer for a club that has no one to assume that

responsibility.

Now Al Horford has one foot and five toes out the door. No one has ever offered anything but praise for the venerable center. His career may be nearing the exit ramp, but his absence on the floor and in the locker room will be

conspicuous.

As for those three first-round picks the Celtics have in Thursday night’s NBA Draft, their value has diminished with time – not that they were ever gold plated. Nos. 14, 20 and 22 typically face long odds for blossoming into impact players. Gurus claim this year’s draft is top heavy, meaning by the time the lottery teams are finished shopping, the remaining players are even more marginal.

So, when encountering someone who insists that the Celtics, as constituted, are a championship contender, respond with smiles, head nods, and something to quickly change the subject.

TIME TRAVEL: June 20, 1974 – “The Nashua Chiefs demolished the Tewksbury Redmen yesterday 10-3 behind the one-hit and 12-strikeout performance of ace hurler Bob Lajoie.

“Lajoie was superb in the contest as he continuously baffled the Tewksbury nine with a variety of fastballs and sharp-breaking curves. It wasn’t until the final inning with two out that Tewksbury third baseman Paul Prince broke up Lajoie’s no-hit bid with an infield single.”

Ouch – one out away and crushed by an infield hit.

It could be worse. Remember when Mike Mussina had a perfect game going at Fenway on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2001, only to have it ruined by Carl Everett’s piddly bloop single to left?

Who wants Carl Everett in the back of his mind for life?

AND FINALLY: As always, no team generates more hyperbole than the Red Sox. Listening to sports radio after Monday night’s game, the yapper in question gushed about a majestic triumph it was for Ye Olde Towne Team.

Rick Porcello pitched a fine game against the Minnesota Twins, earning a 2-0 decision that certainly qualifies as a significant outing for Porcello.

But there are no big games in June. There aren’t even any moderately large games in June.

And one night later the Red Sox managed three runs in 17 innings, their bullpen blowing two leads in losing to the Twins.

One pretty much cancels out the other. By Labor Day neither should take up space in anyone’s memory bank.

Alan Greenwood can be reached at 594-1248, agreenwood@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_ Alan.