Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Rebuilding year

The Boston Celtics have traded away their two best players and their coach.  The unofficial word is that the upcoming season, 13-14 will be a rebuilding year. There has been some talk that what the Celtics should do is "tank" this season. To "tank" in this context means to deliberately lose in order to gain a high draft choice following the season.  In an attempt to assist losing teams, the league allows the worst teams to select first when drafting college and other non professional players onto their teams.

The concept of a rebuilding year has, always--as far back as I can remember--been one that made little sense to me.  The idea of "tanking" makes NO sense and I would argue is worthy of some punishment.

Tanking violates the foundation of all sports. That is, fans expect that both teams are attempting to win and working as hard as they can to win every time they play.  Whenever a spectator begins to believe that teams are not trying as hard as they can, then the sport ceases to be a sport and fans would lose interest. Sure, there are professional wrestling fans, but they are of a different ilk. They watch for the show.  Sports fans like the show, but they want their teams to win.  So, tanking is wrong in that it undermines the game.  On a practical level--that is even if you were considering tanking to get a top draft choice-- tanking is indefensible.  There is no guarantee that tanking will result in getting a player you need to change the direction of the franchise. The Celtics, fifteen years or so ago, tanked a season in the hopes of getting the best player available, Tim Duncan.  Because of a nuance in the drafting procedure, the Celtics had the worst record, but could not draft Duncan.  Even when you get the player you want, there is no guarantee of success with that player.  While Duncan turned out to be great, there are lots of stories of "can't miss" players who are drafted and are unsuccessful in the professional game.

The idea of having a rebuilding year makes a little more sense, but not much.  Why is the 14-15 season a more desirable season for a championship run, than the 13-14 season?  One could argue reasonably that there are times when the luck of the draw is such that you just dont have the horses to compete in one year as opposed to another.  However, when you plan to dump your players as opposed to either keeping your stars or trading them for other stars, you are essentially saying that a year down the road is better than the one coming up.  Garnett and Pierce are long in the tooth.  How did the Celtics get to a time when their stars were long in the tooth without some talent being groomed to replace them?  When it came time to trade the stars, why not trade the two of them for one stud, who in combination with others could make the Celtics contenders.

Taking the concept of rebuilding beyond the world of sports, is any one day more precious than another?  Yes, there are times when we are fragile and need to build up our strength/self-concept to enjoy life to its fullest. But this day, here, July 3, is probably as precious as say July 5 or August 17th or any day.   Sure, you might want to diet for a couple of weeks in April so that you don't look flabby in a suit in May, and you might want to save some shekels for a vacation thus rebuilding your assets to enjoy some greater time later on.  But, in general, I think there is a tendency--and maybe I am speaking just for myself--of not acknowledging the potential in the here and now, and each day putting off the opportunity for success because you imagine in the future a day that will never come because when it does, there will always be another future date looming, illusorily, looking like a better time.

No comments:

Post a Comment