Bill Burt: C's draft day move was betting on Tatum-Brown

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Bill Burt, The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.
·3 min read
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Mar. 26—Boston Celtics fans wanted blood on the NBA Trade Deadline.

Instead they got low-fat cottage cheese.

Celtics president Danny Ainge who is making Bill Belichick look like a Texas Hold 'Em dealer when it comes to adding able bodies, didn't touch the needle when it came to "Championship Driven."

The Celtics were 40-to-1 before the Trade Deadline. They were 40-to-1 after their two, teeny-weenie deals.

Fact: The Celtics filled a need yesterday. They got a sharp-shooter/instant offense off the bench with the addition of Evan Fournier from the Orlando Magic for two second round picks.

The Celtics have been disjointed when either Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown aren't playing. Kemba Walker's injury and inconsistent play hasn't helped matters.

But Fournier wasn't the answer, at least when it came to the ire of the unhappy fandom. The Celtics also sent Daniel Theis to the Bulls for Mo Wagner, a move that is little more than a luxury tax-motivated minor downgrade.

There's a negative cloud following this team, which owned this region three and four years ago when Tatum and Brown were about 20.

Marcus Smart is the easy target. He has improved his shooting and is intent on proving to us that he is a 20-point scorer.

And he's not and probably never will be.

Celtics fans want the old Marcus back, who lived and died on the defensive end, and made clutch plays, which sometimes included shots, even 3-pointers.

Marcus could've brought somebody decent, but nobody who could make the Celtics fans think, "Wow, we can compete for a championship."

Trading Marcus on Thursday would've been trading Marcus for the wrong reason, as in blaming him for the malaise.

Marcus is a Celtic as much as anyone. He's just going through a phase and identity crisis. Keeping him probably included a meeting with the Celtics leaders, including head coach Brad Stevens and Ainge.

Which brings us to Tatum and Brown.

The biggest news from the trade deadline was Ainge's belief in Tatum and Brown as Batman and Robin.

I get the sentiment that something needed to be done, but Tatum turned 23 three weeks ago. Brown is only 24 and has taken his game up two levels in two years.

When Larry Bird was 24 he had led a nothing-school Indiana State to the national championship game and two years later led the Celtics to an NBA championship.

Larry is one of the top five players in the history of the sport. It's not fair comparing anybody to this maniac competitor.

The key for the Celtics is that they have two players on the verge of greatness.

They are not ready for a championship run. But they might be closer than we think.

Remember one of the great sports quotes from former NFL coach Buddy Ryan:

"If you listen to the fans, you'll be sitting up there with them."

The Celtics are having another bad year. But they might be closer than you think after a "cottage cheese" trade.

You can email Bill Burt at bburt@eagletribune.com.