If you want to go that far back, you should do an apples to apples and compare Danny's first 5 years to Pop's, starting in 94 and considering the fact that he inherited a team with a franchise center on it.
Fair enough. Danny started with a Hall of Fame forward, which isn't such a terrible building block. I'd say Popovich's performance compares favorably.
Or you could even start from when Buford took over in 2002.
Not a bad place to start but clearly not a David Robinson in his prime level of player.
Sure. I'll grant that. I think clearly is kind of a stretch, considering Robinson had only won 2 first round series before Pop came along. They'll probably both fall in the 30-50 range of greatest players ever by the time Pierce retires.
Robinson won an MVP and finished top 3 in the voting 4 other times. He was making all nba teams over players like Hakeem and Ewing and Shaq. Did you actually see Robinson play? Because, frankly, I hated him as a player but there's no way he's on the same level as PP.
Yes, I did see Robinson play. Pierce is a first ballot Hall of Famer in his own right and has a laundry list of credentials, but sure, Robinson was better.
Given all that, I still prefer Popovich's run (and definitely Buford's run) to Ainge's.
Starting off with just Paul Pierce on your roster doesn't excuse the Mark Blount contract, the Ricky Davis trade, the Sebastian Telfair trade, at the beginning of his tenure. Starting without a Hall of Fame center doesn't mean you have to acquire guys like Blount, Telfair, and Ricky. Even by 90's-00's Celtics standards, those are three brutal moves that I wouldn't recommend regardless of who you start with.
Ainge's early years have a lot more misses than hits (and some pretty severe misses), David Robinson or not.
Did you catch any of Robinson's prime, or did you just catch the end of his career? The fact that you thought Robinson and PP were fairly similar players is hard to believe. But beyond that, not having a player like Robinson does explain much of what Ainge did. Give him a franchise center just entering his prime and there's no reason to expect him to make the same type of moves than he did with the roster that he had. As for Pop, if he hadn't won the Duncan lottery he'd never be known as a superstar coach or gm.
I caught his prime. Did you catch Pierce's prime (which Ainge squandered part)? Robinson was better, which I have agreed with more than a few times, so you are arguing with yourself on that point. Pierce was a fine building block too, in fact, he is still here, and headed for the Hall of Fame. Still, Robinson barely won in the playoffs before Pop and went to the Conference Finals immediately as Pop stepped in as GM, if we measure players, teams, and execs by playoff success.
Yes, I saw Pierce's prime. I just missed the part where he was fairly comparable to Robinson, which was your original assertion.
Regardless, I disagree with the assertion that lacking a franchise center forces someone to trade for Sebastian Telfair or sign Mark Blount to a monster extension. Making your team worse because you lack a franchise center defies all logic. Even the most green tinted glasses, which you seem to be sporting, would have to see that this was a bad move for the roster that he had (or the roster that anyone had).
First of all, while the Blount signing was a mistake, he didn't sign a "monster contract", he signed the same MLE contract that other teams were offering him. But it's pretty silly to claim that the fact that the Celts not having a franchise level big man didn't figure into the moves Danny was making. Unless you have a Jordan or a James it's very hard to win without one, and the bulk of the mistakes gm's make are in the pursuit of big men when they don't have one.
I didn't claim that not having a franchise caliber big man didn't factor into Danny's moves or any other GMs. I think it is silly to put words into people's mouths and then argue those words.
I'm not sure where you're going with this. You think that not having a franchise big man factored into Danny's moves, but not the Blount signing? You're assuming that having a center like DRob wouldn't have affected how strongly Danny pursued another center?
David Robinson or no David Robinson, Telfair, Davis, Blount were all terrible moves.
Blount was a terrible move. Davis was a reasonable risk that didn't pan out. Telfair was a good trade.
Regardless, this could go on forever. When comparing the two crganizations, what do you personally feel the Celtics do better and what do you feel the Spurs do better? Cap management, drafting, international scouting, coaching, etc....? Touting our recent playoff success and their lack thereof, why is that? What organizational flaws do you see in San Antonio or in Boston? Less snark and more analytical thinking would be fun.
Ainge inherited a team that was basically Pierce and flotsam and cap problems and turned that into a title team in 5 years with his only top 10 draft picks being a 5 and a 7. That's fairly unheard of in the nba and, in terms of accomplishments, pretty much dwarfs what's happened in SA. Where would the Spurs be if they'd lost the DRob and Duncan lotteries? Nowhere. Where would Pop be if they hadn't landed TD in the lottery? Somebody's assistant coach.
Not having a franchise center doesn't mean you have to sign a horrible center to a terrible contract. Leaving that spot open would've been wiser. Signing Mark Blount didn't advance the goal of getting a franchise big man. If the logic was: I don't have a franchise center so I have to give a backup center a $41 million contract, I fail to see how that advances any goals.
I'm still not clear on whether you're claiming he'd still have gone after Blount if he had Robinson on his team.
The Telfair trade was by no means a good trade.
Sure it was.
You seem to forget Danny being saved from himself multiple times. Where would Danny be if Philly had accepted his Iverson trade offer? Where would Danny be if Minnesota and Seattle both didn't happen to have Hall of Famers available in the same year? Where would Danny be if Shawn Marion had wanted to play in Boston? Probably a TNT analyst, maybe along with Doc.
You're taking whatever Iverson and Marion rumors that you heard and treating them like facts. Garnett being on the market was hardly a surprise, maybe he'd get Gasol instead of Ray and a KG/Gasol/PP/Rondo team does just as well.
I'm saying that operating knowing that you don't have Robinson is no reason to acquire Blount (or Telfair or Davis). That should be clear.
So, while you correctly point out that the Blount deal wasn't a good one, you don't disagree with the claim
"not having a player like Robinson does explain much of what Ainge did. Give him a franchise center just entering his prime and there's no reason to expect him to make the same type of moves than he did with the roster that he had"
that you've been arguing against for quite a while.
The Telfair trade was a bad trade. That should also be clear.
No, it flipped Raef for Theo, who's expiring (insured) contract was essential to our trading for KG. That should be clear.
KG wasn't coming to Boston until we acquired Ray Allen. That is pretty well documented. Minnesota also could've kept him for another year or traded him a year prior or traded him to another team. No rule was made that ordained him for Boston in the year 2008. The Big 3 needed a tremendous amount of fortune to come together.
Danny ending up with KG and Ray was the result of our bad luck, not great fortune. Good luck would have seen us end up with Durant and still trade for KG. Everyone thought he was screwed when he lost the lottery. Nobody was claiming he was on the verge of putting together a champion. What you're claiming is that there are worst case scenarios in which the Celts would have been in trouble, and that's based on Danny standing pat if he couldn't get KG or Ray.
The Blount move was bad under any possible roster construction in any possible scenario under any possible GM with any possible roster under any possible circumstance.
There are ways to take on an additional year of $10 million worth of salary than giving away the #7 pick in the draft. Teams are typically willing to give assets away to teams that take on additional salary, not the other way around. That should be clear. You really think the only way to take on an additional year of $10 million in salary was to trade the #7 pick for Sebastian Telfair? You must not follow NBA transactions at all.
KG wasn't coming to Boston unless we acquired Ray Allen (no guarantee he was coming to play with a rookie Durant, KG had no idea how good Durant would be). That is pretty well documented. And once again, Minnesota also could've kept him for another year or traded him a year prior or traded him to another team. That is far from a worse case scenario, us leaving that offseason without KG or Durant was the most likely scenario.
Anyway, I guess we'll just agree to disagree, as talking to someone who defends the merits of the Sebastian Telfair trade and thinks Popovich would be an assistant coach without having Duncan is pretty much where I punch out of the conversation. Parting note - Danny always wanted Chris Paul. It is known. Happy holidays.