Welcome Sam I Am; Now Behave
With the possible exception of Bob Ryan, there is no bigger member of the Sam Cassell fan club than yours truly. He has been a stone-cold killer since his days at Florida State, and if not for having most of his run in some of the NBA’s dreariest outposts (Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Jersey, the Clippers) Cassell would be thought of as an all-timer.
Now, he is an official member of your Boston Celtics after twisting in the Clipper wind all winter. This is nothing but a good thing. You don’t get worse by adding good players, especially when said player fills a need.
But that doesn’t mean this can’t get complicated.
For starters, Rajon Rondo is, well, the starter. Rondo has been nothing short of a revelation this year and he can do things defensively that Cassell can only dream about. He is also getting more and more confident on the offensive side. The number of guards who can stay in front of him number in the single digits. Doc Rivers went out of his way to say that Rondo is now, and always will be, the starting point guard.
OK, but what happens when Sammy hits a couple of 3’s against the Pistons? What happens if he and KG try to re-create their Minnesota experience? What happens to Eddie House?
There has always been a bit of a circus sideshow with Sam I Am. He looks vaguely like an alien and his signature move (the ‘I have big balls’ pantomime whenever he makes a big shot, which is often) is a little much. But Cassell is smart and he is fearless. He says he knows what he’s getting into with the Celtics, who also added good-guy and locker room sage P.J. Brown last week, and you have to take him at his word.
Danny Ainge has done a brilliant job building this team. The big trades were master strokes, obviously, but he has carefully added veterans who all fit the grand scheme. That is easier said than done (see: Bulls, Chicago). This might be the one that puts them over the top in the East, and thus is a chance well worth taking.