Peter May’s Flip Flop

Can a journalist feel strongly about something one day, and then a few days later write about the very same thing in an entirely different light due to personal prejudices? Apparently so.

On Monday, Peter May wrote a glowing article about high school prospect Gerald Green, whom he painted as a can’t miss prospect, and one of the top talents in the draft. Today, two days after the Boston Celtics selected that very same Gerald Green, May is posturing that the selection was a blunder and not what the Celtics should have done at all.

(Thanks to Jeff for extracting these comparisons)

May on Monday (pre-draft):

This high school class is not judged by NBA personnel people to be as deep as last year’s, from which eight prepsters were taken in the first 19 picks, the Celtics’ Al Jefferson among them. But there is little doubt that Green, a 6-foot-8-inch, out-of-the-gym leaper, is the cream of this crop. He could go as high as No. 3 — the Lakers, who own pick No. 10, lust after him and are trying to trade up — and should fall no lower than eighth under even the most bizarre draft night scenarios.

May on Thursday (post-draft):

Here’s my take on Gerald Green: He may be the next Tracy McGrady — although Chris Wallace thinks he’s closer to Rashard Lewis — but the last thing the Celtics needed in this draft was a high school kid. That’s three in three years since Danny Ainge took over, and while everyone has Al Jefferson penciled in for Springfield, remember that he didn’t even play 15 minutes a game last season.

How can a player that May himself said should go as high as 3rd and no lower than 8th in the draft, be “the last thing the Celtics needed”? How can that be?

May on Monday:

In one 72-hour stretch, he worked out for the Jazz, the Trail Blazers, and the Raptors. He also has worked out for the Hornets, Knicks, and Bobcats, and the reaction appears to be universal: Wow! “He’s by far the best athlete we’ve had in here,” said Charlotte Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff. “And he’s an athlete with skills.” New Orleans coach Byron Scott gushed, “athleticism-wise, he’s off the charts.” Celtics personnel director Leo Papile said, simply, “He’s one of those young super men, able to leap tall buildings.”

May on Thursday:

The sexy upside always seems to prevail in these circumstances, and he could be a really good player in a few years. What’s unfathomable is all the other teams passed on him — and why. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was enthralled by the kid. No dice. The Raptors, who desperately need athleticism (see Rose, Jalen), passed on him twice. And they’re not exactly on the cusp of a title.

So Monday, May had no problem telling us the gushing that NBA people were doing on the physical gifts in Green. In fact, it’s a universal WOW. Now, today, with Green property of the Celtics, the enthusiasm is tempered considerably. His comment about the “sexy upside” seems almost sarcastic, and seems to hint that there MUST be a hidden downside reason why all these teams passed on him.

May on Monday:

At the Reebok ABCD Camp, he collected MVP honors. He also was playing AAU ball by then for the Houston Elite. Then he went back to Gulf Shores as a fifth-year high schooler (he’ll turn 20 Jan. 26) and averaged 33 points a game. He was a McDonald’s All-Star Game MVP, winning the event’s Slam Dunk title as well, and had a stellar performance in the Roundball Classic.

May on Thursday:

It’s impossible to understate the need for grown-ups on this team. With the drafting of Green, the Celtics are, well, incredibly green. They have nine players on their roster with no more than two years’ experience. (That includes both second-round picks from Tuesday’s draft.) You can promise excitement with youth. You can promise entertainment with youth. You can promise direction and, well, promise with youth. But in the NBA, you need more than that if you actually want to, you know, win. If that wasn’t the case, the Clippers would have won about eight NBA titles by now. The Clippers (and the Hawks before them) were always the best NBA team in warmups. But when the game started, it was clueless chaos.

Monday May was reciting the accomplishments of this young player at his age. Thursday, Green is not a grown up, and the Celtics are compared to the Clippers, the implication being that with all these young players, the Celtics are going to be nothing more than “clueless chaos” on the floor this season. That’s the message, right? Why else make that comparison?

However, IN THIS SAME ARTICLE, May suggests some trades of Paul Pierce, deals that he says are good because they will give the Celtics more draft picks! I thought the team was too young? Needed experienced veterans? Trade your best veteran and get some fluff and some picks…right. Makes sense to me.

May on Monday:

Green’s game has been compared to that of Tracy McGrady, himself a high schooler who went directly to the NBA and developed into an All-Star. Wallace sees Green more along the lines of another Houston area prep-to-pro player.
“He’s more in the Rashard Lewis mode,” Wallace said. “Gerald is more explosive and quick than Tracy was. But Tracy was more gifted at that age and had more of an upside. [Green] is not Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, or TMac. But he’s very, very intriguing.”

May on Thursday:

The Celtics have a chance to be decent, but the arrival of Gerald Green isn’t going to make any serious fan clear out vacation time next May and June for a deep run in the playoffs. They need to reconfigure and they need to do it before they all report to training camp in October.

May is acting here like there is a need and urgency around this area that the Celtics need to win NOW. The slant seems to be that fans are not intelligent enough to recognize that this talent is going to need time to mature, and could very well pay HUGE dividends in the future.

We also see clearly from this contrast that May has allowed his dislike for Danny Ainge and the Celtics organization to cloud his writing to the point that he could almost completely change his view on something in the course of three days. He’s clearly an eager student at the Ron Borges Institute of Journalism, (Classes held on Morrissey Blvd) where personal agendas come ahead of any sort of credibility.

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