NBA Finals: Celtics vs Mavs

Who wins?

  • Celtics in 4

    Votes: 22 5.0%
  • Celtics in 5

    Votes: 120 27.3%
  • Celtics in 6

    Votes: 222 50.6%
  • Celtics in 7

    Votes: 52 11.8%
  • Mavs in 4-5

    Votes: 3 0.7%
  • Mavs in 6-7

    Votes: 20 4.6%

  • Total voters
    439
  • Poll closed .

Euclis20

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 3, 2004
8,835
Imaginationland
Horford, Pritchard and Hauser played just 28, 12 and 10 minutes in game 2. If Luka isn't going to cook these guys 1v1 and we start from the assumption that Horford is gonna have to play 40 minutes (with Tatum as the only big man for the other 8 minutes, what Aaron Gordon was able to do last year), I think it's reasonable to give the remaining 15 or so KP minutes to Hauser/Pritchard and maintain the 5 out spacing. I worry what this does to Tatum, who is already struggling with his shot and driving to the basket more than he has all year. The best of bad options, I think.
 

Ed Hillel

Wants to be startin somethin
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2007
45,933
Here
Just to follow up in this thread...

KP actually injured his LEFT leg in the third, played pretty well though with a minor hitch in the third early 4th, then turned his RIGHT ANKLE in the 4th and had to come out. I think that gives some room for optimism.

Injury on report:
View: https://twitter.com/tonymassarotti/status/1800604334763201019?s=46&t=11SXTvIYT-tl8b6e7iEUVQ


4th Q (watch video, ignore Tweet):
View: https://twitter.com/gameinjurydoc/status/1799989005771325758?s=46&t=11SXTvIYT-tl8b6e7iEUVQ
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
13,522
In this series:
  • 44 minutes w/KP, Celtics are +25
  • 52 minutes without KP, Celtics are even
But if you take out the 5 minutes of game 1 garbage time, Celtics are +7 in 47 minutes without KP

Not enough minutes to matter.

Options without KP:
  • Al is averaging 29 minutes per game, he can take a few more
  • With Al on the bench, Kornet and Tillman can play, but neither is a 5-out player. The Celtics could go small (Tatum at 5), but that would mean more min utes to Hauser, who has sucked for much of the playoffs, or Pritchard in 3 guard lineups.
I think they need to prioritize defense and therefore go with Tillman as the main guy and others playing situationally.
I'm pretty confident they'd play Kornet before Tillman. They'd just have Luke roam off a weak shooter, and he's better offensively than Tillman, because he can space vertically.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
50,316
Kornet is totally playable.
This, though he definitely showed some leakiness during the Indiana series.

My guess is that Mazzulla has a plan but will adjust quickly. Joe isn't going to let Tillman choke Boston's offensive flow (and his D which is usually great hasn't been as much since arriving in Boston) and he won't let Kornet get totally flambe'd if its apparent it isn't working.

It almost certainly won't involve Queta just to get that out of the way.
 

m0ckduck

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
2,010
Tillman imo is unplayable in this series. Allowing Luka to hide on D changes the entire trajectory of the series. If KP can't go, it will be probably be Hauser/PP eating most of his minutes, with Tatum shifting to the 5. It will make them more susceptible to Gafford posting up, but it's a real question whether Luka/Kyrie have the patience to do that consistently anyway. They gotta hit their 50+ shot quota.
Agree 100%. Tillman is unplayable in this series, Kornet is virtually unplayable outside of maybe 5 min. Celtics have to keep up the strategy of exhausting Luka by making him play D, giving him nowhere to hide, beating him at the point of attack constantly to set up the rest of the 5-out offense. The moment we play either of those guys, Luka camps out under the basket, catches his breath and our spacing is messed up. We might be able to put him in a few P-n-R situations that lead to Kornet dunks (like the bizarro version of Tatum covering Lively) but that's the only upside on offense and it ain't much.
 

Euclis20

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 3, 2004
8,835
Imaginationland
Yeah Kornet is definitely the guy who gets first crack at it (assuming they don't just try to disburse the minutes amongst guys already seeing time). It completely destroys the 5 out spacing, but defensively he probably gives you 80% of what KP did (and Kornet is easily the 2nd best rim protector on the team), and offensively at least he knows how to play with the rest of the group (if only because he's played twice as many minutes with Boston regular season and playoffs as Tillman and Brissett combined over the last two years). Assuming he's healthy, I imagine he's the guy off the bench.
 

Leon Trotsky

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
2,846
Boston, MA
Isn't JT playing the 5 a lot anyway, and also now playing nearly the entire game? Seems like they would be fine without KP if they have to be, and just go with Hauser with Al on the bench.
 

the moops

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 19, 2016
5,085
Saint Paul, MN
Horford played 40 minutes twice in the Indy series. I think BOS can manage the other 8 minutes with Luke or even go small with Tatum at the 5 if necessary
 

slamminsammya

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
10,343
San Francisco
Kornets issues defensively against Indiana were largely related to playing against Myles Turner who can shoot. The Mavs don’t have that guy. Offensively he hurts our spacing but if he’s the guy setting the ball screens I don’t think it matters too much for a few minutes here and there.

Saying he is unplayable is a ridiculous statement IMO.
 

kfoss99

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2009
1,576
Let's say Porzingis doesn't or can't play. Horford played 40, 35, 25, and 40 minutes in the Pacers series. So, if he can give you 35 - 40 minutes. you need to find 8 to 12 minutes for Porzingis' replacement. Let's say Tatum takes half of that playing center, can't Kornet safely play 4 to 6 minutes?

Somewhere here was a clip of Kornet shooting a three in practice. His rim protecting for the lob should be fine.

I'd be much more worried if the first two game were tight. The team has a lot of experience playing without Porzingis. They're well coached and execute well. I think they will be fine.

Also, as we saw in the Pacers' series, Mazzulla is really good at using his bench situationally.
 

Manzivino

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
7,577
MA
Agree 100%. Tillman is unplayable in this series, Kornet is virtually unplayable outside of maybe 5 min. Celtics have to keep up the strategy of exhausting Luka by making him play D, giving him nowhere to hide, beating him at the point of attack constantly to set up the rest of the 5-out offense. The moment we play either of those guys, Luka camps out under the basket, catches his breath and our spacing is messed up. We might be able to put him in a few P-n-R situations that lead to Kornet dunks (like the bizarro version of Tatum covering Lively) but that's the only upside on offense and it ain't much.
Luka's not playing 48 a night, worst case scenario you can steal a few Kornet minutes while he's on the bench. Personally I think if KP is out, they'll plan to run Al up into the high 30s that he was playing for most of the non-blowouts the last two rounds, play Kornet until he shows it's not a viable option, and hit enough 3s early that the 4th quarter minutes are irrelevant.
 

m0ckduck

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
2,010
Kornets issues defensively against Indiana were largely related to playing against Myles Turner who can shoot. The Mavs don’t have that guy. Offensively he hurts our spacing but if he’s the guy setting the ball screens I don’t think it matters too much for a few minutes here and there.

Saying he is unplayable is a ridiculous statement IMO.
I feel you're somewhat missing the point that allowing Luka to camp out in the paint is what enabled the Dallas D to function as an above-average unit through the playoffs until the Finals. Timpf put it perfectly in his G2 breakdown: Dallas HAS good perimeter defenders... what they lack is DEPTH of perimeter defenders. When you make the entire defense respect 5 guys who can shoot, you wind up with situations where they crumble at the point of attack b/c Luka is trying to guard one of the Jays in space. If you give him a chance to camp out under the hoop on Kornet, you get into a situation more similar to what the T-Wolves faced (granted, we still have better offense than MIN, but the situation becomes more similar).

If Luka is on Kornet and Kornet sets a high screen, Luka will just drop off Kornet, both defenders follow the ball and it basically blows up the action.

Disclaimer: I'm not against trying it for a few minutes (edit: especially in the non-Luka min, as others have said) but I think it will really hamper the gameplan that's been so successful in any considerable dosages.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
21,105
Santa Monica
I feel you're somewhat missing the point that allowing Luka to camp out in the paint is what enabled the Dallas D to function as an above-average unit through the playoffs until the Finals. Timpf put it perfectly in his G2 breakdown: Dallas HAS good perimeter defenders... what they lack is depth of perimeter defenders. When you make their team defend the entire court, you wind up with situations where they crumble at the point of attack b/c Luka is trying to guard one of the Jays in space. If you give him a chance to camp out under the hoop on Kornet, you get into a situation more similar to what the T-Wolves faced (granted, we still have better offense than MIN, but the situation becomes more similar).

If Luka is on Kornet and Kornet sets a high screen, Luka will just drop off Kornet, both defenders follow the ball and it basically blows up the action.

Disclaimer: I'm not against trying it for a few minutes (edit: especially in the non-Luka min, as others have said) but I think it will really hamper the gameplan that's been so successful in any considerable dosages.
Dallas' bench unit will have to be incredibly diligent to take advantage of Luke's short bench minutes.

I believe that's much different than the Wolves playing Gobert big minutes against Dallas starters
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,255
Yes but he ran hot on contested mid-range shots in the 1st quarter, so let's just ignore that.
Yeah 24-47 for 62 points with 5 defenders primary job to stop you from getting shots off. Downplaying this performance is homerism at its finest under the circumstances. Don’t understand how a basketball fan cannot appreciate this. I’m not even a Luka guy but the comments around here are so biased it’s nuts. Let’s blast Kyrie….he’s the one who deserves it and is the one massively underperforming.
 

Ed Hillel

Wants to be startin somethin
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2007
45,933
Here
Yeah 24-47 for 62 points with 5 defenders primary job to stop you from getting shots off. Downplaying this performance is homerism at its finest under the circumstances. Don’t understand how a basketball fan cannot appreciate this. I’m not even a Luka guy but the comments around here are so biased it’s nuts. Let’s blast Kyrie….he’s the one who deserves it and is the one massively underperforming.
Luka was absolutely amazing in the 1st quarter of Game 2, but I do think it's pretty fair to say he was flat out bad in the second half. The second half was pretty much a Jaylen vs. Heat Game 7 last year kind of performance.
 

m0ckduck

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
2,010
Dallas' bench unit will have to be incredibly diligent to take advantage of Luke's short bench minutes.

I believe that's much different than the Wolves playing Gobert big minutes against Dallas starters
Fair. Let me put it this way:

Luke for 5 min: fine (esp. if it's while Luka is on the bench)
Luke for 15 min: likely really hurts us, unless it's a blowout. Not so much for what Luke does/doesn't offer but mostly because it allows Donic to hide on defense and save energy for 4th quarter offense ( << Celtics taking away these two things are the main reason they are up 2-0 )
 

Cellar-Door

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
35,723
If Porzingis can't play Joe probably goes to Kornet but it might be a short experiment. We've talked a lot about the baked in advantages on both ends.... Kornet eliminates a lot of those. DAL won't respect him at all as a floor spacer, and he's very vulnerable in PnR especially against Kyrie. Wouldn't be surprised to see more Al and more Hauser
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
13,522
This, though he definitely showed some leakiness during the Indiana series.

My guess is that Mazzulla has a plan but will adjust quickly. Joe isn't going to let Tillman choke Boston's offensive flow (and his D which is usually great hasn't been as much since arriving in Boston) and he won't let Kornet get totally flambe'd if its apparent it isn't working.

It almost certainly won't involve Queta just to get that out of the way.
Yes, he had issues against Indiana.

Indiana also doesn't really bad shooting centers the way that Dallas does, however. They're a better offensive team, with better personnel.
 

Eddie Jurak

canderson-lite
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
45,721
Melrose, MA
Tillman imo is unplayable in this series. Allowing Luka to hide on D changes the entire trajectory of the series. If KP can't go, it will be probably be Hauser/PP eating most of his minutes, with Tatum shifting to the 5. It will make them more susceptible to Gafford posting up, but it's a real question whether Luka/Kyrie have the patience to do that consistently anyway. They gotta hit their 50+ shot quota.
We're talking about backup minutes here. Horford will probably be playing 36-38 minutes if it is needed in every game except game 4.

I'm pretty confident they'd play Kornet before Tillman. They'd just have Luke roam off a weak shooter, and he's better offensively than Tillman, because he can space vertically.
I assume Dallas will be happy to run pick and rolls that have Luka driving into Kornet's drop coverage.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
21,105
Santa Monica
Fair. Let me put it this way:

Luke for 5 min: fine (esp. if it's while Luka is on the bench)
Luke for 15 min: likely really hurts us, unless it's a blowout. Not so much for what Luke does/doesn't offer but mostly because it allows Donic to hide on defense and save energy for 4th quarter offense ( << Celtics taking away these two things are the main reason they are up 2-0 )
Yea I hate the idea of giving Luka a breather. Making him defend on every possession is psychological warfare

If CJM wants to continue to run Luka into the ground then he can go with JAYs, Jrue, White + Hauser (whenever Al needs a breather & Luka is on the floor)
 

Deathofthebambino

Drive Carefully
SoSH Member
Apr 12, 2005
42,400
Outside of lobs and Kyries drives, both of which Tatum can handle at the 5, how much rim protection do the Celts really need against this Mavs team.

Kornet kills us on the offensive end, IMO and Luka will just camp out on him.

Run the 5 shooters out there in the non Al minutes and push the pace. Dallas has no answers except to hope rebounding keeps them in it.
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
13,522
I assume Dallas will be happy to run pick and rolls that have Luka driving into Kornet's drop coverage.
They'd put Kornet on DJJ/PJ/Kleber, and double every PnR until Luka's man can recover to him, while leaving screen setter open from 3. We have seen this a lot already.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
18,739
Hard to see how much damage Kornet can do in 10 minutes. Anyway, I predict KP is gonna play anyway, just limited minutes.
 

TomRicardo

rusty cohlebone
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Feb 6, 2006
21,289
Row 14
This, though he definitely showed some leakiness during the Indiana series.

My guess is that Mazzulla has a plan but will adjust quickly. Joe isn't going to let Tillman choke Boston's offensive flow (and his D which is usually great hasn't been as much since arriving in Boston) and he won't let Kornet get totally flambe'd if its apparent it isn't working.

It almost certainly won't involve Queta just to get that out of the way.
Luka's not playing 48 a night, worst case scenario you can steal a few Kornet minutes while he's on the bench. Personally I think if KP is out, they'll plan to run Al up into the high 30s that he was playing for most of the non-blowouts the last two rounds, play Kornet until he shows it's not a viable option, and hit enough 3s early that the 4th quarter minutes are irrelevant.
I worry more about Kornet playing against Kyrie when Luka is out than Kornet playing with Luka on the court. Your fear with Kornet is that he forces help and Kyrie actually moves the ball getting people going. Maybe Kyrie sees Kornet and just goes off which you shrug, whatever. But if Luka and Kyrie use Kornet to get the ball moving, it could be really painful. Both Luke and Xavier don't give you much on offense as Luke drags the big into the post which is a problem, Xavier lets them drop into a zone.
 

Cellar-Door

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
35,723
Hard to see how much damage Kornet can do in 10 minutes. Anyway, I predict KP is gonna play anyway, just limited minutes.
The Celtics so far in the series are +26 in Porzingis minutes and +0 in non-Porzingis minutes (+7 if you eliminate the very end of game 1).... doesn't have to do much damage to make an impact.
 

TomRicardo

rusty cohlebone
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Feb 6, 2006
21,289
Row 14
Hard to see how much damage Kornet can do in 10 minutes. Anyway, I predict KP is gonna play anyway, just limited minutes.
It is a real fear that his tendency to not get to the corner on rotation can get some of the Dallas shooting to go off. Also he just additional time off for Luka. Every minute Luke is on the court is an extra half minute of rest for Luka.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,423
It is a real fear that his tendency to not get to the corner on rotation can get some of the Dallas shooting to go off. Also he just additional time off for Luka. Every minute Luke is on the court is an extra half minute of rest for Luka.
If Luka is guarding Kornet, can you just run P&R with Kornet and -insert anyone else here-, and then just have Kornet dive to the rim? If they do that with guards, it forces a smaller player on Kornet, and that opens up lob possibilities if they switch. And if they don't switch, that should free the guard up for an open shot.

I'm just trying to think of ways for the offense to work and not let Luka just stand around doing nothing if Kornet is in the game.
 

LoLsapien

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 5, 2022
292
True basketball ignoramus here, but could you stick PP out there and spend more time going small? Seems like he can be a pest on D and his shooting range allows you to go 5 wiiiiiiiide?
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,423
True basketball ignoramus here, but could you stick PP out there and spend more time going small? Seems like he can be a pest on D and his shooting range allows you to go 5 wiiiiiiiide?
Yes. But then Tatum is on Gifford and they could post him up. They did that twice last game for easy buckets, and it's a mystery why they didn't do it more. Still...it's a viable option. It would help if PP could actually put the ball in the basket in non-half-court-heave situations.
 

Cellar-Door

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
35,723
So thinking about it more.....

If Porzingis can't go and one of the bench bigs has to play..... it should be TIlman.

Kornet has a bunch of issues in this matchup, and his limited history against DAL is pretty bad.
Tillman while he's not a good 3pt shooter is a willing one, he hit 34% of his above the break 3s this year, which is not that good, but he's capable enough that guys might close out on him.

On the other end, I think his ability to move his feet and stay in front on D, as well as his bulk to push guys out of position is more valuable than Kornets better rim protection.

Edit- also a very small sample size, but Tillman played DAL 5 times this year (including with MEM) played 100 minutes, was positive in 4 of the 5 (including MEM getting blown out), and overal +16.9, had 6 blocks and 5 steals... offense wasn't good, but appears to have held up well defensively.
 
Last edited:

Cellar-Door

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
35,723
Yes. But then Tatum is on Gifford and they could post him up. They did that twice last game for easy buckets, and it's a mystery why they didn't do it more. Still...it's a viable option. It would help if PP could actually put the ball in the basket in non-half-court-heave situations.
Tatum was on Gafford most of the time anyway, one reason they didn't post more is Gafford struggled to get good position and seal off Tatum, making entry passes tough, Gafford just isn't a good enough post up player to consistently go there, high risk of Tatum getting steals and deflections. Where too much Pritchard in 3 guard lineups (they ran a few) hurts is it has potential to open up the lob game more as you have size mismatches at 3 spots. I would guess Hauser gets first crack at extra minutes if they go small.

Edit- Posting is pretty hard, it's a real skillset. One of the reasons DAL loves it when opponents post Luka, or we used to love people who posted Smart... very few guys are good enough at it to consistently punish height mismatches if the defender is decently strong.
 

TomRicardo

rusty cohlebone
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Feb 6, 2006
21,289
Row 14
So thinking about it more.....

If Porzingis can't go and one of the bench bigs has to play..... it should be TIlman.

Kornet has a bunch of issues in this matchup, and his limited history against DAL is pretty bad.
Tillman while he's not a good 3pt shooter is a willing one, he hit 34% of his above the break 3s this year, which is not that good, but he's capable enough that guys might close out on him.

On the other end, I think his ability to move his feet and stay in front on D, as well as his bulk to push guys out of position is more valuable than Kornets better rim protection.

Edit- also a very small sample size, but Tillman played DAL 5 times this year (including with MEM) played 100 minutes, was positive in 4 of the 5 (including MEM getting blown out), and overal +16.9, had 6 blocks and 5 steals... offense wasn't good, but appears to have held up well defensively.
Tillman has some spots beyond the arc and can absorb some Luka body blows. He is no way ideal but Kornet is just not great for this match (as he wasn't for Indiana)
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,255
If Porzingis can't play Joe probably goes to Kornet but it might be a short experiment. We've talked a lot about the baked in advantages on both ends.... Kornet eliminates a lot of those. DAL won't respect him at all as a floor spacer, and he's very vulnerable in PnR especially against Kyrie. Wouldn't be surprised to see more Al and more Hauser
Kornet is necessary defensively or Luka will be throwing lobs off penetration to Lively/Gafford every other possession as they did when Gobert was sitting in the previous series. This is a much better matchup for Kornet than the prior series bc Indiana ran him off the floor….this won’t happen against Dallas.
 

Cellar-Door

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
35,723
Tillman has some spots beyond the arc and can absorb some Luka body blows. He is no way ideal but Kornet is just not great for this match (as he wasn't for Indiana)
https://twitter.com/Timi_093/status/1763924788727181700

of course Tomek did a breakdown of Tilman's minutes back in March, dude has so many clips.

This is about what you'd hope for in 4-6 minutes if KP can;t go. He did a nice job on Luka and DJJ.
He's not going to elevate, but he understands angles, gets in spots. No 3s on that tape, but cuts to the basket, some nice passing.

Kornet is necessary defensively or Luka will be throwing lobs off penetration to Lively/Gafford every other possession as they did when Gobert was sitting in the previous series. This is a much better matchup for Kornet than the prior series bc Indiana ran him off the floor….this won’t happen against Dallas.
I don't think so, stopping lobs is a lot more about positioning than jumping or even height. Tilman can do the same things Tatum has been doing to prevent lobs to centers. Porzingis has had a fairly limited role in stopping the lob game. I'd also guess if he plays he'll get most of his minutes in either non-Luka minutes, or matched up on DJJ.
The sample sizes are small, but Tillman has defended well against DAL most games, where Kornet has generally not. I think Tillman is more valuable on offense as well, better passer for one, and willing to space the floor.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
50,316
Tillman has some spots beyond the arc and can absorb some Luka body blows. He is no way ideal but Kornet is just not great for this match (as he wasn't for Indiana)
I think Tillman's big issue is that he can't do anything offensively - like at all - so Dallas can ignore him almost completely. That's a great recipe for more complaints about Tatum losing the box score battle and maybe losing overall.

My guess is that whatever they do is for 10 minutes max and that its just a shorter rotation from here on out.
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
13,522
Kornet is necessary defensively or Luka will be throwing lobs off penetration to Lively/Gafford every other possession as they did when Gobert was sitting in the previous series. This is a much better matchup for Kornet than the prior series bc Indiana ran him off the floor….this won’t happen against Dallas.
Exactly, all of this.

What do you think they'll do with Luke on the offensive end?
 

lars10

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
12,612
Kornets issues defensively against Indiana were largely related to playing against Myles Turner who can shoot. The Mavs don’t have that guy. Offensively he hurts our spacing but if he’s the guy setting the ball screens I don’t think it matters too much for a few minutes here and there.

Saying he is unplayable is a ridiculous statement IMO.
Yeah.. playing slower, bigger guys seems right in Luke’s wheelhouse.. and the way the Mavs are collapsing on the ball handler he may actually get a few lobs or off side rebounds of his own… he had a lot of trouble with Turner and the speed of Indiana as well.. Mavs don’t play that fast and their offense is pretty static in general.
 

Zincman

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
444
New London
Cheers. Forgot that they were announced morning of.

Foster should be one of the finals refs, he's excellent. But if we draw him in Game 3, I'm expecting Dallas to have an extreme FTA advantage.
I hope Tivens is in there. IMHO he's the best of the bunch. Absolutely impartial. Great official who has worked his way to the top