The Boston Celtics have lost seven of their last nine games, this isn’t surprising or disappointing. As long has they continue on this pace, this season will have ended in a promising place. While they will need a good amount of luck to get in the top two or three picks, no doubt that they should land somewhere in the top five, of this deep draft. The Celtics haven’t been on luck’s side in the past when they’ve had a potential opportunity to win a big time draft slot (most recently with the 2007 draft with Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, the main attractions). If they can claim a top five spot, this season will have been a success.
One pick, even if that pick exceeds expectations, will not turn everything around for the franchise. It will take a slow and steady approach of accumulating rotation worthy players from your draft picks, shedding unwanted contracts, accumulating draft picks (in hopes of adding to a serious trade offer for all-star quality players. With all star point guard, Rajon Rondo, rounding back into form, it remains to be seen what general manager Danny Ainge will do with his incumbent quirky point guard. While Rondo is a delight to watch, and at his best, can do things on the basketball court that only a few in the NBA today can do. He is a constant triple double threat, and is capable of playing great in big time games in the playoffs (Game 2 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals immediately come to mind). It would be sad for many Celtics fans to see then point guard go, as he has played his entire career with the Celtics, and has blossomed from an intriguing prospect to one of the best point guards in the NBA.
The Celtics will be counting on the continued progress of players such as Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, and Kelly Olynyk. I say this knowing that all three could be easily expendable in a trade, if Ainge can trick a team into taking some of these players on in return for even better players. Sullinger has been really struggling with his shot recently, and his ceiling probably isn’t much higher than where he was at earlier in the year. He could be a key performer off the bench for a championship caliber team, or could be a piece to help get the Celtics a superstar in a trade. Avery Bradley has proven to be a pest as an on-ball defender, and an erratic offensive player. While I’m sure the Celtics would love to hang on to him, I’m also sure they’d get rid of him in a moment to acquire more pieces, either directly for a player or for draft picks (in hopes of sweetening the pot for any potential deal). Kelly Olynyk probably played the best game of his NBA career the other night against the Golden State Warriors, which isn’t saying much, since he is only a rookie, and hasn’t had many impressive games. He also seems to have the potential to be a key contributor on a good team (Luis Scola type).
With Danny Ainge at the helm, anything seems possible, as there are no players currently on the team too sacred to trade. This off-season will be one to behold.