As the once-mighty Boston Celtics have struggled through this season, the organization and it’s fans have been supportive of the rebuilding process, thinking all this losing will eventually pay off down the road. That is certainly quite possible in the capable hands of general manager Danny Ainge, and the superlative front office of the Celtics. However, there also needs to be quite a bit of luck involved, and even the best plans for rebuilding a franchise can collapse with just one bad injury or transaction.
Here are some scenarios in which the Celtics could have a treacherous time climbing out of these holes. As for the draft, while Ainge and company have collected many assets over the next several years, those picks won’t mean anything if they don’t produce a decent player or three. Some of these players drafted just need to be good enough to entice teams to trade for, when the time comes for Ainge to try and pry All-Star players away from other teams via trades.
The Celtics will more than likely have at least a top 6 or so draft pick this year, and should be in decent draft position for the next few years. It is absolutely crucial they hit on the picks they will select, or else the rebuilding process gets much more complicated. As I was saying before, sometimes luck is involved. When the Celtics were thinking they’d be getting the number 1 overall pick in the draft, they thought the rebuilding was going to end, and visions of championships were soon to follow with now-legendary Tim Duncan. Unfortunately for Celtics fans, he went to the tanking Spurs in the 1997 draft. Sometimes, the fate of a franchise hinges on a ping pong ball, as ridiculous as that sounds.
Another scenario for Ainge and the Celtics is contingent around Rajon Rondo. While Rondo is a phenomenal player when healthy, he is 27 years old, and likely won’t be in his prime when the Celtics could possibly contend again. It would be ideal if Ainge could deal Rondo for more picks, and or several rotation players. The worry is that Rondo won’t be tradeable due to his alleged enigmatic attitude, and his injury history.
The scariest scenario is if the Celtics ownership gets antsy in year 3 or 4 of this rebuilding project, and starts interjecting within the font office and or coaches. While unlikely, it still could cause irreparable damage to Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens.
Speaking of Brad Stevens, the organization signed him to a 6-year deal, which should keep him at ease for awhile. However, if Danny Ainge doesn’t deliver on getting players that Stevens can actually compete for a championship with, there could be a time in which he could ask for a release from his contract, which would be a devastating blow to the organization. If there is one thing the Celtics mustn’t screw up, its their head coaching situation. If Stevens leaves, who is seen as an up and coming coaching star, that will be a red flag for any other top tier coaches that may want to join the Celtics.