The Boston Celtics were on the clock with the sixth selection, but the words “There has been a trade…” did not come out of Adam Silver‘s mouth. At that moment, you could hear the sighs and cries around Boston. What about the “fireworks” that were promised this offseason? Were the Kevin Love rumors merely a tease? Boston fans are sick of a 30-win team and are ready to see the Celtics back in the playoff race. Unfortunately, that won’t be anytime soon.
Despite having a rather excellent draft, Celtics fans felt empty when the highly-anticipated draft night came to an end. The Minnesota Timberwolves did not ship Love to Boston, Danny Ainge did not snag the No. 1 pick, nor did Rajon Rondo get dealt for promising young players. Instead, the Celtics drafted Marcus Smart and James Young and made their direction clear: Boston is going young and rebuilding up from the bottom.
In the summer of 2007, the stars aligned perfectly when the Celtics acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to join Paul Pierce. The Celtics became immediate contenders, won a championship in their first year and entertained fans in the next six years by staying competitive and at the top of the league.
Welcome to reality, Celtics fans. It’s unfair to expect the Celtics to make a huge splash and automatically become contenders again after just one rebuilding year. Sorry, but this is going to be a long, exasperate path to contention.
Don’t cry yet, the Celtics have a lot of good things going on for them and plenty of young talent to work and build with.
First of all, the Celtics got themselves a couple of nice pieces Thursday night. Smart is an excellent choice for the Celtics. He was the most competitive player in this draft, he plays defense, attacks the rim and has the best leadership skills. The combo-guard can start and impact the Celtics right away. Down the road, he could become a scoring machine and an All-Star-caliber player. Smart has the right skill set and attitude to build with.
James Young, who they selected with seventeenth pick, is an unfinished product but knows how to score. He’s also a team player with good defensive instincts and a willingness to share the ball. It may take awhile, but he could very well become a starter in a few years. He’ll be able to spread the floor with his perimeter jumper and attack the basket on the wing.
The Celtics also have Jared Sullinger at the power forward position. Sullinger has a lot to develop, but he has shown he can be a quality starter in this league. Sully could still potentially be a 20 point-10 rebound type of player. Having three players to try to build around is more than a lot of teams can say.
Boston not only has three young, up-and-coming players to work with, but they have a plethora of draft picks over the next four years. They have their own picks, the Los Angeles Clippers‘ pick next year, the Brooklyn Net‘s picks in 2016 and 2018, and the right to swap picks with the Nets in 2017. With the way things are going in Brooklyn, they will most likely end up in the bottom of the league by then.
Of course young players, future draft picks and plenty of cap space do not guarantee anything, but Danny Ainge has proven to be someone you can trust to build a team. Ainge has a good track record with his draft picks and has a good mind for trading. The Celtics also have an excellent coach in Brad Stevens, who knows how to get the best out of young players.
The Celtics have plenty of options. They could get lucky, and build a contending team with what they have, or they can use their assets to acquire a premier player in the future. Celtics fans may have to go through another year of turmoil, but this team is going in the right direction.
It may long, but it will be worth the wait. Boston fans should be excited for the future.