Just How Close Are the Boston Celtics to a Championship?
In 2013, the Boston Celtics decided to start fresh and destroy their whole roster and build it from the ground up. This was a move that shocked the Boston faithful because they got rid of stables like Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, and Kevin Garnett, who won a Championship for the city in 2008. Obviously not all of this happened at once. The first piece to fall was Allen; he decided to chase another championship in Miami. Then there was the trade that may go down as the most one-sided trade in NBA history. The Boston Celtics traded away stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, along with Jason Terry and D.J. White to the Brooklyn Nets for Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, Gerald Wallace, and the Nets first round picks in 2014, 2016, 2018 and the right to swap first round picks in 2017. Needless to say the Nets are still trying to dig out of that one.
At the time Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were heading in the wrong direction in their career. That trade ended up being a disaster and pushing the Nets into the disaster they are today. Sure, in 2013 it seemed like a good deal but it got the Nets a playoff birth and quick exit. This was a complete rebuild, much like the Philadelphia 76ers that I wrote about last week. Luckily for the Celtics, it is going in the opposite direction of the 76ers. The last piece to drop though was former All-Star Rajon Rondo. If the team was going to completely rebuild they had to completely rebuild. Rondo has been a bit of a disaster since he left Boston so that was easily the right move.
Enough about the past lets look at what is currently going on with the Boston Celtics. Under coach Brad Stevens the Celtics have managed to be relevant throughout the rebuild and win games. The team as currently constituted is second in the Eastern Conference. In every other sport that would mean they have a shot to win the championship this year. Unfortunately though, the Celtics play in the NBA, which means the super teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Golden State Warriors will be in the Finals again this year. The question is how far off are the Celtics from winning a championship?
First off, Isaiah Thomas is a star. There is nothing that anyone can say that can change that. He is fun to watch and has proven time and time again to be a superstar with the Celtics. Also the recently signed Al Horford is the Center the Celtics have been craving for the past 4 years. To go along with that the Celtics have a nice core revolving around Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Jaylen Brown and Kelly Olynyk. The thing is the Celtics do not have the depth that the Cavaliers or Warriors. They also are lacking another superstar. That can all change this summer.
There are two really strong possibilities that could happen this summer. The Celtics can make a trade for a superstar like Jimmy Butler. It would be really dumb for the Chicago Bulls to trade Butler, but that is beside the point. The also are going to have a very high first round pick this year because they swap with the Nets and they have the Nets’ 2018 first round pick too. If the team is patient they can potentially get the lottery pick the next two years. That would solve the superstar problem. Boston would go from having one superstar and a good team to potentially having 3 superstars and whomever they sign in free agency. That would be a lot of fun to watch for Boston fans.
The prediction is that the Celtics are not going to slow down anytime soon. They will continue to grow as a team and add pieces to build another dynasty in Boston. 2019 is the year that it definitely will come together. It can happen earlier but having potential lottery picks the next two years will be an amazing thing for the Celtics. Also LeBron James will be a lot slower in two years. He has a lot of mileage on his legs and eventually will not be the best player in the league anymore. All that does is help the Celtics drive right to the Finals in 2019 and maybe earlier.
Info and statistics courtesy of Spotrac, NBA.com, Real GM