Current Record – 15-33, Atlantic Division
2014 NBA Draft First Round Selections â€“ Two
Centerpiece â€“ Rajon Rondo
During the offseason, Danny Ainge and company felt it was time to start preparing for the future, deciding to trade franchise beloved Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets. The exodus also meant letting coach Doc Rivers not endure the rebuilding process, so he joined a contending team in the Clippers. In the process, the Celtics now have pairs of first-round draft picks in each of the next three drafts. It was a brilliant move by Ainge and the team is going to have a range of assets to work with in the near future.
First off, Ainge has done the right thing so far by not trading Rajon Rondo. By committing to Rondo and making him the face of the organization, the Celtics have a person to build around. He is still young, only being 27, and when healthy he deserves to be mentioned in the elite class of point guards. They are not going to find a better floor general and competitor than Rondo. The only red flags for keeping him is that he is coming off an ACL injury that had sidelined him for a year. If he can show that he can return to natural dominance at the position, I see no reason to trade him.
Taking a look at the rest of the Celtics roster, they have some players they can work with and also some real big head scratchers. Gerald Wallace is a player on the roster that the Celtics need to find a trade partner immediately because his contract is terrible. Wallace will be paid $10 million in each of the next three years, which is money that can be used for another player. The Celtics are aggressively trying to trade Kris Humphries to suitors for his $12 million expiring contract.
However, there are some bright spots for them. The Celtics hired Brad Stevens to replace Doc Rivers in the offseason. Stevens fits the Celtics role perfectly and is a great young coach that will continue to grow with this team. Kelly Olynyk has shown he has a lot of talent to run the floor and with Rondo back it was will be interesting to see how he develops over the course of the season. The Celtics also have Jeff Green and Avery Bradley as part of their core. If the Celtics continue to plummet they will be in the perfect position to draft a high-caliber player that could be a cornerstone with Rondo. Center Joel Embiid out of Kansas has sky-rocketed up draft boards and would be perfect in the Celtics system.
Current record – 27-18, Pacific Division
2014 NBA Draft First Round Selections â€“ Four
Centerpiece â€“ Eric Bledsoe
Maybe I have fallen into the hype of how well they are doing this season… or maybe I am excited about what they can possibly do with four first-round picks in this summer’s NBA Draft, but out of the teams mentioned on this list the Suns have the best chance to become true contenders.
New GM Ryan McDonough has brought in a new culture to the team. Before the season began, the writing was on the wall for the Phoenix Suns: this year was going to be the year they just flat-out tanked. It has been the complete opposite and the Suns have been the most surprising team in the NBA this season. They hired a new coach in Jeff Hornacek and their roster included players such as Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee, Goran Dragic and the Morris twins; not the most luxurious list of names. But these players have been playing their hearts out and contributing, playing together.
The future of the team is centered on point guard Eric Bledsoe, who they traded for back in July. Bledsoe spent two seasons playing behind Chris Paul and in Phoenix has finally had the chance to show off his talent. Despite currently being injured, Bledsoe has put up great efficient numbers this season and is having a breakout year.
Goran Dragic is leading the team in scoring at 19.7 per game while shooting 50 percent and has been the leading man while Bledsoe is hurt.
I expect a lot out of center Alex Len and Archie Goodwin. The Suns took both in the first round of last year’s draft. Len, out of Maryland, is a true 7-footer and has not contributed that much this season due to injuries and riding the pine behind Channing Frye. After a year of learning the NBA style of play, Len is going to be a great center for the Suns. Goodwin is talented but is only 19 years old and is at least two or three years away from being a major contributor.
The Suns are going to have a staggering six first-round picks in the next two drafts. That is more than enough to make a huge splash. Whether they use some of the picks for trade bait is not yet determined but pending they do keep their picks, the Suns can add a lot of young talent, especially in a draft coming up with so much depth. They also have a bank of $30 million to spend on free agents.
What do you think?
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