By Andrew Oak
All these questions are both legitimate and concerning at the same time.
Now there are certainly a few key questions that need to be answered when it comes to the Celtics CURRENT Roster this season. As its often tough to predict draft day trades, I'm just going to analyze what the Celtics need to target and focus on this offseason.
1. Does Rondo Stay or Does He Go?
~ My initial thought process thinks that Rajon Rondo will stay in Boston. However, I do not believe that Danny Ainge will let Rondo get to free agency without a new contract prior to the next years trade deadline. No chance, no how. So if Danny Ainge pulls off a miracle and gets Kevin Love (which i find highly doubtful, even though we do have the trade assets), I just don't see Rondo signing an extension this offseason or this season. Something has to give.
2. What position are we looking for in the draft?
~ With 2 first round picks this year, the Celtics need to hit big. Yea, yea, we got screwed in the lottery, but I truly feel that there are at least 8 All Star players in this draft. The Top 3 picks to me are obvious. Parker, Embiid, Wiggins in no order. However the next batch, has some serious potential as well. Julius Randle and Noah Vonleh (Massachusetts Alum) are the most appealing options. Aaron Gordon and Marcus Smart could potentially be real pivotal starting players in the future. Then you have some wild cards like Dante Exum, Doug McDermott and Shabazz Nappier who can all make an impact immediately. My gut says go with size and athleticism (Gordon/Randle/Vonleh). I think one of these three guys will be the pick.
3. Are we willing to sacrifice another year?
~ Lets say that the Celtics don't make any major offseason acquisitions. I have a tough time to believe that the Boston fan base will accept another losing season and are accepting of another year of Heat dominance. But with a plethora of first round draft picks within the next four years, I think Celtics management will be okay with another down year. Brad Stevens is too good of a coach to 'tank' or 'give in', so i truly believe that next year will be equally as bad as this year, pending any offseason blockbusters.
Here is my initial lottery mock draft (Top 14 picks)
1. Cleveland - Jabari Parker (Duke)
2. Milwaukee - Joel Embiid (Kansas)
3. Philly - Andrew Wiggins (Kansas)
4. Orlando - Aaron Gordon (Arizona)
5. Utah - Noah Vonleh (Indiana)
6. Boston - Julius Randle (Kentucky)
7. LA Lakers - Donte Exum (Australia)
8. Sacramento - Marcus Smart (OK St)
9. Charlotte - Zach Levine (UCLA)
10. Philly - Shabazz Nappier (UCONN)
11. Denver - Doug McDermott (Creighton)
12. Orlando - James Young (Kentucky)
13. Minnesota - Gary Harris (Mich St.)
14. Phoenix - Kyle Anderson (UCLA)