Kevin Aherne (@KAherne17)
With the draft behind us, and the the big ticket free agents off the market, an outline for the upcoming 2014-15 NBA season has begun to take shape. The Celtics' roster now runs eighteen men deep, and though that typically means that the squad is set, the Celtics now have more questions than answers.
Here are 5 important questions for Celtics GM Danny Ainge:
Coming or going?
5. Will you keep Rajon Rondo?
Danny, you drafted a blue-chip point guard in Marcus Smart. All indications point to him as being ready and capable to start in this league in year one--but he will clearly be a development project, chock full of growing pains. So, you can either play Rondo--who can walk away at season's end--which retards Smart's progress; or you trade Rondo, your best asset... for what? more picks?
At some point, these picks need to translate into game-ready veterans. So far, other than kicking the tires on Kevin Love, you haven't made traction on one sensible move to establish this team's future.
Setting the table without a centerpiece
4. Who are you building around?
Let's assume that Rondo is gone. Who is the centerpiece of this squad in 2014-15 and beyond? So far, your choices are:
3. Who WON'T the Celtics' trade?
Danny, you've committed a reasonable amount of money to Avery Bradley and Jeff Green, but are they immovable objects? Do you have any pieces that don't have a price tag? So far it seems that most of this squad is not priceless, but rather worthless.
Leader of men... or boys?
2. Can your coach attract veteran free agents?
We know that young players both respect and follow the leadership of the second year head coach, and with a small sample size, we have seen Brad Stevens show us why you sought him to lead your team. The rub is, however, will Boston be overlooked as a destination for free agents because of a virtual unknown running your bench? Miami experienced similar issues with Erik Spoelstra, and they had Lebron James! So it must be asked, how much does Stevens weigh in to your longterm plan, Dan?
Sooner or later?
1. When does the master rebuilding plan begin to materialize?
And don't tell me it is 2014-15. That is a lie. You will be marching out a band of misfits this winter--some with potential, but most carrying baggage. The only thing up your sleeve is the 7 or 8 first round picks that were acquired in your last fire sale. But if past performance is indicative of future success, let's see how your recent past picks have been invested:
2008: J.R. Giddens, 30th overall (out of league, 38 career NBA games played)
2009: No First Round Pick
2010: Avery Bradley, 19th overall (career: 9.2 PPG, 1.4 APG)
2011: JuJuan Johnson, 27th overall (out of league, 36 career NBA games played)
2012: Jared Sullinger, 21st overall (career: 9.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG)
2012: Fab Melo, 22nd overall (in NBADL, 6 career NBA games played)
2013: Kelly Olynyk, 13th overall (2013-14: 8.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG)
So Dan, what exactly is your plan?
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