For the past month or so, since the Boston Celtics have endured season ending injuries to key players, the question has been asked time and time again: Do the Celtics have what it takes to make one final run to the NBA Finals? In the last nine games, Boston has proven that they can still beat playoff and championship caliber teams, and maybe still have a legitimate shot at the title. That’s all great in theory, but here are a few factors as to why the Celtics don’t have a great shot at winning a title, and the rebuilding process should at least be looked into.
Currently, the Celtics are 7th in the Eastern Conference standings, and if the season ended today they’d be taking on the New York Knicks. But looking forward to April, if Boston doesn’t make any moves and suffers another devastating injury, or they run out of gas, the possibility of facing the Miami Heat in the first round is very likely. Now even though this is all hypothetical, if Boston’s road to the Finals faces a road block known as the Miami Heat, this would basically be the same scenario that ended the Celtics season last year.
There is no way that Boston can beat the Heat when four out of the seven games are in Miami. While the Celtics have played tremendous as of late, they lack the depth to keep up with the Heat. Right now, history is repeating itself. Boston is being bitten by the injury bug, while Miami is slowly running away with the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Looking at where the Celtics stand, and piecing together all the trade rumors, Boston could get good, young talent in return for their veterans. Now, I understand this isn’t popular among the Celtics fan base, and I don’t like the thought of it myself, but the fact is, as magical as this two week run has been, it’s not enough to beat the Heat, or the San Antonio Spurs, or the Oklahoma City Thunder. If Boston brings in a few more free agents, that’s fine, but Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will still be heavily relied upon to get the Celtics deep into the playoffs.
If we look at who the Celtics might get in return if trades were made, Boston would receive Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan from the Los Angeles Clippers, if Garnett waives his no trade clause, and then acquire Josh Smith for Paul Pierce, but that trade is extremely unlikely. But hypothetically, the Celtics would have a young team that has the talent level to be good for years to come, instead of getting nothing in return if both Pierce and Garnett retire in Celtics uniforms.The big decision for Danny Ainge is, does he want short term or long term success.
For the rest of this season, if the team is still intact, Boston would be no higher than a 4th seed at best, and even if they did finish in the top four, they have the great challenge of taking on younger more athletic teams.
In the long term, if there is a roster shakeup, Boston has a young, but talented core of players consisting of Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Jordan, Josh Smith, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, and Jeff Green, if Green isn’t traded. The fate of Rajon Rondo would be in the hands of Ainge, and if the Garnett trade went through, there would be no reason to keep both Bledsoe and Rondo.
Being a young Celtics fan growing up, I, along with many Celtics fans endured the repercussions of not trading the original Big Three, and having to endure the darkest days in the franchise’s history. As much as it would hurt to see Garnett and Pierce in different uniforms, I’d hate to see the Celtics go back to the way they were when the team consisted of mediocre talent. Time is ticking for Danny Ainge. Does he do what’s best for the team now, or will he consider the longterm affect of not trading his veterans who, in return, could bring young pieces to build around and begin a new era with?