Well Hardwood Houdini readers, we are nearly halfway through the month of February, and while players on the Boston Celtics have gone on the record as saying they would like to use this month to get back in the playoff race, the cold hard fact is that Boston currently sits in the 11th spot in the Eastern Conference, four games behind the 8th-place Charlotte Bobcats. Four games may not sound like much, but the Celtics are not the only team trying to scrap and claw their way up the ladder. The Bobcats would like to make the playoffs for once, I bet, while Detroit and the New York Knicks are desperately trying to salvage their seasons.
Long story short, the Boston Celtics would be hard pressed to sneak into the playoffs at the 8 spot, and would only wind up being destroyed in the first round by either the Indiana Pacers or the Miami Heat.
When it comes to the 2014 NBA Draft, however, the Celtics are in much better shape. Currently, they are the 8th-worst team in the NBA, and in with a pool of prospects as deep as the Atlantic Ocean this year, that’s not a bad place to be. If we’re lucky, the Celtics will remain firmly in the top ten of the draft, which raises the question, which top ten prospect would best fit this Celtics roster?
Let’s assume for now that the latest rumor circulating the league regarding the Boston Celtics – namely, that the team plans to build around Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, and Jared Sullinger – is true It also stands to reason that Phil Pressey and Kelly Olynyk fit into the Celtics’ (near) future plans, as well, as they are both having solid rookie seasons. Under this scenario, the Celtics will find themselves incredibly weak at the shooting guard and center positions heading into the draft. Does this make shooting guards Dante Exum (Australia) and Gary Harris (Michigan State) the Celtics’ first two choices? Or would the Celtics, who have already tried to negotiate a deal for Houston’s Omer Asik, look to draft Joel Embiid (Kansas) or Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky) to anchor their defense down the middle?
Another scenario that is easy to envision is that the Celtics trade Jeff Green, leaving them vulnerable at the small forward position, making a guy who can play the 3 Boston’s number one priority. Come to think of it, this draft is so loaded with good forwards – Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), Jabari Parker (Duke), Julius Randle (Kentucky), Aaron Gordon (Arizona) – would Boston be able to pass up one of these guys if he was still available?
Any trades the Celtics make over the next week and a half will clearly affect their draft needs, but for now I ask you, which position should the Boston Celtics be looking at the most as they prepare for the 2014 NBA Draft?