It was a quiet 2014 NBA Draft for the Boston Celtics, wasn’t it?
No moving up in the draft. No players traded. No risky draft choices. No fireworks.
When it was all said and done, the Celtics walked away from the draft with two top-11 players and a backcourt that is now significantly better than it was when the draft began.
By picking Marcus Smart and James Young, the Celtics have committed to the youth movement . . . for now. However, as owner Wyc Grousbeck discusses after the draft, the lack of fireworks was not due to a lack of effort on the Celtics’ part:
We wanted to make other trades in recent days and we’ve been on the phone quite a bit with other teams about other ideas. Nothing just ever really seemed close to fruition, no matter how hard we tried. . . I always said fireworks were a possibility. It takes two to tango around here.
Furthermore, Grousbeck is very open about Boston’s aggressive approach to rebuilding:
We like to be aggressive about rebuilding this team. We like to try to become contenders as quickly as possible. We’ll keep working the phones, but it takes two partners to make a trade.
Hearing Grousbeck speak so candidly about the Celtics’ willingness to trade isn’t surprising; in fact, every Celtics fan watching, listening to, or following the draft on social media last night spent every moment wondering when the other shoe was going to drop. The fact that Danny Ainge didn’t succeed in pulling off a move was the surprise, so we all know the draft was just the beginning.
Boston IS going to move some pieces this offseason. Now it is just a matter of figuring out who.
For starters, there are a couple of players who might end up moving themselves. Guards Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless are both becoming free agents, and while Boston is probably hoping to use Bradley in a sign-and-trade, Bradley’s market value has jumped up to a projected $7-9 million, way too steep for Ainge’s blood, I would think.
My proof? Only the fact that the Celtics DRAFTED TWO GUARDS LAST NIGHT.
Speaking of guards, with Boston selecting both a shooting guard in Young and a point guard in Smart, Twitter immediately exploded with a discussion of what it all means for starting point guard Rajon Rondo:
— SI NBA (@si_nba) June 27, 2014
The question isn’t, can Rondo co-exist with Smart? Question is, does he want to? Not a chance. Rondo era ends any minute now
— Gerry Callahan (@GerryCallahan) June 27, 2014
Wyc on what this means for Rondo: “I don’t think this has any impact on Rajon at all.” #Celtics
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) June 27, 2014
And even though Boston now has an over-abundance of guards on its roster, let’s not forget that Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, and Kelly Olynyk have all heard their names whispered in the press as trade bait, too.
So many players who could get moved. Let the fireworks begin!!!
Look: I hate making bold predictions, because even if I knew what the Celtics’ intentions were, the market may not cooperate, so it’s anybody’s guess right now. Clearly, the Celtics are not going to start the season with eight guards on the roster.
Also clear is the fact that, despite the Boston Celtics’ homepage proclaiming “Celtics Fill Needs by Drafting Smart, Young” Boston still has an extremely undersized frontcourt that will struggle to defend and rebound unless Boston addresses this weekend during the offseason.
Bottom line: I like Marcus Smart and James Young, but selecting them isn’t enough. Boston is just gearing up for the next two phases of the summer – free agency and the trade frenzy – so prepare to kiss some players good-bye!
Good luck guessing who, though.