2013-14 Record: 25-57 (4th in Atlantic Division)
2013-14 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions)
Offensive: 99.7 (27th in NBA)
Defensive: 105.2 (20th in NBA)
Boston came into this past season with their lowest expectations in a decade.
Doc Rivers was now in Los Angeles coaching the Clippers, Ray Allen was in Miami being perhaps the most overqualified sixth man of all time (OK, second most overqualified - Michael Jordan came off the bench for the Wizards), and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were Brooklyn Nets.
That era in Celtics history had closed, and the franchise started the rebuilding process. It didn't get off to a good start.
All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo missed a majority of the season recovering from a torn ACL suffered in December 2012, leaving the Celtics with a depleted roster. Head coach Brad Stevens - one of the best coaches in all of basketball - was in his first year in the NBA following a hugely successful tenure at Butler, but he didn't have a lot to work with.
That should change next year. Boston has two top-20 picks and are in the running for Kevin Love, but they desperately need another franchise player to help Rondo bring the team back to the postseason.
The Celtics need help everywhere, and could even go with a point guard if they don't think Rondo is part of this new era. However, he's still the best player on their team, and I think they'll be happy to go with the best guy on their draft board.
If they don't trade this pick to Minnesota as part of a Kevin Love package and are making the pick for themselves, Noah Vonleh will probably be their guy. He's a big man with amazingly long arms and the range on his jump shot to stretch the defense. Vonleh would join Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk in Boston's big man rotation, all of whom have the ability to hit outside jumpers along with being great rebounders, creating a formidable front line.
But if Julius Randle is still on the board, that's who they would go with - Boston just has to hope Utah goes in a different direction, but I think Randle will end up with the Jazz.
With Boston taking a big man with their first pick, they'll look for a wing player here. The Celtics have their eyes on a trio of players - Rodney Hood from Duke, T.J. Warren from NC State, and Zach LaVine from UCLA.
Of the three, they're really hoping LaVine falls to them. He's skyrocketing up draft boards thanks to his crazy athleticism:
Zach LaVine jumps 46 inches in pre-draft workout: http://t.co/uW8jgToP2s pic.twitter.com/h5yoRbKb7u
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 5, 2014
His versatility of playing either guard position - and potentially being Boston's long-term option at point guard - and his amazing potential make him the most intriguing prospect that is expected to go in the middle of the first round.
If LaVine is gone, Hood would be their next choice. Hood is a great offensive player and knockdown shooter (something the Celtics don't have) that can play either guard spot as well as small forward.
If both those guys are gone, Warren will be available. He is probably the second best pure scorer in the draft behind Doug McDermott, and Boston ranked near the bottom of the league in offense. Warren would help with that immediately, but LaVine and Hood have higher ceilings.
G: Rajon Rondo
G: Keith Bogans
F: Jeff Green
F: Brandon Bass
C/F: Kelly Olynyk
G: Phil Pressey
G: Chris Babb
G/F: Vitor Faverani
F/G: Chris Johnson
F: Gerald Wallace
C/F: Jared Sullinger
C: Joel Anthony (player option)
G: Jerryd Bayless
G: Avery Bradley
C/F: Kris Humphries
Who should Boston pick? How long will it take for the Celtics to compete for another title? Tweet your thoughts to @brauf33.Back to the NBA Newsfeed