Successful NBA rebuilds require luck, timing, shrewd decisions and patience. They're done with a long-term plan in mind, gradual motion toward a championship.
In order to be competitive in a league that has 29 other organizations with their eyes on the same prize, getting to the top is obviously very difficult, but the Boston Celtics are on the right track.
Much of the process is outside any single person's control. Countless variables can set everything on fire at any time. The idea is to be as prepared as possible for whatever the future holds. The Celtics are.
They have 10 first-round draft picks over the next five years, a franchise star at point guard, several bushy-tailed prospects providing low-cost value and a cap sheet that'll be flexible by the summer of 2015. Still, much work needs to be done, and once this season ends Danny Ainge will have a few important items on his plate that need attention.
Here's his checklist for the summer, with each action ranked in order of importance.