The Boston Celtics simply aren’t supposed to finish a season with a 25-57 record, even if they are rebuilding.
Fans of this historically excellent franchise are starving for improvement in the 2014-15 campaign, and the only way to do that is by adding more pieces either through trades, free agency or the draft.
Boston Likes Vonleh, Gordon And Smart
The Boston Celtics have young Jared Sullinger on the roster, but that isn’t stopping them from looking at some other post players in the draft, as well as an electric guard, via Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:
NBA source said #celtics are very high on Indiana's Noah Vonleh and he's moved into preferred group with Aaron Gordon and Marcus Smart— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) June 21, 2014
Noah Vonleh would pair nicely with fellow Big Ten product Sullinger on the boards. Vonleh may be the best pure rebounder in this class, and he and Sullinger would snatch almost everything within their vicinity next season.
Aaron Gordon would be an intriguing piece next to Rajon Rondo because Gordon gets out in transition and finishes in rim-rattling fashion. He was the college version of Blake Griffin this year at Arizona and has the athleticism to make a real impact as a rookie.
Still, Marcus Smart is the most enticing prospect of the three from Boston’s perspective. He is more than capable of playing alongside Rondo as a shooting guard, but he can handle point guard duties as well if Rondo isn’t in Boston for the long term.
Smart's versatility alone makes this a good pick for the Celtics.
Will Boston Draft And Store Dario Saric?
Dario Saric made some waves Monday when it was reported that he agreed to a three-year deal with Turkish juggernaut Anadolu Efes. Saric was seen as a likely lottery pick in the upcoming draft, so a few teams may have to return to the drawing board.
Boston may not be one of those squads, though, via Chad Ford of ESPN.com:
However, it's possible that Saric won't slide too far. Sources say the Hawks at 15, the Celtics at 17, the Suns at 18 and the Bulls at 19 are all looking at Saric and are more comfortable drafting him and keeping him in Europe for the next two seasons. The Celtics, Suns and Bulls all have multiple picks in this year's draft.
Will Dario Saric play in the NBA in the next three years?
The Croatia product averaged 19.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists a game for Cibona in the Adriatic League last season. That type of double-double talent is what makes him such an intriguing prospect in the first place, but the fact he may not be ready for the NBA for at least two years is certainly a downside.
Boston could obviously use his presence as a stretch forward next to Rondo or whichever other player they add to the roster going forward, but it’s still a risky waiting game to see a first-round pick play elsewhere and risk injury.
No Love For Boston?
Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald passed along some of the latest on the Kevin Love front:
According to sources, the Timberwolves have been exploring other trade avenues for Love, and it’s been confirmed they are running into some trouble getting what they want from Golden State. That may force Minnesota vice president of basketball operations and coach Flip Saunders to alter his sights, which could bring the local outfit more realistically into play.
As of yesterday, the Celts and Wolves hadn’t spoken since Thursday morning, according to one source with direct knowledge of the situation
One league source said the key for the Celts is getting a more accurate idea of what Minnesota wants from them, while another said the Timberwolves came into this process believing the C’s had nothing they want.
Which team has a better chance at landing Love?
When there is a superstar player of Love’s caliber available and multiple teams chasing him, there is going to be some posturing and misdirection when it comes to leaked information and rumors. Still, Boston may have to up its ante of the No. 6 and No. 17 picks and some young talent like Kelly Olynyk if it hopes to impress Minnesota.
Love may not be the only guy on the Celtics’ radar if Danny Ainge is to be believed, via Bulpett:
We have more than two different scenarios and two different teams. I mean, there’s five different scenarios at least—and by draft day there may be more like seven or eight scenarios. I know what you mean, but what I’m saying is it’s more than that, and it’s always more than that. It’s not that simple or just two scenarios. There’s the rebuild and stay young, there’s (the) try-to-win-now scenario, and there is in between.
Boston’s draft picks are certainly valuable this year, but Golden State (as well as some other squads) simply have more proven basketball talent than Boston. That’s not to say Minnesota won’t ultimately be enticed by the Celtics’ picks, but there seems to be some work to be done before Kevin Love gets to Boston if it was to happen.
If it did though, Boston would in all likelihood find itself back in the playoffs again next season.
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