The Celtics were left questioning themselves after giving up the ghost in the fourth quarter of Game Seven in the NBA Finals. They had no one to blame but themselves because of their flighty attitude and their inability to completely trust Rondo to run the team.
This leads to a lot of questions about what the 2010-2011 roster will look like. The Celtics could possibly lose at least eight players, and in all honesty none of them look like a must-have-back except Tony Allen and Ray Allen.
If Boston can get a longer defender who can bring the same defensive tenacity, then they can let him walk. But I do believe keeping T.A. will save them a little bit of money.
Boston definitely needs to add more athleticism and length at virtually all positions except point guard. In my opinion that is what prevented them from winning banner 18.
How they go about doing this starts with Thursday's draft and finding free agents or draft picks who will allow them to be contenders instead of pretenders.
Here is a list of potential draftees and free agents that may have the Celtics saying, "Let me show you what Green can do for you."
If the Celtics decide they do not want to bring Tony Allen back, Maurice Evans would be a great replacement choice. He is a better shooter than T.A. and can hit the occasional three. He has better size, is not quite as one-dimensional as T.A., and is not injury-prone.
Kwame Brown will forever be known as the first high school player chosen No. 1 overall by Michael Jordan as an executive. The pressure on him was immediate because he was under Jordan's watch. He was traded to the Lakers, and he continued to collapse after having to deal with Kobe Bryant's ability to make his teammates wither.
The bottom line is he never had a chance, but with Kendrick Perkins out until at least the All-Star weekend of 2011, he would be a great fit.
Boston won't be asking him to be an offensive factor; it will just want him to take up space, rebound, and block shots. If he can do that the Celtics will be able to weather the storm until Perk heals.
The Celtics also have Clifford Ray on staff. His history of developing big men is unparalleled.
The Celtics could split their mid-level exception between Brown and another player.
The Celtics would do well to look at Drew Gooden as an offensive threat off the bench. He is a decent rebounder and is a double-figure scorer when given the chance.
Boston lacks offensive firepower off the bench, and if it can't use a draft pick to fit that bill, picking up Gooden would only help and give them another big body.
Mike Miller has always been a favorite of Doc Rivers, and now that he is a free agent this is an opportunity the Celtics should not sleep on.
Miller has publicly stated that he wants to play for a winner. He is 6'8", has decent ball-handling skills, can shoot the three very well, and is a decent defender.
If Rasheed Wallace retires then the Celtics should use their mid-level exception to get him. He would be a great three coming off the bench and would enable Paul Pierce to get more rest and save his legs for the playoffs.
The Celtics' decision to go with older, more experienced players brought them to the Promised Land but couldn't seal the deal. A lack of athleticism throughout the roster caused their downfall.
Rudy Gay would give them the youth and speed they need to compliment Rondo's game.
Memphis has the inside track, but it looked like he had already made up his mind to test free agency when he declined to sign an extension last season.
Of all the free agents out there the Celtics actually have a legitimate chance at signing Gay. If the Celtics re-sign Ray Allen, Rudy can learn from one of the best shooters in the game.
He can start opposite Rondo, and Ray-Ray can come off the bench and be the designated shooter—something he is more suited for at this stage of his career.
The previous Celtic regime made a huge mistake when they traded him for essentially role players who are no longer in the league. The present establishment has an opportunity to extend an olive branch to Johnson and his agent.
To be fair, Joe can't blame this current management team, so they may be able to put enough salve on the mostly-healed wound to bring him into the fold.
I doubt it is about the money, but if he really wants to win a championship now, there are only two teams who can give him that opportunity—the Celtics and (aarrrgghhh) the Lakers.
The Lakers don't have the cap room to be in this conversation or be in the running for his services.
If the Celtics want a player who has playoff experience and is only 26 years old, they can get him.
Just like Rudy Gay, Johnson can be plugged into the two spot. However, Johnson is the more polished player.
If Boston wants to continue to extend the championship window of Monsieur's Pierce, Garnett, and Allen they would be wise to talk to Johnson at the stroke of 12:00 am on July 1.
Gordon Hayward would make the perfect Celtic. In spite of his slight frame he is not afraid to mix it up on the boards, makes smart basketball decisions, can handle the ball, and, yes, plays defense.
Oh by the way he is an excellent shooter.
Boston would scoop him up if he was to fall to the 19th spot. However, his stock has risen and it is unlikely that he will be available.
This young man has the prerequisite height that the Celtics need to fill their roster. He has a raw offensive game, but pre-draft reports show that he has an excellent basketball IQ.
If the work ethic is there, he can give the Celtics an insurance policy if Perkins is slow to return to form after having knee surgery. If they don't get him the Spurs will take him since they are in need of a center and have the 20th pick in the draft.
By all accounts he has the physical tools to excel, but like most of the guards out of New York City he had some run-ins with the law prior to making it big.
Stephenson's stock dropped after high school because of his youthful indiscretions. He ended up at Cincinnati and was on his best behavior.
Now that he is close to his NBA dreams he and his family have toned down the bling and are learning it is wise to walk quietly with a big stick.
Lance is 6'5" and has the physical tools necessary to play at the next level. The Celtics could be pleasantly surprised if they pick him on Thursday.
He didn't start for his team, but somehow during the NCAA tournament the NBA discovered that this guy may just be able to play.
He has mid-range and three-point range, has a quick first step, can rebound and play defense, and doesn't care about starting.
If he falls to the 19th pick the Celtics could take him, and his play could pay immediate dividends.