The Boston Celtics have enjoyed a solid run this season, earning the first seed in the Eastern Conference and making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. They ended up losing in 5 games to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that doesn’t discount the success they saw.
Earning the first seed in conference is surely a boastful accomplishment, and they also have the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft via a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. However, the Celtics are far from a perfect team.
First of all, the team needs to get a solid defensive big man. The team over the regular season averaged 42 rebounds (27th) and 4 blocks (23rd). Those stats are embarrassing for a team of this caliber. Al Horford was the leading rebounder, although he only averaged under 7 a game. Nobody on the team throughout the playoffs averaged a block a game. There were games against Cleveland where the paint was an open pasture.
Who they sign all depends on if they want to play Horford as a center or power forward. He can play either role, so the important part is getting a big game rebounder and shot blocker.
The squad could also use an upgrade in depth at the 2 guard. Avery Bradley performed exceptionally this season, averaging about 16 points and 6 rebounds a night. However, James Young doesn’t come close to that standard. Only averaging 2.3 points per game doesn’t cut it for a backup on a first seeded team.
The backup for Bradley doesn’t necessarily have to shoot the lights out of the ball, either. The whole team averaged a total of 12 threes per game, which is very solid. Nicolas Batum, who can shoot from multiple positions could be a potential target, although he just signed a huge deal with Charlotte last season.
Boston is also a very popular destination for incoming free agents this season. With the likes of star players Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford, along with solid role players and young prospects like Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, and Jaylen Brown, players without a contract this next season should be slobbering over joining this roster.
One of the more popular links to join the team is Los Angeles Clippers forward, Blake Griffin.
This switch would be electrifying. The team would obviously have to take a bit of time to mesh and build chemistry, but a star in the frontcourt could mean some serious success.
Another target for the Celtics is rising all-star, Gordon Hayward, from the Utah Jazz.
Hayward is slowly rising to true stardom in the league, and being put on a super team like this possible one could mean some serious playoff runs.
The Celtics aren’t quite there yet, though. They can’t quite afford a max contract after dumping wheelbarrows of cash on Horford last season, but they could offload some larger contracts to come closer. Tyler Zeller is earning a very dramatic $8-million per year. If this salary is dumped, the Celtics could pounce on a star to send another possible banner into the rafters of TD Garden.
This squad is power hungry and ready to build a solid core and become one of the NBA’s most feared teams once again. With these adjustments, reaching the NBA Finals could be a realistic belief for the Celtics. However, playing their cards right in the draft and in free agency must be done to forge this team back into the powerhouse that it used to be.