Apologies for abandoning post during the playoffs. I have a romantic notion of my departure as a Howard Hughes type of bender, seeking to immerse myself in the intensity of the first round. That’s basically what happened, but the series ended in a 4-2 loss, which felt worse than just a punch to the gut. Isaiah got double-teamed on every pick-n-roll, and no one was able to step up as a #2 option.
The Cs got exposed.
This, coupled with the Cavaliers-Warriors Finals, teaches us all a valuable lesson about how the Celtics need to proceed. I’ll say it for the umpteenth time, “The foundation is in place.” All they have to do is move/acquire a few pieces.
The draft is in two days. Are we keeping the #3 pick, let alone 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51 and 58? We need more established talent now, and no one in this draft can provide that. Dragan Bender could be the next star out of Europe, but needs at least a year to develop. Kris Dunn has All-Star potential, but won’t be drafted by the Cs unless he, or Avery/Marcus/Terry is subsequently traded. Same goes for Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield.
We’re better off trading the pick for a player. Names have ranged all over, from Jahlil Okafor to Jimmy Butler. Butler, of course, is the ideal acquisition. He played like an MVP for a couple months last year, before settling down as just an All-Star caliber player. To get him, though, would require everything plus the kitchen sink. Say, #3 and #16, Avery, Terry and Jonas. And that’s just a start.
On the other hand, reports are surfacing about how Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel aren’t as valuable as Philly thought they were. If Boston can get rid of #3 for either of them straight up (or with the right player or two), that’s a quality move.
Having the #3 pick is a luxury most teams would love to have. Unfortunately for the Cs, it just isn’t the most appealing asset in 2016. Plus no one wants to trade with Danny after all of his recent heists. If Charlotte wouldn’t take five picks for the #9 last year, can you imagine the luck he’s been having this time around?
I have faith Danny will trade the pick. If he does, the Cs are better immediately. If he doesn’t, we’ll land a quality prospect, and may or may not feel ripple effects within the roster. One way or another, the first domino falls on Thursday.