There are very few franchises with the glorious last of the Boston Celtics. So astounding is the Celtics past that the recent team of Pierce-Garnett-Rondo that won a World Championship and went to back to back NBA Finals is almost an afterthought. When you won a championship in every year but one in a decade (1960s) and then two decades later won three more and five conference titles, you have to do more than one measly title and two conference titles to be thought of as great.

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When names such as Russell, Cousy, Jones, Havlicek, Heinsohn, Cowens, Bird, McHale, Parish, Johnson, Pierce, are among the names associated with your team, you know your current team has a lot to live up to.

So are the Celtics close to getting back to the “Glory Days?” Are they even close to becoming a serious Eastern Conference contender? We at celticslife.com believe that at least the former is very close. Boston was 48-34 this season. Before the season started, Celtics fans would have jumped on that. Admit it.

The scary part is that there is a lot of room for improvement here. Boston was 24th in the NBA in field goal percentage and 28th in three-point field goal percentage. In this era of the three-point shot, to be that bad at shooting the trey and still be fifth in the NBA in points is pretty amazing. It makes us wonder how good this team can be if they can find a guy who can knock down a jumper.

There are pieces in place and many of them are still very young. Isaiah Thomas does not turn 30 until 2019. He averaged 22 per game this season and played in all 82 games. Avery Bradley is even younger, not turning 30 until 2020. He averaged 15 per game and played in 76 games. Jae Crowder averaged 14 per game and also doesn't turn 30 until 2020. Evan Turner averaged 10 per game and four assists and doesn't hit 30 until 2018. Jared Sullinger averaged 10 points and eight rebounds and he doesn't turn 30 until 2022!

Then you have some other very good young guys like Kelly Olynyk, Ty Zeller, Marcus Smart and Amir Johnson and you have a very young and very deep roster that could be around for a while. The Celtics even have another early draft pick in this year's first round. They pick third in the first round and could possibly being going for Israeli basketball power forward Dragan Bender, who is a better defender than Sullinger and can also knock down the three ball.

With this much young talent, you have to feel like the Celtics will only get better with experience. But they also have a lot of extra pieces that could result in some trades to get them that veteran piece that could put them over the top. Boston is also a large market team which means deep pockets should they decide to dip into the free agent market. Kevin Durant would look good in green, don't you think?

Now let's look at the competition. First in the Atlantic Division. Do the Toronto Raptors really strike fear into us? They are good, but not great. The Celtics could very well overtake them in the division. The Nets, Knicks and Sixers are all still a way off from being serious contenders.

Then look at the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers are the class of the conference, but soon Lebron James with all of these deep playoff runs on his legs, is going to decline. When that happens, who scares you in the East? Atlanta? Chicago? Miami? All of them have holes. Miami is aging rapidly. Chicago seems to have made a mistake in their head coaching hire. Also Joakim Noah looks like he may be gone soon. The Hawks may be losing Al Horford to free agency as well. In fact, Boston has been mentioned as a possible team for the two Florida Gators stars to reunite. How good would the roster look with these two All Stars added?

If the Celtics do the right things with this draft pick and in free agency, this team could be scary good. Brad Stevens looks like a genius hire at head coach. He isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Even of he does, Kevin McHale is ready to step in.

So how close are the Celtics to a return to the “Glory Days?” We think they are very close. Maybe as close as next season. Even if we aren't looking at another 60s or even 80s type run, a '00s type run would be great. And with the way things are shaping up, that looks entirely possible, if not probable. How does the thought of Celtics vs Warriors in the NBA Finals sound?

Staff 6/15/2016 01:26:00 AM Edit
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