The love affair with the Boston Celtics is very real.
For starters Isaiah Thomas gets selected to his first All-Star game, showing the nation that we have at least one of the best players in the NBA. Then, we land a big-fish free agent, which no one believed we could do, in Al Horford.
And most recently with our third pick in the 2016 Draft we take Jaylen Brown out of Cal - an unfinished product with a high ceiling and lofty expectations.
Now, in the latest ESPN NBA Power Rankings from Marc Stein, the Celtics come in No. 6, behind only the Cavaliers and the Raptors in the Eastern Conference. Stein said of Boston:
Restlessness among Celtics fans is tangible, but we're not quite sure why. Boston officially left the Free Agents Never Choose Us club with the marquee signing of Al Horford and still has lots of trade chips to put into play. I'd venture to say most teams out there would trade places with Danny Ainge, whose Celts -- don't forget -- also still happen to reside in the East. Life is pretty good in green.
Taking into account that our offseason consisted of letting go of only two players in Evan Turner and love/hate child Jared Sullinger, picking third in the draft after making the playoffs as the fifth seed (after a bogus tie breaking scenario with Atlanta and Miami), and signing Al Horford, it's no wonder analysts around the league are seeing Boston as a major threat to make noise in the East.
The strong moves also landed the Celtics fifth on David Aldridge's Offseason Top 10 rankings via NBA.com. He said of the team:
The Celtics took a whack at Durant, and they came close (they believe). But if they didn't land the biggest fish, they pulled in quite a whopper anyway with Horford, who turned down a chance to (maybe) play with KD in Oklahoma City for a sure thing in Boston with a young and improving squad. Horford brings all kinds of good things to Boston -- offensive versatility, strong rebounding, playmaking, veteran leadership, and a welcome pressure valve for a team that still seems guard-heavy. (Still on the roster: Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Jackson, R.J. Hunter, James Young. All but Thomas and Jackson were first-rounders. You can justify this by saying we're in the small-ball era all you like; someone's not going to play nearly as much as they want, and that rarely ends well.) But Danny Ainge now has one star player in tow with Horford, an All-Star guard in Isaiah Thomas and role players galore. Getting Horford makes up for, once again, not being able to turn multiple first-round picks into an established star. Ainge kept all three firsts and took California's Brown, a precocious freshman talent, after the Philadelphia 76ers took Ben Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers took Brandon Ingram. Boston's depth means Brown won't have to flash right away. Ainge just keeps making the roster a little better, year after year. As long as coach Brad Stevens keeps maximizing the talent and keeps making the playoffs, Ainge still has time to land Moby Dick.
With training camp beginning this week, we finally get to see fruits of our offseason all together on one court. Remember, anything is possible.
Photo credit: Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images
Follow Luis on Twitter @luisdgnyc Luis Gonzalez 9/24/2016 12:52:00 PM Tweet Edit