ESPN's panel of Chad Ford, Amin Elhassan, Tom Haberstroh and Kevin Pelton used five categories to judge each team, with current players being far and away the most important factor. Boston's roster was deemed the 29th best in the league, superior to only the LA Lakers. Keep in mind this is based on expected potential over the next three years. Writes Pelton:
To improve that score, Boston will need recent draft picks Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger to take a major step in their development. Lottery pick Marcus Smart also figures to step into a larger role at point guard when -- not if -- Rondo is traded. Beyond that group, Boston is paying a lot of money to inconsistent wings Avery Bradley and Jeff Green and has young prospects with more questions than answers at this point.
As far as the other categories go, the C's place 14th in "market," 12th in "management," 9th in "money" (which includes the team's cap situation and "spending habits") and 2nd in "draft."
The one benefit we've all seen from the rebuilding process so far is the acquisition of numerous draft picks, which ranks Boston behind only the Sixers in terms of prospective draft value over the next three years.
I'd like to think the high "money" and "draft" ratings could push the Celtics above No. 24 in this poll. It'll be an enormous disappointment if Boston is still among the bottom third of the league by the end of the 2016-17 season.