As far as the rebuild goes, Danny Ainge has only done the easy part ("One empty lot")

What's missing from this picture?

Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston wrote a great article the other day in which he compared what Danny Ainge has accomplished with the Celtics rebuilding process to a story called "One Red Paperclip."  The quick version of the story is a guy started with a paperclip and kept trading it for better things until he ended up with a house in Saskatchewan.

In Forsberg's analogy, the house in Saskatchewan is the equivalent of a title-contending team.  All of these little moves that Ainge is making are similar to each of the many trades the Canadian guy pulled off along the way (first it was the paperclip for a pen, then the pen for a doorknob, etc.).  They seem minor and insignificant at the moment and there's no clear course for where they're headed, but each deal is a small step in the right direction.

There's only one problem: Not every paperclip grows into a house in Saskatchewan.  The league has 30 teams who all want to be contenders.  The vast majority of them fail most of the time.

In the past year-and-a-half Ainge has made the Celtics much younger, amassed far more than his fair share of draft picks and created significant salary cap flexibility.  Is it progress?  Absolutely.  But it's also the easy part.  The hard part is turning all that into quality NBA talent.

Let me offer up a different analogy that seems a little more realistic: I'll call it "One empty lot."

The championship Celtics of 2008 were a very nice house.  However, the house eventually got old and started to fall apart.  Short-term repairs were made in an effort to extend the life of the house, but eventually it was no longer habitable.  The old house was torn down, clearing room for a fancy new one.

That's where the Celtics are at right now.

A clean, empty lot is obviously a good start, but there's still a long way to go before you have a house to live in.

Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan