With the Celtics currently being in the 2nd seed right behind Cleveland, the Celtics think that they have a shot at landing the 1st seed, and so should everyone else. Think about it, the Celtics right now basically has the golden ticket. With the Brooklyn Nets struggling again this season, the Celtics are now more likely to land the 1st Overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Why the Nets? Well, back in 2013 when the Celtics traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Peirce to the Nets, who handed over the right to swap first rounders for the 2017 NBA Draft. Along with first round draft picks for 2014, 2016, and 2018. Ridiculous right?
It’s like Danny Ainge knew this would happen. The Boston Celtics right now are in a great position, with being 2nd in the East and with holding a highly protected pick. That is exactly where Danny Ainge and the Celtics want to be at. The Celtics are doing amazing with their current roster, but there still can be some work done. With the Celtics having a 2 time All-Star in Isaiah Thomas and also acquiring the veteran 4-time All-Star Al Horford in the past offseason, the Celtics are just one off to form a big three.
The Celtics are turning heads around the NBA with a number of assets they have. Who does the C’s need? Well, a star rim protector and a go-to shooter. Who can the Celtics acquire before the deadline? If the Celtics go with the rim protector they can deal for Dallas Mavericks Center Andrew Bogut or the Orlando Magic big man Serge Ibaka. If the Celtics are interested in dealing for either of them, the Celtics may not need to give the Brooklyn pick away, which can put them in an impressive position.
If Boston goes for the go to shooter, they can deal for the Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler, or the Indiana Pacers star Paul George. If the Celtics acquire either one of these star players, the Celtics will officially have a big three and officially by a contending team, and also the most competitive team the Cavaliers will have to face in the Eastern Conference, which can possibly put them in the NBA Finals.
For Boston, a go-to shooter would make a big difference in how they’ll play. They already have a big man in Al Horford who can shot block and also other contributing big men in Amir Johnson, Tyler Zeller, and Kelly Olynyk. Jimmy Butler has already been linked to the Celtics for a while, especially at the draft last year when Boston held the 3rd overall pick. Paul George would be interesting but can absolutely fit in head coach Brad Stevens’s system. George is a legit superstar and can take over games. Currently averaging 22.5 PPG and 6.1 RPG, he also signed for another 2 years with a salary under $20M per year, which is a cheap price for a superstar in today’s NBA world. Acquiring either one of these superstars, Boston must give the Brooklyn pick away and also, most likely some important assets they have on the current roster like guard Avery Bradley, who made the First NBA All-Defensive Team.
Bradley has been out for the Celtics for 2 weeks, and won’t return until after the All-Star break. With Bradley out the Celtics have been doing just fine with a record of (10-5), a 7 game winning streak also contributing to that as well. Here is the projected starting lineup for the Celtics if they were to acquire either Butler or George.
PG Isaiah Thomas
SG Jimmy Butler
SF Jae Crowder
PF Al Horford
C Amir Johnson
For Boston, an experienced big man would make more sense. Boston already has great shooters in Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder. All of which can shoot the three, which can be a difference maker especially how the game is being played today. Crowder increasing his 3P% to now a .415, being compared to last season when he was at .336. Big man Al Horford can also shoot the three and spread the floor. Acquiring another big man would make the Celtics high in the backcourt and high in the front court.
Other teams facing the Celtics would be looking at an All-Star PG Isaiah Thomas who leads the NBA in most points in the 4th quarter, and an SG in Avery Bradley who is one of the most elite defensive players in the NBA. But that’s not all, teams would also be facing the twin towers in Al Horford and Andrew Bogut or Serge Ibaka. If Boston would make a blockbuster trade, it would be for a big man. Here is the projected lineup if Boston acquires a big man before the deadline.
PG Isaiah Thomas
SG Avery Bradley
SF Jae Crowder
PF Al Horford
C Serge Ibaka