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Boston Celtics (Last Year: 50-32)
Live 2010 NBA Draft Grades:
Celtics Overall Team Grade
With the Boston window to win a championship slowly closing (or so you would think), bringing in an NBA-ready talent would have been a wiser choice to help this team win. But Bradley could develop into a very good player and the Celtics felt the risk was worth it at No. 19. Harangody will fight to find minutes behind Kevin Garnett and Big Baby next season so we will have to wait a couple of years to see the true impact of this draft class. (Grade: C)
19. Avery Bradley, G, Texas
Even though this is whom I had the Celtics taking in my mock, I think Boston would have been better off getting an NBA-ready player like Damoin James or James Anderson than taking a prospect who will need to develop into a point guard to reach his true potential. Especially when Rajon Rondo is in house. (Pick Grade: Don’t Get It)
52. Luke Harangody, PF, Notre Dame
From the Irish to the Celtics; fitting isn’t it? Harangody is not a great athlete and doesn’t have the typical NBA attributes but he will play hard and hit open jump shots. With Rasheed Wallace rumored to be retiring, ‘Gody could actually see minutes right away. (Pick Grade: Makes Sense)
2009-10 Season Summary:
Heading into the postseason, nobody gave the Celtics a real shot. They limped into the playoffs, losing eight of their last 13 games and finishing with their worst regular season record since the arrival of the Boston Three Party. Many experts weren’t even giving them a chance in their first-round matchup against the Heat, picking Miami to upset the higher seed. Instead, the Celtics picked the perfect time to put it all together, knocking off the Heat in the opening round and then impressively scoring back-to-back upset series victories against the Cavs and Magic before falling just short of the NBA title, losing to the Lakers in seven games.
We learned a few things about the Celtics this season. The window is closing, but certainly not completely shut for Boston. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are all entering their mid-30s and on the downside of their careers, but still know how to get the job done. Of course, without blossoming superstar Rajon Rondo running the show, that likely would not be the case. Rondo emerged into one of the most talented and exciting point guards in the league demonstrated by his 29-point, 18-rebound, 13-assist outing against the Cavaliers in Game 4 of their playoff series. While the Big 3 brought the experience and intangibles to the court, it was Rondo who sparked the postseason run and holds the keys of the franchise’s future in his hands.
2010-11 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Shaquille O’Neal/Jermaine O’Neal/Kendrick Perkins/Rasheed Wallace (expected to retire)
PF: Kevin Garnett/Glen Davis/Luke Harangody
SF: Paul Pierce/Marquis Daniels
SG: Ray Allen/Von Wafer/Avery Bradley
PG: Rajon Rondo/Nate Robinson
NBA Free Agents:
PF Brian Scalabrine (UFA)
F Marcus Landry (UFA)
SF Michael Finley (UFA)
G/F Tony Gaffney (UFA)
2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $81.8 million
2010-11 League Salary Cap: $58 million
NBA Offseason Needs:
1. Re-sign Ray Allen- Here is the deal: The Celtics cannot afford to find a reasonable replacement for Ray Allen who is an unrestricted free agent this summer since they are already over the cap. Therefore, they have to re-sign Allen who can still light it up from deep even though he’ll turn 35 in July. Allen might be tempted to flee Boston for one of the teams with a ton of cap space, but will likely remain with the Celtics as long as the price is right.
2. Lock up Paul Pierce- Pierce has a player option on the final year of his contract worth more than $21.5 million. He will likely choose to return to Boston but then would become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Management needs to try and lock Pierce up by signing him to a contract extension even though it will cost a pretty penny. Pierce will turn 33 before the season begins but still has plenty left in the tank and should want to stay with the Celtics in hopes of winning another title.
3. Role Players- Assuming Allen re-signs, Boston will probably be near $20-some million over the cap once you add on their first-round pick to their salary, yet only eight players under contract for next season. That leaves little to no flexibility this offseason to find solid role players who can help bring energy off the bench and allow Garnett, Pierce, Allen, and Wallace to not play a ton of minutes during the regular season so they are rested for a playoff run. Management will have to get creative in surrounding their core with enough talent to get the job done, hopefully landing a few veterans for the minimum who are hoping to win a title and use their mid-level exception wisely to fill out their roster.
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