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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Celtics Draft & Kevin Love


Celtics Draft and Kevin Love Thoughts, also Flip and Golden State Are Blowing Smoke.

            This is a huge offseason upcoming week for the Boston Celtics. What happens from now until June 26th could decide the future of this team for years to come. The Kevin Love rumors are still hot and heavy. Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green’s futures also weigh in the balance depending upon this Love situation as well. The Celtics are either going to land Love and become a playoff team, or they don’t get him and blow the whole team up and look to build through the draft. The Kevin Love saga has been a rollercoaster from the get-go as well. At first, Love to the Celtics was a dark horse thought, and then when Love visited Boston, suddenly the Celtics were the favorites to land him, but now with the recent reports that the Warriors and Nuggets have potentially better offers, the Celtics have fallen back into the pack for Love. Or have they?

            We’ll start with the Love rumors, and then move into draft talk. First off, I think that Flip Saunders is full of absolute crap right now. He continues to say that the Wolves want players in return for a Kevin Love deal. This Golden State rumor that Klay Thompson is available is hard to believe. The report is that the trade would be David Lee + Klay Thompson + GSW 1st Rd for Kevin Love + Kevin Martin. Now why on earth would either team do this trade? Golden State looks like they are getting a good deal for Love, but they are splitting up their most lethal tandem (Curry/Thompson) in the process. In my opinion, they do not gain much from this deal and still lose a first round pick in the process. As for Minnesota, this puts them absolutely nowhere. I understand that Flip wants players in return for Kevin Love, but getting Thompson and Lee is a down grade from Love and Martin. Minnesota will be stuck in a cycle of mediocrity if this deal were to go through. Not to mention the fact that Thompson and Lee would most likely leave Minny in free agency eventually anyway. Fact is if the Wolves want players in return for Love, they aren’t going to get a Durant or LeBron to make them a 50-win team. If they choose to take the players in return, they will be stuck winning 25-35 games a season and not have any prospects looking up. This is why I think the GSW rumors are crap. There is no way the Wolves wreck their future like this. The Celtics have draft picks they can offer and a good player in Sullinger who can give the Wolves a better chance to be a contender down the road. If Flip wants to take glorified role players, the Wolves will be worse off than they are now. That’s why this ‘wanting players’ rumor is crap. But, if this is crap, why is Flip leaking all of this? Driving up the price for Love.

            According to the Herald’s Steve Bulpett, the Celtics have only offered picks #6/#17 and Kelly Olynyk to the Wolves. This news now makes sense with the reports that the Celtics offer isn’t enough according to Flip. The best asset the Celtics have, outside of the #6 pick, is Jared Sullinger. They also have two Brooklyn picks in ’16 & ’18 and a swap in ’17. Flip knows about these assets, obviously, and wants to make Ainge offer them up. Ainge hasn’t even shown his full hand yet, which is why the Celtics aren’t the favorite for Love as of now. Once Thursday night rolls around, Ainge will pull off what he has to, within reason, to obtain Love. The Celtics are the obvious favorites to obtain Love with the assets they have. Flip Saunders can sit there and try to deny it all he wants, but the Celtics have the best assets to take Minnesota’s best player off their team for a second time in seven seasons. He’s in full denial and Ainge will make the necessary push to get Love if he wishes when the time comes.

            Now some fans do not want to trade for Kevin Love, because they either think Sullinger can turn into a 20/10 player or they believe that keeping the draft assets is the way to go. That, to me at least, is a very risky way to go. How many teams successfully tear it all down then come back to be a competitive force? The answer is not many. Oklahoma City got lucky that they landed a generational talent in Durant to turn their franchise around. I look to Indiana when I think of this rebuild. Indy missed the playoffs for years and slowly built their team with first round picks and finally turned a corner after years. But, once they turned that corner, they imploded and found out that the core in place wasn’t good enough to win a title. I don’t want this to happen to the Celtics. I don’t want to see them slowly get better, missing the playoffs for 3-4 years, then find out all of this rebuilding isn’t even enough to win. There’s also the rebuilding that ends up like the Cavs, Bobcats or Jazz where we are just stuck in the lottery year after year never hitting on any picks. So, unless the Celtics get lucky and land a generational player (not gonna happen), they should look to trading for Kevin Love. A core of Rondo-Love-Green isn’t a bad start and immediately makes the playoffs as a 5-8 seed in the East. Once Kevin Love is acquired the Celtics can go after other free agents or wheel and deal for another superstar (Melo?). I just feel like avoiding building through the draft is the way to go. To successfully rebuild through the draft you need a lot of luck, which I don’t like relying on.

            If the Celtics do not acquire Kevin Love for whatever reason, we need to look at their options with the #6 and #17 picks in this year’s draft. There’s also a very good chance that Rondo and Green will be moved if the C’s don’t land Love. So there could be a chance at more first round picks this draft or in future drafts. So let’s start with my big board Top 20 players overall in this draft:

1.      Jabari Parker – I love this kid. The knock on him is that he cannot score versus bigger defenders and isn’t a great defender himself. But, he is an extremetly talented scorer and there’s no denying that.
2.      Andrew Wiggins – While his athleticism and upside is really hard to deny, I haven’t fallen in love with him. He doesn’t have that ‘it’ factor to me and could turn into a Jeff Green, wildly talented player, but passive and inconsistent.
3.      Joel Embiid – His ceiling is the next Hakeem. His floor is the most recent big man lottery bust. The injuries scare me (mainly the back) and he is very raw. Very risky pick, but it could pay huge dividends down the road.
4.      Noah Vonleh – He’s another big man who is very young and raw, but his size and length are undeniable. He has already developed a solid all-around offensive game.
5.      Dante Exum – Big questions about NBA readiness, but has great size for a PG and a very good skillset to be a successful player.
6.      Marcus Smart – He’s a solid player. Nothing really special about him, outside of intensity. Good but not great at shooting, handling, IQ and defense.
7.      Zach Lavine – Reminds me a lot like Westbrook. Explosive. He needs to be a better decision maker shot wise, but has all the tools.
8.      Aaron Gordon – Freak athlete who needs to polish up his shot and post moves a lot to be a force, but overall has a lot to offer with size and athleticism.
9.      Julius Randle – He’s a beast inside and has a huge motor, but hasn’t shown reliability with the right hand and can’t stretch a D with his jumper, for now at least.
10.  Gary Harris – He’s another guy who is solid. Nothing special but everything very well. Is a knockdown shooter when left open and could turn into a very good NBA role player.
11.  Nik Stauskus – He’s got solid length for a 2-guard and is a pure shooter. Not a special athlete, but a smart offensive player.
12.  Elfrid Payton – He’s a taller PG that is very explosive off the dribble. He won’t stretch the D with a killer jumper, but can slice it apart with an attack.
13.  James Young – He is a very good shooter and scorer in general. Very underrated in my opinion. His skills and size can potentially translate into a very good wing scorer and defender.
14.  Doug McDermott – He’s a money ball shooter, which we all know. But there is serious question about his athleticism and overall quickness to play NBA ball. He will be able to hit open looks, but what else? Remains to be seen.
15.  Kyle Anderson – Has the skill and size to play PG, SG or SF which helps his value a lot. He’s not an amazing athlete, which will hurt him a little but the versatility is huge.
16.  Glenn Robinson III – He’s a freak athlete who can get out and run making highlights plays. Has a lot of room for improvement at shooting and defending, but has potential.
17.  Shabazz Napier – If he was 6’3, I would have him in the Top 7. Amazing IQ, knockdown shooter, solid defender, smart passer and great leader. The only knock is his size. He seriously does everything very well.
18.  Cleanthony Early – Has good size to play the 3-spot and is a good shooter when left open. He’s a good scorer overall, but ball control could improve.
19.  Tyler Ennis – Another PG that does everything well. Very mature for his age and is a great passer, but also knows when to take it over himself. Great potential for him.
20.  T.J Warren – He’s a gifted scorer from 2-point range that can find a weakness in any defense. Doesn’t have a 3-point shot, which is a huge negative, but can be developed. He is a natural scorer that teams will love.

With the Top 20 Big Board looked at now let’s key in on the Celtics selections at #6 and #17 and see the available options for them.

#6 Pick:
·         Joel Embiid (if he falls due to injury concern) – huge potential and fills a huge need as a rim protecting center.
·         Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh or Julius Randle – All of them are talented power forwards in their own ways which should intrigue the Celtics. Gordon and Vonleh’s upside are really hard to pass on.
·         Marcus Smart or Zach Lavine – This is a scenario in which the Celtics have traded Rondo and view these two as possible PG replacements.

#17 Pick:
·         James Young, Cleanthony Early, Glenn Robinson III or Kyle Anderson – All of these players can bring a wing scoring threat to the team if they decide to trade Green.
·         Shabazz Napier or Tyler Ennis – More PG options here if the team does move Rondo.
·         Adrien Payne – Stretch 4-man.
So after looking at all of this, my dream scenario for the C’s is getting Kevin Love for a good price and building from there, but if this cannot be obtain my dream picks for #6 and #17 would be Noah Vonleh and James Young, but obviously if Embiid falls, this situation changes. This next week is huge for the future of the franchise. Any wrong decisions and the Celtics could be stuck in mediocrity for years, but if the right moves are made, they could be contending really quickly. Hopefully Ainge makes the correct moves. Go Celtics!!
 

3 comments:

  1. Nice post. Embiid is my top choice. If the C's take him, then the medical staff says he'll be okay... I trust them enough to make that call. And if they do, then trade Rondo. Love is my #2 option, but they'd need another piece (Asik would be a fourth guy, not a third). Love is great, but not enough to get a ring. Rondo is a great PG, but flawed as a Max-guy. That means Green goes, too. And maybe Bass once Embiid gets back. Sure, we'll be trotting out the 2011 McDonalds High School All Stars, but that's not a bad thing: Napier (17), Bradley, Gordon (6), Sullinger, Embiid (3, from PHL via CLE). Bench of Olynyk, Pressey, G Wallace, some over-priced veteran shooter(s), a Brooklyn Nets voodoo doll, and a 76ers horseshoe.

    The team will be fun to watch, have a clear direction, and terrible (especially while we wait for Embiid). But we'll make noise after the All-Star break. And have LOTS of assets to strike when Ainge feels the time is right. Not to mention the LOADS of cap space for the prime free agent of 2015. Who wouldn't want to join that group?

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  2. If you have to draft based on value ratios then the Celtics won't find what they need at 6,17. As it stands right now, your starting five is Rondo, Bradley, Green, Sullinger, and really a hole at center. If you can move down at 6 and get the 8 or 9, I don't see why you don't draft Stauskas to play the 2. Heck I'd take him at 6 if I had to, because the Celtics need a 2 to either play with Bradley or replace him altogether. Drafting Stauskas, who might be the best shooter in the draft at a position of need is big. Stauskas is tall for a SG. 6'6 with surprising, but not great athleticism. Now, you need a center and you either have to trade for Asiks, or you offer a max deal to Greg Monroe and hope he takes it and Detroit doesn't match. If you trade with Houston for Asiks, you can find out what they want at 17 and/or a future draft pick next year, maybe some expiring salaries. Now you have a team that fits together.

    PG Rondo
    SG Bradley/Stauskas----this combo is perfect. Offense and defense and might keep Bradley healthy.
    SF Green---Having Stauskas on the floor will create spacing opportunities for Green.
    PF Sullinger/Olynyk---this is another inside/outside combination. Stauskas will definitely help Sullinger with his outside shooting threat.
    C Asiks---This guy will defend the rim for you and rebound. I believe his inside offensive potential would free up Sullinger and Green
    to shoot higher percentage midrange shots. Good pick and roll potential working with Rondo.

    Getting Monroe would require Ainge to make an offer big enough to entice Monroe and at the same time discourage Detroit from matching. If Detroit is able to sign Monroe they could do a trade then. It looks like that won't happen and the team offering Monroe the most will get his services if Detroit decides it's too rich for their blood.

    I am not in favor of overhauling this team. This team just needs players who FIT together. The talent is mostly there already. Getting a big defensive center and outstanding shooter in the draft is exactly what this team needs. If you were to trade Bass and get a backup PG who could really shoot that would be another asset to look for. I think the key to next year is to get the outside shooting and create some space for Green especially. This is not the draft to get athleticism so much as its a draft to get shooting and create spacing with the players this team already has.

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  3. Josh (Anonymous Poster #1)June 23, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Poster #2, you're right... that team fits together... but that's not a championship team. Rondo is not a #1 player on a championship team (and I like Rondo). Green is at his ceiling (even though it should be higher). This would be a nice starting 5 to *maybe* be a 4-6 seed every year -- with or without Monroe. That's not what Ainge is going for.

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