We are closing in on D-Day in the NBA, and we will soon have our first look at the future state of the Boston Celtics. After weeks of speculation about the direction that Danny Ainge plans to take the franchise, we get to examine the blueprints ourselves, at least the plans as they pertain to the 2012 NBA Draft. Will Ainge stand pat and select two players with the picks at 21 and 22? Will he bundle the picks to move up? Will he go big? Athletic? Will the Celtics end up with Royce White, as everyone seems to believe, or will the C’s shock everyone and somehow position themselves to take Austin Rivers, as most within the organization sternly deny?
It’s hard to say with any degree of certainty, because I don’t think Ainge himself knows at this point. I’m sure he has scenarios in place, and that he’s applied some sort of weight to each, but my guess is that Ainge will counterpunch his way through this draft, take what the defense gives, etc. Choose your favorite metaphor or analogy. Unless Ainge has a major draft day trade in the works, he will sit and wait his turn and select the players he feels has the best chance to help this team improve.
But either way, we will get our first look behind the curtain at our future state Boston Celtics, and we can then speculate even further – will this be an extreme makeover or simply a home improvement?
The draft will only give us a glimpse, of course, and nothing more. The real indication of what Ainge has planned starts and ends with Kevin Garnett. If KG returns you can bet that Ainge is strictly in home improvement mode, and will be adding pieces to give the C’S another shot at a championship. If Garnett retires, then all bets are off. The Celtics suddenly have the look of a franchise on the prowl for an extreme makeover.
Both scenarios are intriguing. In home-improvement mode, Garnett stays and there is a sliver of a chance the Ray Allen remains a Celtic. If so, we’re looking at building out from within, with Jeff Green the obvious starting point. In extreme makeover mode, KG and Allen are both gone, Green is still the focal point from a free agent perspective, and the Celtics look to sign a mix of players from outside and from within. Trades are potentially part of both paths, but the Celtics currently have only four players under contract. Hard to pull off trades when you don’t have the chips to bargain with.
Tomorrow is that first step in one of these two directions. It’s a baby step, but at least we’re on our way. So whether it’s Royce White, Moe Harkless, Jared Sullinger or even Austin Rivers, I’m good with it. At least we’ve got an infusion of youth and hope for the future. And we can also begin to chart our course for one more big run, if that’s the way this thing plays out, or we can scrap it all, reboot and hope the new structure is eventually better than what we’ve just torn down.