Where do we go from here?
With July 1 less than two months away, the Celtics will soon get into their second year of rebuilding (or deconstruction). But first those of us faithful to the green have to think about the draft. Since the Celtics chances of drafting Emeka Okafor or Dwight Howard are about as good as Jamal Mashburn's chances of playing an 82 game season, the draft is going to be one big gamble for them. Last season, Ainge gambled on Banks and Perkins, with Hunter as an afterthought.
Marcus Banks showed some promise, especially during the last few games of the regular season, but was slightly disappointing. Hopefully he will continue to improve his outside game and shot selection and blossom into an offensive PG. He also needs to work on his passing and offensive awareness along with learning to create for his teammates. He may never be a Jason Kidd or Bob Cousy, but he could become a strong attacking PG not unlike Stephon Marbury.
Kendrick Perkins minutes were few and far between so he still remains much of a mystery to most of us fans. If you listened to Tom Heinsohn at all, you heard about what a nice kid he is and how he works so hard in practice. Let's all hope this is true, and that he continues to improve his game and conditioning enough to get some real playing time next season.
If Brandon Hunter continues to improve, he should be a solid backup at the 3/4 for the C's. While he's not the ideal height for a 4 these days, he should fare alright so long as he learns how to use his superior strength to box out and grab up rebounds. If he develops a low post game and learns how to score around taller defenders, he could earn a starting job on the team.
When you take into account the fact that Mark Blount is almost 99% certain to be wearing some color other than green next season, it looks like Raef Lafrentz will be in the C's starting lineup. Let's hope he can deliver the 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 3-4 blocks that he has proved himself capable of.
Jiri Welsch should be feeling better next season as well, since the summer will give his thumb a chance to heal. He is quite possibly the only definite good thing to come out of Ainge's meddling last season and definitely showed signs that he has the potential to become a serious player in the league. What ever happened to Ainge wanting to turn Jiri into a PG? With a little improvement in his ball handling, it could work. It seems like big guards are starting to become the new trend in the league. He should be interchangeable at the 2/3 with Ricky D and the Truth, so long as neither of them are involved in any trades this summer.
I can see it now: "Ainge trades Paul Pierce for Pat Garrity and Grant Hill." God, I sure hope I'm wrong about that one. It'd be real nice if Ainge took a lesson from Kevin McHale, who managed to land Sam Cassell for a song (sung by Joe Smith and Anthony Peeler).
Back to the draft. With little money likely to be available this summer, the draft is the C's biggest hope. A few good players should still be around for the Celtics 15th, 24th, and 25th picks. Let's hope Ainge delivers this year, and doesn't tie up roster space with more projects.
Pavel Podkolzine is 7'3" and 300 pounds, but only plays 12 minutes per game. All that size sure is tempting, but it's highly doubtful he'll blossom into another Shaq. At best he's another Eddy Curry. At worst... well, do you remember Bruno Sundov?
Luke Jackson joins Jason Kidd and Loren Woods as the only Pac-10 players to record multiple triple-doubles in their career. He seems to be a talented player that can play a few different positions. Unfortunately, those positions are the same as Paul Pierce, Jiri Welsch, and Ricky Davis.
Sebastian Telfair is Stephon Marbury's little cousin, but would it be worth it to take on another developing PG who'll have to compete with Banks and Atkins for playing time?
The Celtics could possibly package Ricky Davis with their 15th pick and try to move up in the draft. It'd definitely be worth it if they got Okafor or Howard, but let's also remember that Paul Pierce was drafted 10th, Kobe was drafted 13th, and Ben Wallace wasn't drafted at all.
Well, I've run out of steam.