Celtics Head into Offseason with High Hopes
WALTHAM, Mass. – The Boston Celtics’ season came to an end Thursday night, but the grind has just begun for the organization’s front office as it prepares for what is expected to be a very active offseason.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge and his crew have many avenues they can explore this summer that will allow them to upgrade the C’s roster and continue on their path toward Banner 18.
The first opportunity will arise on June 23 at the NBA Draft, during which the C’s are scheduled to make a league-high eight selections. Because it has such an abundance of picks, Boston has already begun pre-Draft workouts with the hope of evaluating as many prospects as possible before Draft Night.
“I think the challenge is finding the ones that separate themselves, but there’s a lot of kids that are on the bubble of making it or not making it in the NBA,” Ainge said Wednesday afternoon after hosting six potential draftees for a workout at the team’s training facility in Waltham, Mass. “We’re looking for guys that are a fit for what we need, a fit for how we play, and for those players that have a chance to be special.”
Since the eight picks are scattered across the board – potentially ranging anywhere from No. 1 to No. 58 – the C’s will have a wide variety of talent come through their doors over the next month and a half.
“Often when you’re in the middle or the latter part of the first round, you don’t get to evaluate fully the top players in the Draft,” said Ainge. “But with eight picks in this year’s draft, we have a full range of players that we have the opportunity to see. So our draft workouts will be much busier this year than ever before.”
The Draft, however, is just one of three ways the C’s can enhance their team this summer. Boston can also look to add a star via free agency and/or trade, and their wide selection of draft picks could certainly help them explore both of those avenues.
Given that Boston made great strides during the regular season, finishing tied for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, it is compelled to take full advantage of all potential opportunities as it looks to become a title contender.
“We have plenty of urgency,” said Ainge. “Brad (Stevens) wants to win, Isaiah (Thomas) wants to win, Avery (Bradley) wants to win. We all want to win and we all want to be contenders. That’s everyone’s objective.”
With that being said, the Celtics must also be patient during this process and not let that urgency cause them to make rash decisions. Ainge says their planning must be acute.
“We have no guarantees of great things happening; we just have a lot of hope,” said Ainge. “We have a lot of work ahead of us and we have to have Plan A through Z. Usually it’s Plan A through G, but we have A through Z this year to have an opportunity to upgrade our team.”
For the time being, those plans are up in the air due to the unpredictability of the Draft Lottery and Draft Night
If the ping pong balls fall in the C’s favor on May 17 during the Lottery, their odds of landing a top talent via the Draft or trade will be greatly enhanced. Boston has a 46.9 percent chance of landing a top-three pick.
“My expectations are high this offseason, and yet I also know it takes good fortune,” said Ainge. “We need the ping pong balls to bounce our way to give us the best opportunity, whether we use that pick or whether we trade that pick, and then in free agency we’ll have opportunities.”
Over the next few months the front office members will be hard at work, weighing those opportunities, with the hope of making a huge splash and advancing the organization along its path to title contention.