So the Celtics are out of the playoffs. That’s no surprise.
The fact that Boston even made the playoffs as the 7-seed is a bit of a shock in and of itself, and all you have to do is take a look at the roster to see why. There are no All-Stars on this Celtics team – not this season, and probably not in future seasons. They don’t have a dominant big man, and they don’t have a dependable go-to scorer.
They traded their once-star point guard and frustrating swingman during the season – and got better.
The Celtics have one thing going for them going forward: Brad Stevens. He took a team low on talent and made them believers in him and in one another. But Stevens is not a miracle-maker. He’s going to need more talent around him one way or the other if the C’s want to get back to title contention.
So how do they improve? Here are some big needs:
First thing’s first: hero ball seems to be out in the NBA. Sure, you’ve got your Lebrons and Westbrooks and Hardens this year, but generally speaking, team basketball is in. Floor spacing, swinging the ball, being “multiple” (to use a football term) on both ends is where it’s at. The C’s need a swingman-type who can take control at times and defend all over. Unfortunately, the best fits for Boston will be restricted free agents - San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, and Golden State’s Draymond Green – and it’s doubtful they’ll leave their current teams. Though also restricted, they could pry Tobias Harris from Orlando. Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll is an unrestricted option, though not the star Boston needs.
Who’s gonna score?
Just like it would be a dream come true to land Leonard or Green at forward, it would be a dream to land Chicago's Jimmy Butler at the two-guard. But Butler is also a restricted free agent, and even if C’s offer him the max (they would have to) it’s likely Chicago matches. But there are lots of more attainable shooting guards out there. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year, Lou Williams, from the Raptors, the Trail Blazers' Wes Matthews, and the Spurs’ Danny Green are all strong options. Matthews could come at a discount after his season-ending ruptured Achilles injury, and Stevens has mentioned his name a couple times this season.
Boston’s need for big men is obvious. Unfortunately, the three best centers hitting unrestricted free agency are almost certainly staying put – Memphis’ Marc Gasol, L.A.’s DeAndre Jordan, and San Antonio’s Tim Duncan. Greg Monroe is an intriguing option out of Detroit, though. As for power forwards, Kevin Love will remain a target until he signs his next deal. Also keep your eye on the situation in Portland with LaMarcus Aldridge. And one would think Atlanta’s Paul Millsap would love Boston.