For the first time in franchise history, the Boston Celtics hold the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. It’s safe to say the 2016-17 Celtics season was a success. I’ve been a tough critic of the post ’08 Celtics organization and its roster, but they exceeded everyone’s expectations.
This roster’s glaring issues became exposed to the rest of the world by the Cavaliers in the three home games in the East Finals. The C’s were blown out at home, as was my concern, be competitive but don’t get blown out at home. If these issues with the roster aren’t addressed this summer, it will plague the legacy of the Stevens Era.
The upcoming draft will make or break the ascension the team has enjoyed since Stevens’ arrival in 2013.
You may hire all the great basketball coaches in the world to lead your organization, but in the NBA, the bottom line will always be that you need Superstars to win rings. Popovich needed Duncan, Auerbach needed Russell, and the four schmucks that coached LeBron in his previous Finals appearances needed him to win on basketball’s grandest stage.
The 2016 C’s climbed to the top of a weak Eastern Conference and earned the top seed in the playoffs. Now, they have secured the No. 1 pick which should push the Celtics into a team that is a real contender instead of being a championship pretender.
For the eighth season in a row and the 30th time in 31 years, a banner will not be raised in the Garden this fall. The team was emasculated in its last three (playoff) games at home versus the Cavaliers, and our “best player” is the size of an average American male in a big man’s league.
Despite the peaks of this past season, the Celtics now have an opportunity to narrow the talent gap with the NBA’s top teams. All reports are pointing to the Celtics drafting Markelle Fultz out of the University of Washington No. 1 overall. He is coming to Boston this week to meet the Celtics brass, take a physical and workout for Danny Ainge and his staff. If they do what everyone expects and draft Fulltz No. 1, he better be a transcendent player or the Celtics will remain one wrong move away from NBA mediocrity.