Goodbye Past; Hello Future: Welcome to Tankapalooza! Part 1

Fresh off of one of the most emotional nights I’ve ever witnessed as a Celtics fan, I think it is a good time to take a look at the imagescurrent state of the franchise.  Last night gave me a bit of closure realizing Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are no longer Boston Celtics.  I fully admit tears were shed seeing Paul pierce’s video tribute at the end of the first quarter.  Pierce was drafted when I was 13 years old.  He carried the franchise for those 15 years he wore Green.  He was given some assistance in 2007 and finally got his much deserved championship ring.

Now, the Celtics organization is trying to avoid another long championship draught.  In order to be good in the NBA, your team has to be horrendous for at least one year.    Danny Ainge is well aware of this.  He traded Pierce, Garnett, and Jason Terry for 3 first round draft picks, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and Keith Bogans.  Only Humphries remains on the active roster.  Ainge also traded Doc Rivers to the Clippers for a first round pick.  In the middle of the season, Ainge traded Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks for draft picks.  Ainge traded Courtney Lee for Jerryd Bayless to create cap space.  The previous paragraph can be summed up in three words: Welcome to Tankapalooza!

The Celtics have 2 guaranteed first round picks in the 2014 draft.  If the 76ers manage to make the playoffs, the Celtics will get their first round pick, too.  The Celtics have their own first round pick which very well could land in the top 5.  They then have the Brooklyn Nets pick from the KG/Pierce trade.  At the time of this writing that pick is in the range of 15-18.  By the end of the season, I believe the pick would be around 20th overall.  I do not expect the 76ers to make the playoffs.  If they do, they will surely be the 8 seed in the East meaning the Celtics would have the 15th pick overall.

The Celtics are likely to have a top 5 pick in this draft.  With that pick, the Celtics are looking at names like Parker, Wiggins, imagesEmbiid, Smart, and Randle.  The Celtics plan going forward appears to be building a team around Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger.  If that is the mindset, they are in need of a shooting guard, small forward, and center.  The Celtics should concentrate on Jabari Parker as their prime target in the upcoming draft.  Obviously if he is selected ahead of where the Celtics pick, they will need some sort of contingency plan.  Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid are not bad fall back options.  The Celtics do not need Marcus Smart or Julius Randle because they already have Rondo and Sullinger.

Here is a look at the top 5 prospects in the draft:

Jabari Parker  18.7 PPG    8.0  RPG  1.4 APG

I think Parker is the best all around player in this year’s draft pool.  Yes, I am assuming he is coming out of college after his freshman year despite numerous reports he wants to stay at Duke for 1 more year so he can play with Jahlil Okafor. Parker is 6’8 235 and compares favorably to Carmelo Anthony.  My dream scenario involves Rondo, Sullinger, and Parker.  In the games I have seen this season, Parker has exhibited an ability to get the rim at will.  He has a pure jump shot.  He is shooting 47% from the field and 38% from deep.

Andrew Wiggins 15.8 PPG  6.0 RPG  1.6 APGuntitled

Wiggins has been criticized all season for not being flashy or putting up eye-popping numbers.  These criticisms are unfair because of the expectations Wiggins faced coming into the season.  I will admit Wiggins has shown a propensity for disappearing in some games.  But at the end of the day Wiggins’s talent is undeniable.  He has had a few games where his stats jump off the score sheet.  He had 26 and 11 against #19 Florida, 17 and 19 against #8 Iowa State, and most recently 27, 5 and 5 against TCU.

Joel Embiid  11.2 PPG  7.4 RPG  2.8 BPG

Embiid has skyrocketed up the expert’s mock draft lists.  The 7’0 250 pound center from Cameroon is a raw talent. Most scouts will tell you, one can not be taught size.  Embiid is a big body who does a great job of protecting the rim and cleaning the glass.  He has a tendency of getting into foul trouble, but as he learns the game, that deficiency should go away. Embiid is a raw project who won’t necessarily help an NBA team right away, but could be a productive center for 10-15 years when his career is done.  He is 3rd on my most wanted list for the Celtics.  While I don’t hate the idea of Rondo, Sullinger, and Embiid I don’t like the lack of offense this lineup presents.

In my next post, I will look at the Celtics trade options with their current roster, their potential picks with their 2nd pick of the first round, and free agency.

 

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

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