No one in the world expected the Boston Celtics to make the playoffs as the seven seed in the Eastern Conference at the start of the season. It seemed to be a rebuilding season as the Celtics entered the list of teams tanking for the #1 pick. Brad Stevens entered his second season in Boston with Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green as his best players who were traded to the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies respectively. Danny Ainge tried to explode the roster to draft star talent, but Brad Stevens had his mindset on the playoffs with whoever was on the roster. The Celtics played hard every night and was able to squeak out wins just by their work ethic. Brad Stevens put them in the position to win. They made a trade to acquire Isaiah Thomas who averaged more then 20 points a game and was a star at the end of the season into the playoffs. Isaiah was the spark the Celtics needed to enter the playoffs. The Celtics ended the season getting swept in the first round of the playoffs to the Cleveland Cavaliers but the Celtics were being praised all series. Even though they lost, this was not an unsuccessful season for the Celtics. They have a core of young players missing a star to lead them in the playoffs. The Celtics will look to add three point shooting and multiple big man. They have two picks in both the first and second round. Lets see who could be in bean town next season.
PF Bobby Portis, Arkansas
Bobby Portis is a true power forward who plays with toughness. At an NBA Combine interview, he said “I’m very crazy. I play angry.” Portis’ toughness makes him NBA ready. He has a workout scheduled with the Celtics and the future of Jared Sullinger is still up in the air. Portis is a workhorse which are the type of player that thrive under Brad Stevens. He idolizes Kevin Garnett who is one of the best Celtics ever. His desire to win, work ethic, and wild attitude fits will mold well with the Boston fan base.
SF Rondae Hollis Jefferson, Arizona
The Boston Celtics met with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson during the NBA Combine. After watching this interview, I see interest. Hollis-Jefferson stands 6’9″ who is a lock down wing defender. The Celtics have zero height on the wing with Evan Turner and Jae Crowder (Needs new contract) stand 6’6″. Marcus Smart was the best defensive prospect in last years draft and Hollis Jefferson would ensure a solid defense for years to come. He said the Celtics need “One more piece” and he has the mindset to be that player.
SF Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
Brad Stevens wants shooters, and Sam Dekker can shoot. Dekker averaged 13.9 points per game shooting 33% from behind the three point line. He shot 53% from the field and 71% from the free throw line which were both career highs. He improved every season at Wisconsin and has plenty of room for improvement. Dekker makes good decisions on both sides of the court and loves to get his teammates involved. He is a smooth passer and is good at advancing the ball on the fast break. He plays like Gordon Hayward who thrived under Brad Stevens.
C Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers
After watching the Celtics get beat up down low against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, the Celtics need to address rebounding and rim protection. Those are Roy Hibbert’s specialties. The only issue is he isn’t a free agent yet. He has a $15 million player option with the Pacers. Hibbert’s decision is up in the air. At the trade deadline, the Pacers were open to trading Hibbert and the Celtics had the interest. The Celtics need to address the center position first, and if Hibbert is there they will fight to sign him.
PF Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Kevin Love came out the other day and said he had no hard feeling towards the Celtics over his shoulder being dislocated earlier in the playoffs. Love visited Boston last summer and enjoyed his time. He is a Lakers fan who is the Celtics heated rival. If the Celtics want Kevin Love they need another solid piece to convince him the Celtics can compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even if Kevin Love doesn’t sign with the Celtics, he will receive a contract offer.
SG Wesley Matthews, Portland Trail Blazers
Brad Stevens has openly said he is looking to add three point shooting and there aren’t much better behind the arc in free agency then Wesley Matthews. Before self-tearing his achilles, Matthews averaged 15.9 points per game and the Blazers struggled after he went down. Matthews would give the Celtics a true shooter who can play the two or three in smaller lineups. He would take the ease off of Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart to knock down three point shots. Matthews is a perfect fit in Boston.
This is a very important offseason for the Celtics. The Celtics have a nice core of young players, but just as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson said, the Celtics need “One more piece.” They need to find that one more piece this offseason. Brad Stevens has done a great job as head coach and gets the best out of each of his players. Danny Ainge lacks patience and looks ready to spend his money on stars. It won’t be long for the Celtics to be great again.