After getting eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics head into the NBA offseason with three first-round draft picks, very few free agents, and young all-star Jayson Tatum eligible for a maximum contract. With the Eastern Conference being very competitive next year with Brooklyn’s tandem of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving returning, Philly’s new coach in Doc Rivers with a healthy Ben Simmons, and other contenders only getting better, Boston will have a challenge next season. To solidify their place as title contenders, these should be the C’s top priorities.
1. Trading at least one of their draft picks
The Celtics additions of younger talent has seemed to work in previous years when they were on the road to championship contention. Now, the Celtics are in win-now mode and still have incoming rookies. Boston holds the 14th pick (via Memphis), 26th pick, and the 30th pick (via Milwaukee).
Boston can receive a needed veteran in return for any of these picks, particularly the 14th pick. Assuming Enes Kantor ops in, he can be a valuable trade piece along with other young players such as Carsen Edwards, Tremont Waters, and Romeo Langford. Players that come to mind that they could trade for are Doug McDermott, Cody Zeller, and Thomas Bryant. If the Celtics keep any of these picks, whoever they draft will be interesting
2. Who should they draft if they keep their picks?
This NBA draft isn’t deep which is a problem for the Celtics considering two of their three picks are towards the end of the first round, and their one pick in the lottery is the last one. If the Celtics keep the 14th pick, players they should consider drafting are Saddiq Bey, Patrick Williams, Jalen Smith, and especially Aaron Nesmith.
Nesmith is the best shooter in the draft and having a consistent dead-eye off the bench would make the Celtics’s bench so much better. If the Celtics keep the 26th or 30th pick, they should draft NBA ready players. Prospects that should be considered are Tre Jones, Tyler Bey, Desmond Bane, and Xavier Tillman. These prospects will be ready to play NBA minutes for the contending Celtics.
3. Free Agency
Boston will be limited in their ability to sign players with Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and presumably Jayson Tatum all on max contracts. The Celtics also have Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis under contract along with other players on rookie deals. The Celtics aren’t flexible in their signings either.
Signing a veteran scorer is a must for Boston. DJ Augustine, Jamal Crawford, Langston Galloway, and fan favorite Isaiah Thomas are all option the Celtics should look at. Concerning the big-man position, the Celtics seem to like Daniel Theis, Robert Williams, and Grant Williams. But with the East dominated by bigs such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pascal Siakam, Joel Embiid, and Bam Adebayo, their players haven’t been and are not enough. If Boston doesn’t trade for a big, they’ll need to sign one. These players include former Celtic Aron Baynes, Chris Boucher, and Jayson Tatum’s former teammate Harry Giles.
Boston needs to make moves this offseason to compete in a competitive Eastern Conference. Their surplus of draft picks and young talent is great for the future, but the Celtics are contenders now.
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