We’ve spent months guessing what the Celtics might do during tonight’s NBA Draft, and we haven’t made much progress. As recently as yesterday, people who cover the team for a living talked to sources with opposing viewpoints on the matter.
“You’ve got to get Love,” said one Western Conference scout. “You could argue or suggest that you roll the dice on Andrew Wiggins being an All-Pro or Joel Embiid being the next dominant center, but you can’t argue that anybody at 6 and 17 will be better than what Kevin Love.”
In that same story, another scout told the Globe’s Baxter Holmes: “I would draft the two players. First off, why is Kevin Love going to sign in Boston? Why would he go there and sign an extension? For what reason? So he can play with [Rajon] Rondo? Seriously?”
So basically, minus the fact that the Celtics currently hold the No. 6 pick in the lottery, we’re no closer to knowing what will happen tonight than we were in March or April.
Rather than bring us closer to answers, what the last two months of analysis and speculation has done is driven Celtics fans into a frenzy. Who could blame them? Celtics managing partner Wyc Grousbeck stirred the drink earlier this year when he announced on sports talk radio that “fireworks” were coming this summer. Rumored to be on the trading block, Kevin Love took a trip to Boston and was spotted at a Red Sox game with Rondo and Rob Gronkowski. Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James opted out of their contracts. The natural question for Celtics fans is, “Why can’t we get guys like that?”
The Celtics have a ton of draft picks to make something happen, but there’s been an undue amount of attention on Love in particular and a handful of other superstar names. It’s as if we’ve learned nothing from the San Antonio Spurs, who won the NBA title just 11 days ago without the help of any big-time free agents they signed in the last year or two.
I’m convinced Grousbeck was being truthful when he hinted at big things to come this summer, but Celtics fans need to adjust their expectations for what that might be. Love is not the only answer (is that even a song lyric?), though he may end up walking through that door later this summer. A more likely scenario is that Danny Ainge and crew use all those draft picks to make other kinds of noise tonight. Ainge’s penchant for playing down this draft publicly has me convinced he really, really likes some of these guys. I could easily envision the Celtics moving up in the draft and also trying to get another lottery pick.Rather then trade out, I think the Celtics will stock up.
It might not all happen tonight, either. It’s easy to forget how disappointed Celtics fans were when the team traded the rights to Jeff Green for Ray Allen in 2007. Fans wanted “fireworks” then, too, and Allen was seen as a secondary piece. The Kevin Garnett trade didn’t happen until July 31, a month after free agency began. There was a lot of time there to second-guess Ainge, and most of us did.
Knowing that many of the fireworks can happen later this summer, what I don’t want to see tonight is inaction. I don’t want to see the Celtics use the No. 6 pick and No. 17 pick and do nothing else. I don’t want to see them sit on all their picks and tell us to be patient, because given the stockpile there’s room for action now and action later.
I don’t want to see them trade Rajon Rondo, either. People seem to be on board with the idea of shipping Rondo off to the Kings for the No. 8 pick, and that would be selling him way short. The No. 1 pick, maybe. But given the lack of enthusiasm fans have shown for the guys at No. 6, you don’t trade your best player for a shot at guys two picks lower.
What’s going to happen tonight? I have no idea. I just hope it’s something. A lot of somethings would be even better.