The discussion of whether or not the Celtics should tank this year has been debated all through the week since the Celtics announced the blockbuster trade that sent Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets for draft picks and mostly rental players.
After debating this question with my fellow Celtics fans through message boards, I decided to do some research to compare where the Celtics rank in the Tank-O-Meter. The list is obviously subject to change since we are just entering the free agency. Also I do understand that the worst records only has the highest chance to get the top pick however it is not guaranteed.
Key Players: Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, and Anthony Bennett.
Target: Andrew Bynum or Greg Oden
The Cleveland Cavaliers appears to be ready to contend with a solid core that includes a star point guard in Kyrie Irving and if they can get an Andrew Bynum or a healthy Greg Oden plus another solid perimeter scorer, this team will be an immediate contender. If they do get an Andrew Bynum, I would look for them to maybe move one of their core players to try to get a Danny Granger or a solid number two player to go along with Irving.
10. Minnesota Timberwolves
Key Players: Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pevlovic, Derrick Williams, and Kevin Martin
Target Kevin Martin
With Love, Pevlovic, and Williams, the Timberwolves have three talented young centers and power forwards. In addition to those three, the Timberwolves appears to have their point guard of the future as well with Ricky Rubio. The addition of both Martin and Shabazz should put this team in contention, however with a deep Western conference the Timberwolves could be looking at a first round exit in the playoff.
9. Phoenix Suns
Key Players: Alex Len, Goran Dragic, and Marcin Gortat
Targets: Eric Bledsoe
The Phoenix Suns appear to be more interested in collecting talents than actually building a team. Coming into the draft the Phoenix Suns strengths were the Center position with Gortat and the Point Guard position with Dragic. After today the Suns have acquired POINT GUARD Eric Bledsoe and CENTER Alex Lin. Both players of course are exceptional talents, but how will the Suns use both Bledsoe and Len? Will Bledsoe start as a shooting guard? Although they have a solid team, the Suns are a more improved version of the Magic. They have a solid core, but are missing the franchise player to lead this team back in playoff contention.
8. Sacramento Kings
Key Players: DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, and Ben McLemore
Target: Tyreke Evans
The Sacramento Kings could possibly have the steal of the night by getting Ben McLemore with the seventh pick overall. McLemore is a terrific scorer with outstanding range on his jumper. A backcourt of McLemore and Evans could be a match up nightmare for backcourts all across the league. Plus having one of the best young big man in the league in DeMarcus Cousin also gives the Kings three young but very talented players to build on.
7. Washington Wizards
Key Players: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Otto Porter, and Okafor
Targets: Eric Maynor
The Washington Wizards are also in a great position to get one of the top picks in next year’s draft. With John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter the Wizards have a good set of young wing players and maybe adding a Julius Randle SF/PF would be the perfect fit next year. Of course if they get the first pick overall I would expect them to get Andrew Wiggins or maybe even Jabari Parker, despite having a log joam at the sf position.
6. Detroit Pistons
Key Players: Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Target: JR Smith, Tyreke Evans, Andre Iguodala, and/or Monta Ellis
With plenty of cap space the Detroit Pistons are looking to be buyers this free agency period. If they can get an Iguodala to go with Monroe, Drummond, and Caldwell-Pope the Detroit Pistons have enough solid bench players to compete night in and night out.
5. Charlotte Bobcats
Key players: Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Cody Zeller, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Targets: Al Jefferson
The Charlotte Bobcats are probably the biggest fear for any owners, GMs, fans, and everybody else with vested interest in a team. Since 2004, the Bobcats have had 7 top ten picks including the second pick overall last year when they took Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, in 2004 they took Emeka Okafor, and let’s not forget drafting Adam Morrison 3rd overall in 2006. For those of you who are opposed to "tanking" this is your perfect example that drafting high does not work every time.
If the Bobcats managed to sign Al Jefferson through the free agency, this team should be considerably better, considerably better meaning at best 10th overall in the east.
4. Boston Celtics
Key Players: Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, and Jared Sullinger
Target: Greg Oden
After a blockbuster move to send Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics changed their fate and are content to play the young guys this year to develop as well as showcase their talent. With their young core players, the Celtics can still compete and win some games. If the roster stays the same and both Rondo and Sullinger are not 100%, I do not see the Celtics winning more than 25 games next season.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
Key Players: Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders, and Brandon Jennings
Target: Long Term deal to Brandon Jennings
If the Milwaukee Bucks does not resign Monta Ellis or any of the second tier free agents, this team appears to be a strong contender for the worst record in the league. Sure Brandon Jennings can help them win games but can he do it with just Ilyasova and Sanders?
2. Orlando Magic
Key Players: PG Jameer Nelson, SG Arron Afflalo, SF Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, and Glen Davis
Targets: Eric Bledsoe
The way this team is currently structured, it appears to be one of the front runners to the Andrew Wiggins sweepstake. Tobias Harris showed promise last year with the Orlando Magic and at the age of 20 he still has room to grow. Victor Oladipo could be a great complimentary player, but this team needs more than a complimentary player in order to compete even in a weak Eastern Conference. Afflalo was rumored to be offered for Eric Bledsoe but the Clippers decided to accept an offer to get both Jared Dudley and JJ Reddick.
1. Philadelphia 76ers
Key Players: Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams, Evan Turner, and Thaddeus Young
Target: Nerlens Noel
Let’s face it if there is a team that are going all in for the number one pick this year it would be the Sixers. Trading Jrue Holiday for Nerlens Noel shows me two things. One they are completely done with the Andrew Bynum experiment and two this team is really going to suck next year. I would say barring any significant signings this team is at best a 20 win team.