Remember those children's books you read as a kid called "Choose Your Own Adventure" where you picked which direction you wanted the story to go at the end of each chapter? Well I thought it would be fun to do one with the Celtics draft. Hope you enjoy your adventure (and if you don't, maybe you should go back and choose another route).
You are the GM of the Boston Celtics. The most storied franchise in all of basketball. You watched the Big 3 grow old and made the call last summer to pull the plug on that era, but you kept an injured Rajon Rondo around and started rebuilding the team this year. You are poised with a lot of different options and choices ahead of you. The first one is a big one.
The Timberwolves are on the phone. Turns out they have a couple of deals that they are ready to pull the trigger on, but they want to know just how much they can squeeze out of you. Their last and final offer to you is Kevin Love and Kevin Martin for Brandon Bass, Kelly Olynyk, Joel Anthony, Keith Bogans, the #6 pick, the #17 pick, a future Nets pick, and the right to swap picks in a future year. Do you take that deal or walk away?
Take the deal - turn to Page 2
Turn down the deal - turn to page 3
You took the Martin contract and gave up a lot of picks, but it was all worth it to get a superstar to put next to Rajon Rondo. You follow up with a trade with the Rockets where you land Omer Asik and now you field a lineup of Rondo, Martin, Green, Love, and Asik.
Everyone fits together perfectly and the Celtics win the Eastern Conference Finals over the hated Miami Heat.
Turn to Page 6
You decided that the deal was just too rich for your blood and Love was traded to the Golden State Warriors. Now you are left with another difficult decision. Should you trade Rajon Rondo or hold onto him (risking losing him as a free agent at the end of the year.
The Kings are on the line and they've offered up the 8th pick, a future pick, Ben McLemore, and Jason Thompson for Rajon Rondo. Do you make the deal?
Make the deal - turn to page 4
Don't make the deal - turn to page 5
The tear-down of the 2008 title team is complete, but look at the haul of picks and future assets you've got. You now have 3 first rounders to use in a deep draft, and a bushel of future picks. You can even trade Jeff Green and Brandon Bass for future (protected) picks.
You roll the dice and pick a sliding Joel Embiid at 6, Aaron Gordon at 8, and Darius Saric at 17. Embiid is worth the risk, Gordon is a Swiss Army Knife of talent, and Saric is a great value to stash overseas for 2 more years.
Sure, the team is going to struggle next year, but that just means another chance at the lottery. Besides, with all these great assets, you never know what mega-trades you pull off at the deadline or next summer.
(Fast forward a couple of years)
Everything has panned out as you hoped. Embiid is a healthy, dominant center. Sullinger and Olynyk are nicknamed Thunder and Lightning for the 1-2 punch they provide. Gordon is a high energy defensive stud and has developed a reliable corner 3 point shot. Avery Bradley is an All NBA defender and consistent slasher/scorer. You picked up a decent point guard and he makes sure everyone is happy. Brad Stevens has them all moving the ball and playing elite defense like those old Spurs teams used to.
Turn to page 6
Everyone assumed that you would trade Rondo when Love went to the other coast, but like the mercurial point guard, you zigged when they though you'd zag.
You picked Aaron Gordon and Shabazz Napier with the 6 and 17th picks and draft night ended with no trades.
Rondo ended up loving playing with Gordon because of his high energy and go-get-anything-lobbed-up-there athleticism. With a clean bill of health he returned to form as an All Star point guard. Everyone else shored up their weaknesses and developed into perfect complimentary pieces as well. Sullinger becomes a lean, mean, double-double machine. Olynyk is a stretch 5 that creates mismatches on the court. And Brad Stevens has opposing coaches guessing with his innovative lineups and play calling.
Rondo becomes a free agent at the end of the year but instead of bolting, he works on recruiting additional players to come to Boston.
Turn to page 6
See, every road leads to victory. At least in my story.