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ESPN NBA Insiders: Celtics rank 24th in future rankings

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ESPN's Chad Ford, Amin Elhassan, Tom Haberstroh and Kevin Pelton took a look at the three-year futures of all thirty NBA teams and forecast a pretty grim rebuild for Boston.

Alex Trautwig

Here's the skinny from Kevin Pelton et. al.:

Our panel certainly isn't sold on the Celtics' talent, ranking the team 29th in players. To improve that score, Boston will need recent draft picks Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger to take a major step in their development. Lottery pick Marcus Smart also figures to step into a larger role at point guard when -- not if -- Rondo is traded. Beyond that group, Boston is paying a lot of money to inconsistent wings Avery Bradley and Jeff Green and has young prospects with more questions than answers at this point.

To be perfectly honest, this is how I initially wanted to quote the rankings:

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah trade Rondo blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Olynyk and Sullinger aren't good blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Jeff Green blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Avery Bradley blah blah

It's nothing we haven't heard before and it seemed arbitrary to assign a score and number.  Much of the score (50%) is based on the current state of the roster which they ranked second to last behind the Lakers.  Let's keep in mind that this is a snapshot of where Boston is right now at 3:32 pm EST on September 9th.  Only Jared Sullinger barely made the top-100 players in John Hollinger's PER rankings at #94.  Rajon Rondo played a mediocre 30 games last year after recovering from knee surgery and wasn't exactly back up to All-Star form.  As Pelton points out, the vets of the team are inconsistent and overpaid and rookies and sophomores like Smart and Olynyk are still question marks.  But if you've been paying attention this summer, you know that these guys are ready to pop.  Smart had an impressive run with USA Basketball this summer and is widely considered one of the best young perimeter defenders in the league.  Olynyk repped Canada and held his own in friendlies against Team USA killer Spain and tore it up in the Orlando summer league for the second straight year.

The other half of the future rankings equation are management (16.7%) and market (8.3%) and the ability of those two big M's to spend money (16.7%) and draft well (8.3%).  I'm surprised Ainge and his staff scored so low in the management department.  They pulled off a coup in the Pierce and Garnett trade and turned every available asset from last season into a possible future piece.  They didn't allow anything to die on the vine and have practiced diligent patience only two years removed from the Eastern Conference Finals.  In terms of the market score, I guess seventeen banners means very little.  The winters suck, but come on.  Unless you're Larry Bird circa 1985, they probably have somebody shoveling their driveways.

They did get the draft score right.  The Celtics could have an unprecedented ten first round picks in the next four years.  With Len Bias' unfortunate passing and the team missing out on franchise shifting talents like Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant, Ainge went out and tried to improve their chances by getting more lottery tickets.  You have to think/hope our luck changes at some point.  In terms of the team's cap $ituation, it is what it is.  They still have hold overs from the Doc regime and flotsam from the Brooklyn trade but come next summer, the Celtics will be flush with flexibility and with the cap possibly growing astronomically, Boston could potentially afford two near max players.

And for what it's worth, the Celtics ranked 29th in watchability by Adi Joseph at USA Today Sports.  But beware: the meek shall inherit the earth.  Eventually, right?