Since the draft I've been the captain of the USS Mopey battleship. I think I have some cause to be concerned but at the same time I can step back and take inventory of our situation and still be cautiously encouraged. At least part of that comes from comparing our team's current state with other NBA franchises.
As a baseline, the Boston Celtics still have a big market with a passionate fan base. That allows Wyc and a solid group of owners a sweet local cable deal and gives them further incentive to stick around and continue to invest in this team. Before we get off this point, consider what Kings fans would give for a great ownership group right now. Consider what the Knicks fans would do to be rid of Dolan. Dare I mention it? What would Seattle area fans have given to have an owner that was dedicated to keeping a team there? So the Celtics have a pretty solid infrastructure to go with the best history of any franchise in the league.
Add to that a long term GM that has had success building a championship and has enough job security to be patient in this process. Some teams have owners that are holding their GM's feet to the fire pressuring them to win now at the cost of long term plans. Like him or not, Danny Ainge is not afraid to take the long view and back away from a bad deal, no matter how much the owners want fireworks.
Granted, there are some organizations out there that set the standard. The entire league is jealous of the San Antonio Spurs continued mastery over the league. But there are dozens of other franchises with fatal flaws. They could get turned around in time, but at this moment, the Celtics are in a better position building for the future. Let's look at a few of them.
The New York Knicks were atrocious last season and all they got out of it was the 4th pick in the draft. Porzingis might become very good, but I'm not sure if his timeline aligns with Carmelo Anthony. Phil Jackson swung and missed on all the major free agents and settled (wisely I think) for Aaron Afflalo and Robin Lopez. Solid signings, no doubt, and it is important to walk before you can run. But they'll still be bad this year and I think Melo will start to decline by the time they've gathered enough talent around him to make any noise.
Our friends the Los Angeles Lakers have learned the hard way (again) that simply being the Lakers doesn't buy major free agents anymore. Kobe Bryant still has a stranglehold on that franchise and until he's gone it will be hard for them to turn the corner. Getting D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle help in the long term, but that's about it, unless you put a lot of faith in the resurrection of Roy Hibbert.
Where do I even start with the Sacramento Kings? That whole situation is a train-wreck from the owner on down.
The Brooklyn Nets are handcuffed to a spend-to-win-now plan without the backing of a spend-at-all-costs owner anymore. They aren't going anywhere soon (though I don't know if they'll be as bad as we'd like them to be for the value of the picks they owe us).
This will seem odd, considering their two remaining stars, but I don't think I'd want to trade places with the Los Angeles Clippers right now either. In the stacked West, losing DeAndre Jordan with no legitimate backup plan could be enough to make them miss the playoffs.
So while the Celtics aren't ready to be counted among the contenders yet, they at least have a plan in place to get there. We've got one of the best young coaches in the league. We've also got some solid, young, versatile players and a bunch of draft picks that we can use in trades.
It is very frustrating to be stuck in a holding pattern while waiting for the stars to align for another summer of 2007 situation (that may never occur again). But it could be worse. A lot worse.