As an eternal optimist I always have high hopes for the Boston Celtics. They are perpetually just a few moves and a couple good breaks away from being a championship contender in my mind. But I'm aware enough to understand that not everyone else sees things through my green tinted goggles. So it always seems a bit jarring when "experts" see things the way I do.
The folks that run 2017 NBA Finals odds at Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook ranked the Celtics with the sixth-best chance (20/1) to win the title next year. That also happens to be second best in the East, ahead of Eastern Conference Finals participant Toronto Raptors.
I don't think that Vegas thinks this team is ready to compete for a title as is, but they've got the pieces and flexibility to make next level franchise moves this summer.
With eight draft picks and a chunk of cap space, the Celtics are in a position to capitalize on any opportunities that may come their way. There is a lot of uncertainty at this point in the NBA calendar, so Vegas must be hedging their bets on the Celtics making a leap towards contender status.
It doesn't stop there. Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton ranked all the teams in the league based on their future prospects, and the Celtics finished 3rd overall.
Of course, the Celtics will have to make the most of all of those assets to earn this high a ranking. Looking at Ainge’s track record in the past, it feels like a good bet. Ainge might be the best deal-maker in the league, with the possible exception of San Antonio’s R.C. Buford. In short, no team is better positioned to be a challenger to the Cavs in the East for the next three seasons.
This is, of course, what I've been telling you all along. It could all happen this summer (or if not, then shortly after). Or it might not. Sports is funny like that. The point is, the Celtics have a great future... in theory.
Oh, and if you are looking for more good news, just look all the way down to the bottom of the odds list.
Celtics fans will also be happy to know the Nets have 500/1 odds to hoist the trophy next season, which ranks last of all teams.