- We’ll update our Team Capsules with more specific info once the lottery is complete.
2008-09 Record: 62-20 (1st Atlantic; 2nd in the East)
Draft Pick: 58th
Key Free Agents:
Leon Powe (restricted)
Glen Davis (restricted)
Eddie House (unrestricted)
How They Got Here
Raphielle Johnson: The defending champs picked up right where they left off in the early going, cementing their status as one of the top teams in the NBA. Rajon Rondo used his play in the 2008 NBA Playoffs as a springboard into an even better 2008-09 season, a development that allowed the Celtics to hold onto the second seed in the East despite losing forward Kevin Garnett to injury. Compounding that loss was the torn ACL suffered by Leon Powe in Game 2 of their first round series with Chicago, leaving Doc Rivers in dire straits when it comes to the frontcourt rotation.
Jon Teitel: The defending champs won the Atlantic Division, but injuries to Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe have left them as a big question mark for the playoffs. KG/Pierce/Allen are all in their early-30s, so while the window for them to win another title together is still open, it’s not open very wide. Rondo is only 22, and Powe/Davis/Perkins are all 6’8” or bigger and age 25 or under, so the future is not too shabby either. If Powe and Davis both sign for big money elsewhere, then the future will start to look quite bleak. However, if KG comes back healthy next year, then the Celtics have to be considered 1 of the favorites in the Eastern Conference.
What They Need
Raphielle Johnson: Paul Pierce was the consummate captain during the regular season, taking on even more of the responsibilities with Garnett going down while refusing to make excuses or allow his teammates to do so. With the perimeter seemingly in decent shape for the near future (Rondo (restricted) and Ray Allen are free agents in 2010), the focus turns to the frontcourt. Both Powe and Davis are restricted free agents, and while KG isn’t on his last legs it may be time to grab another big body in the second round who could allow the perennial All-Star more rest time in the regular season.
Jon Teitel: GM Danny Ainge needs to decide whether to win now or build for the future. To win now, he just needs to strengthen the bench and tighten up the defense, as the major pieces are already in place. If he wants to build for the future, then a shooting guard or small forwards will be key as soon as Pierce and/or Allen retire. With most of the talent already gone by pick #58, they certainly can’t get their hopes up. Of their 5 picks since 2000 who have a career scoring average of 10+ PPG, exactly ZERO are still with the Celtics.
Who They'll Take
Raphielle Johnson: Davis and Powe aren’t exactly the prototype power forward when it comes to height so don’t think that Danny Ainge and the rest of the Celtics brain trust will fall for an “All-Airport Team” player. Look for a pair of Pac-10 interior stalwarts to be a serious part of the conversation, with both Arizona State’s Jeff Pendergraph and Washington’s Jon Brockman possessing the motor needed from bench contributors.
Jon Teitel: After drafting exclusively American high school and college players from 2001-2007, they took a foreigner in the 2nd round in 2008. So, if there is a foreign 2 or 3 available late in the 2nd round (Vladimir Dasic or Milenko Tepic), they might try that. If not, they took a guy with the last name “Green” in 2005 and 2007, so perhaps Danny Green should hope that his last name doubles as his favorite color.
Draft History (since 2000)
2000: Jerome Moiso (11th)
2001: Joe Johnson (10th), Kedrick Brown (11th), Joseph Forte (21st)
2002: Darius Songaila (50th)
2003: Troy Bell (16th), Dahntay Jones (20th), Brandon Hunter (56th)
2004: Al Jefferson (15th), Delonte West (24th), Tony Allen (25th), Justin Reed (41st)
2005: Gerald Green (18th), Ryan Gomes (50th), Orien Greene (53rd)
2006: Rajon Rondo (21st), Leon Powe (49th)
2007: Jeff Green (5th), Gabe Pruitt (32nd)
2008: JR Giddens (30th), Semih Erden (60th)
Stephen Curry - PG/SG - Davidson
Tyreke Evans - PG/SG - Memphis
Blake Griffin - PF - Oklahoma
James Harden - SG - Arizona State
Jordan Hill - PF - Arizona
Ty Lawson - PG - UNC
BJ Mullens - C - Ohio State
Ricky Rubio - PG - DKV Joventut
Brandon Jennings - PG - Arizona
Hasheem Thabeet - C - UCONN