|Posted by shawn cassidy on December 21, 2013 at 5:20 AM|
The Celtics have a golden opportunity awaiting them. The Eastern Conference is hitting all-time lows, and the door that was shut on the Celtics has cracked a bit. A shimmer of hope, amid the dark nights of a team rebuilding in the NBA. The East is made up of two teams. The Pacers and Heat are destined for the Eastern Conference Finals, but after that who's next in line? The Hawks are currently holding down the third spot, but are they a legit team this year, and for years to come? They don't have a star player, although Horford is one of the top centers in the game, but that's not enough in a guard driven league.
The Celtics are currently 4th, but that's because of the division lead by the C's. If you take that away, the Celtics would hold the 8th spot. The Celtics would still be in range of the 3rd spot in the East even if they were ranked 8th. The Eastern Conference is a bit odd at the moment. Think about it for a moment. Look at the west, they have a handful of teams that are young. Those teams are also getting better, or if you look at the Thunder their just waiting to win a title, if not a few more along the way. In the East you have a Pacer team that should be good for the next 3 years easily, the only weak spot is the age of West.
Then with the Heat, their team could blow up this summer, or they can just stay together, but if they do, you're looking at a team that can't buy free agents with the luxury tax becoming harder to move around/ Let's not forger Wade's knees and age. The Heat seem to become an easier target each year. As for some of the other teams in the East. The Nets should be better, so I don't know about that team this year alone. In the short term, they have a one year window with KG and Pierce. It's this year or bust. They traded for a Joe Johnson that's leaving his prime, and they have Williams who has an injury every other day. The Knicks are messed up, that's all I have to say. The East has some teams with potential like the Wizards, or Cleveland. The East also has a Pistons team that's destined to be the next Hawks.
Then we have the Bulls, a team that's not able to play at the highest level this season without Rose.The Bulls did a fine job last year, but this year is different. I think it's unlike last year for the Bulls. Teams have figured the Bulls out, when Rose isn't playing. Bulls have an opportunity when Rose comes back, but the window may have passed with that group in Chicago.
With Rondo's return around the corner, perhaps the Celtics can make some noise in the East this year, but as for title hopes. Don't bank on this year, unless Danny become a buyer by the deadline and pulls off one great trade. I don't bank on that, but who knows. I do see the Celtics competing in the East next season. The Celtics will have some picks to use, and they'll have cap space, and they can do a number of things with the cap space. They can take a big name guy through a trade if the Celtics can't find a free agent.
The best indication to the Celtics success in the near future is Brad Stevens. He's truly gifted, and when you combine Rondo, with the growth of guys like Sully and Bradley. This team has a solid building block for years to come. The Celtics will be in the thick of things because the East is so bad. The thing is that the Celtics still need to focus on building a team to win banner 18, winning the East means nothing without a banner.
An opened door is before the Celtics. They only have to walk in to discover their potentials. Danny has the leg up on most of the teams in the East. Rondo has a chance to show that he's a top 5 guy, or better if he's able to take the Celtics success this season to even greater heights.