BOSTON — Brad Stevens, Rajon Rondo and the rest of the Boston Celtics might not realize it, but they could be ticketed for great things in the not-so-distant future.
Despite the difficulties of a 50-loss season and a four-game losing streak, the Celtics aren’t headed down a long-term path of ineptitude, according to someone who is intimately familiar with the team’s last rebuilding effort. Current Chicago Bulls head coach and former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau returned to TD Garden on Sunday and said, surprisingly, that he likes what he sees from this Celtics squad.
“I think the future’s bright,” Thibodeau said. “You have great ownership, great management. Brad is a great coach. You have a guy like Rondo to build around. You’ve got some good, young players. Danny (Ainge) has been through it a few times now. The one thing about Danny, he’s not afraid. He’ll do it through the draft. He’ll do it through trades. I think people have to be patient.”
Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, could have a busy summer ahead of him. The Celtics have two first-round draft picks, one of which is likely to be a relatively high lottery pick, with some $15 million potentially coming off the books.
Yet while Thibodeau didn’t have t0 endure the Celtics’ 2006-07 campaign, when they went 24-58 and suffered a franchise-record 18-game losing streak, he was around for the one-year turnaround the very next season. He knows circumstances can change quickly, particularly when Ainge is involved with a satchel full of young assets and low outside expectations.