BOSTON — The Celtics are in the Eastern Conference finals ahead of schedule.
They already have a good team despite being one of the youngest No. 1 seeds in NBA playoff history. But the C’s front office and coaching staff don’t just want to compete in the short term. They are taking the long view, with the hopes of being a championship-caliber team for an extended period of time.
The 2013 trade with the Nets is paving the way for the C’s to accomplish that goal, and that certainly was evident Tuesday night as Boston won the NBA draft lottery, thanks to its first-round pick swap with last-place Brooklyn.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens is hoping the No. 1 pick will help the franchise build a sustainable contender.
“It’s a great opportunity for us,” Stevens said Wednesday night before Game 1 of the conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. “I think it’s been very well-documented, and rightfully so, all the great things (president of basketball operations Danny Ainge) has done to help put us in a position to be as competitive as we’ve been. And also, hopefully, the way we’ve all looked at it, and we’ve had a lot of talks about it, hopefully sustainably competitive, which is a hard thing to do. We’ll see how it all shakes out.”
In addition to landing the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, that Nets trade also gave Boston last year’s third overall draft selection (Jaylen Brown) and Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick.
These draft picks, along with Boston’s current core of young players and established stars, should help the Celtics be competitive now and well into the future. It’s a great position to be in, and the C’s must be patient in the process, too. It only takes one bold, bad move to blow it all up.
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