Celtics Release 2014-’15 Schedule

The Boston Celtics released their schedule for the 2014-’15 season on Wednesday.  The Celtics will play only one nationally televised game on January 14th at home against the Atlanta Hawks. This means the Celtics are not a premier team in the NBA.

Their lone star (Rajon Rondo) is in the final year of his contract. Their roster is filled with either players who have been disappointments (Jeff Green, Evan Turner, and Tyler Zeller) and rookies like Marcus Smart and James Young.

The Celtics schedule in November looks to be daunting. They have to travel to Houston (Rockets), Dallas (Mavericks), and Chicago Bulls. The only game where they could be favored is on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers. Then they have a six-game road trip through the Western Conference from January 19th through January 28th.

Here are some notable games for Celtics fans to look forward to.

-October 29th – The Celtics open the season versus the Brooklyn Nets at the Garden. Kevin Garnett could be back with the Nets. This might be Garnett’s final season in the NBA.

– November will be filled with home dates against the elite teams in the NBA. On November 12th, the Celtics will square off against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Two nights later, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will visit Boston. Then on November 28th, the Bulls make their first appearance at TD Garden. On the last night of November, the Celtics will face the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.

– Paul Pierce, Kris Humphries, and the Washington Wizards play in Boston on December 7th in their only visit to Boston.

– The Celtics will not play on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. Boston sports fans will have a doubleheader with the Bruins and Celtics both playing at home on Black Friday (annual ritual except in the case of lockout) and New Year’s Eve. The Celtics will host the Bulls on Black Friday and they will see the Sacramento Kings on New Year’s Eve.

– In January, the Celtics begin their journey on the West Coast against Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers come to Boston on March 29th.

– The All-Star break is lengthy this year as the Celtics will be off from February 11th until the 20th. The Celtics last game before the All-Star break and trade deadline (February 19th) is against the Hawks at home. This could be Rondo’s final game with the Celtics among other veterans like Brandon Bass, Green, etc.

– Featured rookies: Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves will be in Boston on December 19th. The Milwaukee Bucks led by Jabari Parker play in Boston on April 3rd.

– The Celtics’ two meetings against the Los Angeles Lakers will be on December 5th (in Boston) and February 22nd (in Los Angeles).

This season appears to be another frustrating trek in the win-loss column. Though,there could be some interesting developments in the 2014-’15 season such as whether the Celtics will move Rondo and the development of Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, Smart, and Young. Next summer, the Celtics will have money coming off their books, but Kevin Love is not walking through that door.

Best Options for Boston Celtics with No. 6 Pick in 2014 NBA Draft

The Boston Celtics got the No. 6 pick in the 2014 NBA draft, something that probably disappointed fans that thought they’d at least land in the top five.

It could have been worse.

Luckily, this is a strong draft. Even at No. 6, the Celtics will have some attractive options to choose from that they can build with for the long haul. But given the assets this team has with regard to extra and future draft picks, general manager Danny Ainge will also have the flexibility to get creative.

  1. Trade Into Top Four, Package 6th Pick With Other Assets
  • If you ask me, there are four golden prizes in this 2014 draft: Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker and Dante Exum. Top four is where you want to be. At No. 6, the Celtics will likely be looking at Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh, Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon and Dario Saric—all strong prospects who justify top-six value—just not ones who offer the same type of upside as our projected top-four picks. If the Celtics really want to make a splash, they could look to package No. 6 with a combination of players and picks in an attempt to move into the top four and secure either Wiggins, Embiid, Parker or Exum. If Wiggins and Parker go No. 1 and No. 2, it’s possible the Philadelphia 76ers, who already have a point guard and center, won’t be as interested in Exum and Embiid at No. 3, which might make them willing to trade down. What if Wiggins, Parker and Exum go top three, and Embiid is there for the Orlando Magic, who already have a center? Maybe Orlando would then be willing to move down two spots if it was fairly compensated to do so. The Celtics own the No. 17 pick as well as No. 6. They could put together a package of those two picks, along with some talent on the roster and negotiate from there. It’s too early to know whether the Sixers or Magic would even consider such a deal, but it’s certainly an opportunity worth exploring if you’re Danny Ainge.
  1. Draft Big
  • If Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker and Dante Exum are off the board, the Boston Celtics will be guaranteed one of the top-three power forwards in the draft. Julius Randle is a bully—a physical interior forward who can man the glass and take over in the paint. Regardless of how well you rate his upside, Randle has the potential to evolve into a long-term starter and significant franchise building block. Noah Vonleh is no different. Almost a year younger than Randle, he led the Big Ten in rebounding playing under 27 minutes a game, and with 6’9″ size, a 7’4″ wingspan, a post game and promising jumper, there really isn’t much to question outside of his developmental timetable. Aaron Gordon established himself as the most athletic big man in the class. He proved it at the NBA Draft Combine, though you didn’t really need a timer or measuring stick to come to that conclusion. Gordon isn’t as polished offensively as Randle or Vonleh, but his incredible defensive versatility and above the rim hops play to his unique two-way potential. I’m a Vonleh guy myself, based on his sharp physical tools and inside-outside offensive repertoire, but all three of these prospects seem like can’t-lose options in this year’s draft.
  1. Marcus Smart
  • Who knows what Rajon Rondo’s future looks like? But whether he’s here for the long haul or not, Marcus Smart makes sense for more reasons than one. For starters, he’d give the Celtics some insurance in case Rondo does end up somewhere else. And it ultimately gives Danny Ainge more flexibility, as it would allow him to trade Rondo without having to worry who’ll run the point. Smart also has the versatility to play off the ball. If Rondo stays, Smart’s length, 227-pound frame and scoring ability should hold up against many other NBA 2-guards. Lastly, he offers a competitive edge that this team seemingly lost when it traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Smart plays mean, physical and aggressive. He’s someone who looks like he’d run through traffic to get that W.”I sort of like Marcus Smart. I like his fire,” Danny Ainge said while appearing on ESPN’s combine broadcast, per ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. At No. 6, Smart just might be the top option on the board regardless, depending on how Ainge has him stacked up with the prospects. I don’t know if Smart will ever reach All-Star status, but I do know he’s got the two-way game to make a positive short and long-term impact.
  1. Draft-and-Stash
  • This might not make the fans happy, but with a big free-agent summer coming in 2015, and no rush for the Celtics to win in 2014-15, it might not be a bad idea to stash some talent. Croatia’s Dario Saric can play, and it seems as if he’s getting better by the week. Saric was recently named MVP after putting up 23 points, 11 boards, seven assists and five blocks in the Adriatic League final. And he’s fresh off a 36-point, 15-rebound performance in a one-point win over KK Zadar in Croatian League. David Pick of Eurobasket.com tweeted he heard a Los Angeles Lakers scout was there to see it. Though he’s entered his name in the draft, Saric hasn’t committed to playing in the NBA in 2014-15. And depending on each team’s particular rebuilding plan and strategy, only certain ones might feel comfortable using a top pick to draft-and-stash. Saric is a legitimate top-10 prospect, and with another pick in the mid-first round and a long ways to go in the rebuilding process, the Celtics are one of those teams that can afford to wait on talent overseas. This kid offers a level of offensive versatility the Celtics won’t find in the NCAA pool. If he chooses to stay overseas, the Celtics could bring him over for 2015-16 after another year of seasoning in a full-time role abroad.
  1. Package Picks and Assets For Established Talents
  • Whether it’s Kevin Love or another big-name player, the Celtics might want to think about packaging their picks to acquire some established talent. They have a ton of future first-round picks in their bag. The No. 6 they have for 2014 could potentially be a whole lot more valuable to someone else, especially if it comes with a Happy Meal and sides. If Danny Ainge isn’t in love with the prospects projected to be there at No. 6, he could look to package the pick with more picks and assets in a deal for an actual player. Love would seem like the obvious target right now based on the hourly trade rumors. But Ainge is a creative guy who looks at every possibility. There are other players to be had for the right price.

Andrew Wiggins to Declare, Must Erase Tournament Impression

To the surprise of no one, Andrew Wiggins is expected to announce on Monday that he will be leaving the University of Kansas after one season, entering the 2014 NBA Draft after his freshman season, per a report from Jeff Goodman at ESPN. Though his stock may have taken a hit over the past few weeks, this decision was still expected for the most part.

However, the first thing Wiggins might be looking to do is to get the last taste that he left in the mouth of everyone out of those mouths as quickly as possible. After all, as the Jayhawks were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the Round of 32, Wiggins was barely noticed as he put up only four points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocks on just 1-6 shooting and while turning the ball over four times.

For starters, it is a bit of a necessity to realize that Wiggins wasn’t as bad as you might have heard or thought he was after initially watching the loss. Obviously his lack of offense was a glaring and the most notable concern, but Wiggins’ activity and energy-level were impressive, as were a lot of things he was able to do on the defensive end of the floor.

Quite frankly, Wiggins hasn’t lived up to the hype that surrounded him coming into college. In fairness, though, I’m not sure that any mortal human being could have lived up to that kind of hype. However, he’s not as NBA-ready as many would’ve had you believe coming into the college basketball season.

With that caveat, though, Wiggins’ potential is rivaled only by his teammate at Kansas, Joel Embiid, in this draft class. Wiggins’ athleticism, physical attributes, and instincts are near-elite and if he can continue to develop the skills to match those characteristics, he could be an All-Star eventually at the pro level. The first step, though, is somehow making sure that his final game in college isn’t a memory that sticks.