Have no fear Celtics’ fans. The future is exciting, and it’s almost here. Yes, everyone would’ve loved to see Boston make a run in the playoffs this year, but honestly, does it matter? Your answer should be a resounding no. No one will remember they lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 2016 NBA playoffs 3 years from now. What mattered is they show visible signs of improvement, which they certainly did in earning what should’ve been the 3 seed had the NBA not had a major oversight in some rule changes this off season.
They’ll have some great opportunities to improve in the draft starting this year, with loads of picks in the first and second round. But they’re also going to need some veteran guys to come in via free agency, something the team has always struggled with. With that said, here are 5 guys that, in honor of the movie Celtic Pride, I would be willing to kidnap to put in green and white.
1. Kevin Durant: He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this coming season, and there are plenty of teams vying for his services. The best thing that could happen here is somehow the Dallas Mavericks knock the Oklahoma City Thunder out of the playoffs in the first round, which would certainly leave Durant more questions than answers about his current team. That said, I think it’s most likely he stays in OKC for at least one more year.
2. Andre Drummond: Very unlikely to happen because he is a restricted free agent and it seems unlikely that the Detroit Pistons will let him go. But in this case we’d be kidnapping him! He has quietly become a defensive force, averaging 15 rebounds a game and 1.5 blocks per game. He holds his own offensively as well, and is still very young at 22 years old.
3. Hassan Whiteside: He burst onto the scene last season for the Miami Heat, and has established himself as a defensive star, averaging 12 boards and almost 4 blocks a game and is very efficient offensively. Could be a major headcase, but many talented players in the NBA are. Unrestricted free agent.
4. Harrison Barnes: He’s perhaps the biggest unknown on this list. Playing for the Golden State Warriors many think he’s yet to reach his full potential, and has the ability to be a superstar. He has become a big piece of the pie for the defending champs, but they may not want to offer him max money. The problem I see here is paying for potential often doesn’t work out in a teams favor, and Barnes was always a bit of an underachiever at North Carolina too.
5. Joakim Noah: The former Florida Gator has had some major injury issues these last 2 years, and there are also rumors that the Chicago Bulls haven’t always been a fan of his attitude. One thing you can’t say about the guy though is he doesn’t work hard. He is one of the best hustle players in the NBA, and at 31 years old would seem to have some good years left. He averaged a double double with almost 2 blocks from 09-14, so certainly the track record is there. He also is a great passer as a big man. Could be a buy low candidate, and he’s an unrestricted free agent.
Aaron Jackson is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm-6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket. Follow us on Twitter @929TheDrive and “Like” us on Facebook “The Drive Bangor”. Stream The Drive live on 929TheTicket.com