COMMENTARY | Tonight, the NBA draft will surely bring many surprises and twists. Without much of a consensus on any of the top picks, the first round is one of the more unpredictable in recent memory. With the notion of this year's class being a weak one, many teams may be looking to trade their pick with hopes of obtaining a pick for next year.
The Boston Celtics currently hold the 16th overall pick. Danny Ainge could choose to go any number of ways here, as the team clearly has a fair share of needs. As always, there will be plenty of criticism, regardless of what the decision is. Some will like the pick, some will hate it. But for Ainge and the Celtics, this is an extremely tough process, as there are too many uncertainties surrounding the team to make a proper judgement.
Nobody knows how Rajon Rondo will recover from his ACL injury. Even if he recovers well and returns at 100%, is he a franchise player that the franchise can feel comfortable building around? Ainge may not know the answers yet, making it awfully hard to decide at number 16. There may be a point guard available that Ainge feels can help the team, but he will need to weigh all of these issues before pulling the trigger.
The team drafted Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo in last year's draft. Sullinger was a solid contributor before losing his season to a back injury, while Melo never made any sort of an impact at the NBA level. It would be tough for Ainge to justify drafting yet another big men this year, although in reality, it may still be a need. Melo might never be a good NBA player, and Sullinger's back problems that caused him to slip in last year's draft may be a serious limitation in coming years. At the same time, it's hard for management to justify drafting three big men in the first round over a span of two years.
While drafting a big would seem repetitive, drafting a guard could also raise questions. If Boston goes in this direction, questions will immediately arise regarding the future of the Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley combination. It would be tough for a first year guard to get a fair share of minutes with the two on the roster, particularly with Jordan Crawford and Jason Terry still on the team. Is it really worth drafting a guard at 16 for him to sit for most of the year? Or would this be done along with a plan of dealing Rondo?
Additionally, Ainge still has yet to figure out what the future is for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Will both end up with the Brooklyn Nets? Will Garnett even return for another season in the NBA, or will he finally decide that this is the end of a Hall of Fame career? If Garnett leaves, would Pierce demand a trade or a buyout? These are all huge questions, and ones that Ainge can't possibly have the answers to just yet.
With all of these uncertainties surrounding the team, Danny Ainge will just have to do what he can with what he knows. Given all of the unknowns, it might be smart to simply employ the "best player available" strategy. It's not often a popular strategy with fans, but it might be the right one in this situation.
For Celtics fans waiting on what will happen next, give Danny Ainge some credit; he's trying to make the right pick on draft night while knowing very little about what his team will look like next season.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering the Celtics for 3 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports , and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings.
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