As the 2014-2015 season begins, the future of the Celtics organization looks pretty good as they have their star Rajon Rondo seems to have recovered 100 percent from his torn ACL injury and is ready to show that he is one of the best point guards in the NBA. Also, the Celtics will have one of the deepest back courts in the NBA this season as they have acquired rookies Marcus Smart and James Young, and veteran Even Turner coming of his best season as an experienced guard. While the Celtics have plenty of talent, they are a very young team so it would not be too surprising if they struggled in the 2014-2015 season. Still, they must be able to compete with the league's elite teams by the 2017-2018 season or some roster or coaching changes should be made. By this time, Rajon Rondo will be in his thirties and the young Celtic players will be entering the primes of their careers. They will have a clear understanding of whether or not they have what it takes to win with their current pieces. If they are still struggling by the 2017-2018 season, they may want to attempt to start a new rebuliding process or go in the other direction and trade for an established veteran with a history of success in the NBA to join forces with Rajon Rondo.
There are two main scenario's that could enable the Celtics to be an awesome team within the next three seasons.
Scenario 1: Rajon Rondo was one of the best point guard's in the NBA before his ACL injury. He also has experience being on a successful team and was a major contributor on the Celtics NBA Championship team in 2008. If the Celtics want to be a contender in the next few years, Rondo must return to his level of play before the injury and must help the inexperienced guards adjust the the NBA and continue to imporve their games. However, this alone will not give the Celtics a chance against teams such as the Cavaliers, the Spurs or the Thunder. Luckilly, the Celtics have a variety of talented players that have not reached their potential. If a few of these players are able to bring there games to an elite level, alongside Rajon Rondo, the Celtics could be a championship contender by the 2017-2018 season. Some possibilities include: 1) Rookies Marcus Smart and James Young improvig quickly and beginning to play at a borderline all-star level. 2) Established veterans Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, and Brandon Bass playing at a slightly higher level with more consistency. 3) Forwards Tyler Zeller, Kelly Olynyk, and Jared Sullinger stepping up and showing that the Celitcs "big men" will not be dominated by the best in the league such as Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis, and Kevin Love.
Any combination of these Celtics role players improving significantly in the next few years added to an elite level of play by Rajon Rondo could enable the Celtics to be great by the 2017-2018 season.
Scenario 2: In 2007, the were coming off a terrible season but similar to their current situation, they had plenty of young talented players. By trading many of them including Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomez, Delonte West, and Wally Szczerbiak, the Cetics were able to acquire NBA stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. This led to the Celtics winning the NBA championship the following year in 2008. If the Celtics could pull off a similar type of deal within the next year or two, they could be contenders immediatley. Evan Turner has showed the ability to be a high level starting shooting guard during his past two seasons, but his stock is low because of his recent unsuccessful stint with the Indiana Pacers. However, rookies Marcus Smart and James Young are considered very valuable because of their age and potential. A possibilty for the Celtics would be to trade Smart, Young, and either Olynyk or Sullinger for an elite forward or center. The Celtics would still have a very strong back courts with Rondo, Bradley, and Turner, established forwards in Green and Bass and a star in their newly acquired forward or center. If they are able to find a team interested in a deal like this, it would be a great decision for the team as they could be championship contenders immediately.
Even though the Celtics have many promising young players, it still may be difficult to reach the level of play comparable to the best teams in the NBA. This is why they will most likely be a good NBA team for the next few years, but unable to reach the status of championship contender. There are already so many established teams and young stars improvng every year that the Celtics may find themselves blending in amongst the good teams in the NBA. While Rondo is the main piece for the Celtics, it is unlikely that he will dominate most NBA guards in the next few years. This is not due to a lack of talent in Rondo, but due to the increasing level of guard play in the NBA. Not only have Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Steph Curry, and John Wall been sensational these past few years but some younger and less notable players have been really makign a name for themselves too. Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard have reached a point where they can be comparded to any point guard in the NBA, and Eric Bledsoe, Mike Conley, and Ty Lawson all played at a very high level last season. Even if Rondo returns to his "pre-ACL tear" level of play and the rest of the Celtics impress, they still may not stand out from the majority of good NBA teams.
The Celtics could find themselves being bad for the next few seasons if Rajon Rondo is unable to ever get back to his previous level of play before his ACL injury. Even if this is the case, it would still be unlikely that the Celtics are bad because of their depth at the guard positions. It is even less likely that the Celtics are a terrible team for the next few years. When the Celtics chose to go down the rebulding path by trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets in 2013, it pretty much elimated their chance of being terrible through the 2017-2018 season as they have done a good job of adding young talented players to the team to help ensure there rise back to the elite level in the future.