The Boston Celtics have been a team on the verge for a few years now— yet nothing has changed.
If anything, Boston is in a worse place than it was when the team that was built around Kyrie Irving made it to the Eastern Conference Finals without their headlining act.
At 10-9, Boston is currently the 10th seed in the East and would be the last team invited to the play-in tournament, where they would have to navigate matchups with the Atlanta Hawks and one of the Philadelphia 76ers or New York Knicks.
Simply put, this is not enough for a team with the assembly of talent that the C’s have.
So, assuming the finances and compensation could be worked out, here are five former Celtics that would help this year’s team bring consistent winning back to TD Garden.
#5: Kelly Olynyk
There is a premium on big men that can shoot in today’s NBA, and that is exactly what Olynyk can help with.
The Gonzaga product shot 39.2% from beyond the arc last season while averaging 19 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
With the Celtics ball-dominant players controlling the rock, Olynyk would be able to float to the corner and get open looks while anchoring the defense inside.
#4: Jeff Green
“Uncle” Jeff is one of the most well-respected veterans in the league for his selflessness, consistency, and adaptability.
Green is in the final years of his career, but he still has a physical presence that would carry over well in the playoffs, and he could fill in anywhere from 3-5, depending on the situation.
Green’s last year in Boston saw him average 17.6 points per game, and while he would not get that amount of work, he would definitely help replace players like Grant Williams who struggle for consistency.
#3: Jae Crowder
Jae Crowder was sent to Cleveland when the Celtics acquired Kyrie Irving, and that now looks like a huge mistake.
The former Celtic has appeared for the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns in each of the last two NBA Finals, carving out a role as a three-and-D stretch-four.
With him in the lineup, Boston would be able to play with even more space and tenacity, even playing five-out with Al Horford in the lineup.
#2: Rajon Rondo
The 35-year-old basketball pursuit might be on the outskirts of the Los Angeles Lakers’ rotation and failed to make an impact on the Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers, but he still has basketball excellence in him.
Behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis, a real argument could be made that Rondo was the third-best player on LA’s championship team in the bubble, and his intangibles and playmaking would greatly help a Boston team that struggles with discipline and accountability, as well as decision-making in key moments.
#1: Avery Bradley
Imagine a front-court in which Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley spearhead the defensive line; not only would Boston become the best defensive team on the perimeter, with Jaylen Brown also being exceptional when he is locked in, but they would be getting a mid-range specialist that can hit threes with regularity without needing his number to be called.
Bradley’s last four years in Boston saw him average double-digits in points, finishing with a career-high 16.3 in 2016-17.