Maybe it is too early, and I'm not skipping the rest of the playoffs, but that said... It's easy to say this player or that player should be gone, I decided to actually look at what I think the Celtics roster could/should look like when they are next ready to challenge for a championship. I've decided that I'm not Ainge and so I don't know all the inner workings, and therefore I'm allowing myself 70/30 ratio of reality/creative fiction. But I'm going to try to be honest where the creative fiction is... Note: I found this is harder than it looks... and I'm not even changing much. Note 2: If I'm really going to write some fiction, after winning his title with GSW in 2017, Durant decides to come to Boston to spend the remainder of his career winning with HIS team. But the reality is, I'm not that good of a writer... lol What does your team look like??? [Edit 2: I am really interested to see where your preferences would be if you could make it happen.] GM Philosphy: I'm aiming to recapture the new big three (Big Three cubed?) by virtue of roles/personalities even if the positions don't match up. I'm going to franken create them the same way Duquette replaced Mo Vaughn's OBP... wait, that didn't work so well. I want a deeper depth on the team though - so they get to the playoffs without being beaten up or worn into the ground. I don't care about seeding, I just want to get in. Window: This is definitely a 3-4 year window from now, nothing happening next year or the even next unless we catch lightening in a bottle. I think 2018 regular season they might even step back a bit, but I'm not worrying about it - I've got job security. Starters: Jaylen Brown: I think he grows into Pierce lite. I think by year 3 he is a better than average scorer, about 20-24 points per game and without a lot of volume to get it. He continues to develop his slashing to the rim, and as his confidence grows he finishes better. He is playing good one on one defense by then and is a reasonable team defender as well. He can guard the Butlers, Georges, without getting destroyed and gets his points as well. Josh Jackson: He brings the Garnett like intensity the team needs on the court. He is opportunistic on offense, capitalizing on loose balls, steals, and fast break points for 10-12 points again by year 3. In some games he can just bully his opposite on the other team, spiking to 18-20 ppg. He's going to get 6-8 rebounds a game in my world. He is going to guard the Ben Simmons of the day and relish it - even if they get their 25-30 points a game. [With regard to the 2017 Brooklyn Draft pick: I think there are two scenarios here 1) The ping pong balls screw the Celtics and they get the #2 or #3 pick. That means they pick Jackson as I don't think anyone on Causeway Street wants anything to do with daddy Ball. 2) They get the number 1 pick and someone offers them something special for it, and all bets are off. If that happens I don't know what the team looks like and I give up I assume they take Fultz over Jackson if they retain the #1, but choosing Jackson is a piece of my creative fiction - because I just can't see how the current pieces work with Fultz on board.] IT4: I'll use up a lot of my creative fiction here. I think he stays in Boston and in my fantasy world I don't think he breaks the bank. I think he takes $15-18 million for 4 years instead of max money and is willing to reprise Ray Allen's role on the Big 3 cubed. We know what he brings, and what he doesn't. Zizic: He spends his first 2 years in the league working on his outside shooting and passing. He becomes adequate to prevent the paint from being clogged when Brown, Jackson, IT4 drive to the basket, but he is enough of a post presence to get 10-12 rebounds a game - about 8 on the defensive side. He will hold his own against most bigs and by year 3 will be in the middle of the pack of bigs in the league, maybe 12-14 range or so. Not quite a star but a position we aren't worrying about either. Smart: He continues to develop his passing and outside shooting as primary ball handler. He is good for 10-14 points a game including a couple of well selected 3s (the last of my fiction here?) and a couple trips to the line. Continues to provide tenacious defense, and 5-6 rebounds per game. Switches off and takes the tougher guard to defend. Bench: Horford: At this point a backup to Zizic at the 5, but can spot start and occasionally be used with Zizic. He's going to hang around a long time in a Tim Duncan I don't need athleticism to survive kind of way. Maybe 8-10 points a game off the bench with the second unit, and will utilize his passing to ensure the second unit doesn't go stagnant. Crowder: At 31, he brings solid team defense off the bench, scoring a bit from outside, but with not as much time spent going to the basket. He is a veteran voice in the locker room. Olynyk: He's matured and is providing what the brothers Lopez bring to the game, but off the bench. Good for 10-12 points a game from outside, but won't rebound much - as the league trend toward sending the bigs out of the paint continues. He doesn't get huge offers from around the league and returns in a team friendly deal. Yabusele: His is still developing, very agile one on one defender for his size, but his lateral quickness holding him back as a team defender. He's good for 12-14 points of his own off the bench, mostly on the outside, but also some in the paint when the opposition goes small. Rozier: He hits his stride and is able to harness his speed so that he is under control. Backup point guard, isn't focused on scoring from the outside, but will finish more at the rim as the spacing Stevens desires is implemented. His locker is still moved once a season just out of tradition. Assets TBD: Brooklyn 2018 1st round pick, Memphis 2018 pick Misc end of bench filler / needs: Nader?, Backup big (Memphis 2018 pick?), point guard #3 (a Bradley defensive replacement to be dropped onto Beal, et al), high upside second round lottery ticket, Nader? Missing: Bradley: Finds a Tony Allen like career elsewhere. The money and minutes aren't available enough for him to stay in the absence of him taking a team friendly deal and I've already used up all my fiction. Unfortunate, because he could have a James Posey like influence on this team - he just won't be here to be part of it. Hardest for me personally, I really like him - he just doesn't finish well at the rim or in traffic, and misses too much time for the money he will command. Zeller: lasts another season or two as the uber cheap backup (break glass in case of emergency). Amir, Jerebko, Young, Mickey... all gone from the scene after the 2017 playoffs / summer camp end. Hayward: Calls and apologizes to Stevens but says he is staying in Utah to finish what is being built out there. Summary: I think the first team is good enough defensively to get the job done in the playoffs. There is enough offense there that IT4 can't be the focus of the other teams defense. They can cover for IT4 in most defensive situations and the offense will be fine with that unit in their stride. The second unit is a bit weaker defensively, but stronger offensively than this years team. They probably won't be wholesale swapped in though. Edit: After more reflection, if they do draft Fultz then I can see IT4 moved and Bradley staying. Ainge won't want any conflict and Fultz and Brown will need to be force fed the ball to accelerate their development.