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It has been just over a week since the NBA regular season came to an end for the Boston Celtics. The Celtics finished the season with a 25-57 record, which was tied for fourth worst in the entire league. Everyone affiliated with the Celtics knew this was not only going to be a rebuilding year, but the first year of a new era. This season was the first without any of the Big Three of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The question now is, was the 2013-14 season a success?
The Celtics started the rebuilding process in the offseason, trading away Garnett, Pierce, Jason Terry and D. J. White to the Brooklyn Nets for Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, Gerald Wallace and three first-round draft picks. The C’s were 4-4 through their first eight games of the season, and were receiving improved play from guards Jordan Crawford and Courtney Lee.
Crawford, who was even named the Eastern Conference player of the week in early December, was traded away 39 games into the season, along with Brooks, to the Golden State Warriors in a three-team trade that brought Joel Anthony and two draft picks to Boston. Lee had been traded nine games earlier to the Memphis Grizzlies for Jerryd Bayless. Crawford and Lee are both currently coming off the bench in the Playoffs for their new teams.
The Celts had their share of injuries throughout the season as well. Boston started the season without its best player in Rajon Rondo, who missed 52 games recovering from ACL surgery. Fellow starting guard Avery Bradley missed 22 games with ankle and Achilles tendon injuries, and Wallace missed most of the second half of the season with a torn meniscus. After all the trades and injuries, did the Celts tank enough?
The Celtics finished this season with the third most losses in franchise history. The Celts have a 10.3 percent chance of getting the first overall pick in the Draft and a 33 percent shot at a top five pick. After all of the trades, Boston has now accumulated nine first-round draft picks over the next five years. The Celtics did everything in their power not to be mediocre like other teams. Case in point: the Atlanta Hawks.
Other than the San Antonio Spurs, the Hawks have the longest active streak of consecutive playoff appearances in the NBA, having reached the postseason in each of the last seven seasons. In those seven years, the Hawks have never made it past the second round of the playoffs. The last thing you want to be in the NBA is mediocre, and the Celtics were far from that. The Celts are in great position with all of their assets to be a contender for the NBA Championship sooner rather than later.