I’ve written this article several times in the past, but it’s finally time to get to the part where I give my final assessment of the 2014 class, and how the class has fared in terms of production and production value.
I don’t want to be a complete jerk here.
I’m a huge fan of the current crop of top recruits.
They have been phenomenal, and for a team that’s been historically successful, it’s nice to see a team consistently produce a top-tier class.
As I wrote in a piece back in February: I think we’ll see a few different teams making big moves during the next few months.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, for example, are reportedly in discussions with former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are also reportedly in talks with Wiggins, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Philadelphia 76ers have already made one major move in that direction: They have traded away their top three picks in the upcoming NBA Draft, selecting Lonzo Ball in the first round.
At this point, the Celtics are probably the only team that is still in the running for top overall picks.
They’re currently second in the NBA in points per game (35.2), and are coming off a team with the second-best defensive rating in the league (110.1).
If the Celtics continue to make strides with their young talent, they could be in line for a big-time offer during the summer.
Of course, I wouldn’t be at this point if the team was really struggling to attract top talent, and the Celtics should be more than capable of finding a few quality recruits.
The problem is that their talent pool has gotten bigger and more crowded over the past few years.
This year, the NBA has seen several big-name recruits leave for greener pastures, such as Joel Embiid, Lonzo, and Joel Embadero.
While those players have done a tremendous job at establishing themselves as top-five talent in the game, many of the top prospects have also left the team due to inconsistent playing time.
What’s changed this year?
The Celtics have signed six players in the top-10 of the class: Jahlil Okafor, Malik Monk, Jahlal Franklin, Josh Jackson, and Marcus Smart.
While all six players are highly touted talents, it’ll be interesting to see how each of them performs during their time with the team.
Franklin has played the most minutes among the six players, averaging nearly a point per minute of play per game over the course of his college career.
Monk is averaging about one point per game on the season, but has played well enough to get a contract extension from the Bucks in the offseason.
Jackson, who averaged 6.4 points per contest during his first season at Kansas, is also on the move to the Celtics this offseason, but his production is likely to remain low.
Jackson, OkaFOR, Monk, Jackson, Smart, and Franklin are the five best players in this class, but the others aren’t nearly as good as the top three players in their respective classes.
For all their talent, the rest of the Celtics’ players aren’t quite as consistent as the players in front of them.
The Celtics have just one player ranked in the bottom 10 in points allowed per game this season, and two players ranked in between the bottom two and the bottom three in total points per possession this season.
While the top six players can help a team win games, there’s nothing particularly unique about their play that will get them the ball in the playoffs.
Most teams will be able to find a way to get enough points per minute, but if they’re able to consistently get to a high-scoring level, they’ll have a legitimate shot at making it to the conference finals.
Another thing to keep in mind: the Celtics have the luxury of having two top-15 players in each class, meaning the other three will likely be available to sign elsewhere this summer.
In other words, there is no guarantee that every player in this draft class will make the team, but a few of the best players available could help Boston.
If the Celtics do decide to pursue players in that range, I would be very interested to see what the team would do if it could keep all six of those players.
They could take one or two of those guys, or if they wanted to keep all seven, it could be very interesting to keep five players.
One thing that has changed this season is that some of the older guys have had to step up and play.
Last year, I wrote a piece that detailed how many players were left over from last year’s team that could potentially help Boston in the near future.
With all the young talent on the roster, I think it’s a good idea to keep a