The NBA all-star break has passed, the NFL is in hibernation and the Boys of Summer haven’t even started playing their spring exhibitions…so it’s time to turn our attention to basketball.*

*First disclaimer, the one sport I lack the ability to be impartial is Basketball, and for one singular reason the Boston Celtics (GO CELTICS!. The closer the discussion focuses on the C’s the more biased you can expect my editorial to become, please keep that in mind.

Second disclaimer, apologies in advance for how long this article is, but rational was thrown out a while ago (please see the first disclaimer).

Let’s start with All-star weekend; this year’s recap is special because we share this time of year with the Olympics. The most frequently discussed failure; the dunk competition is in need of reform. It’s time the NBA takes a cue from the Olympics; no gimmicks, no angles, no props and return to the basics. No one is going to reinvent the dunk, we’ve seen just about all the human body can achieve. I propose a return to form, a return to an appreciation of style and history.

Take a note from the Olympics, build up the natural tension of judgment and raise the stakes like a single run through the downhill course at the winter Olympics; you don’t get a redo at the games and you don’t get a redo at my dunk competition, raise the stakes.

Judges are given criteria and judge on style, form, technique. I would introduce a tenth of a point to the scoring scale and if the NBA prides itself on being a global game, lets get global judges.

There it is, dunk competition fixed; cause any NBA fan can tell there’s a difference from Jordan’s foul-line dunk than Brent Barrys’ and my proposal recognizes that difference.

Other observations from the weekend:

  • Andre Drummond grabbed 25 boards, but missed one
  • Not bad for a couple of late-1st round picks
  • In case you missed the concert
  • Steph Curry is more than just a shooter
  • I can’t believe I was able to watch NBA weekend and House of Cards in one weekend (no link necessary)

Now before I go all “Celtics” on you, here’s my synopsis of the NBA and forecast for the second half. I’ll keep it brief because only four teams matter.

  1. Miami
  2. Indiana
  3. Oklahoma City
  4. Portland

Don’t sleep on the Pacers, they just might surprise you like the Larry Brown Pistons. Thank heavens for the Rockets and the Suns; they’re our only hope for making the playoffs fun to watch in the opening rounds.

So here we are, “peanut butter Celtics time” of course you save the best for last, it’s time for this articles’ dessert. There’s plenty to discuss when it comes to Celtics and for brevity’s sake, let me just put some topics to bed so I can write with one perspective in mind, how to watch the tank-building Celtics, I reiterate “Tank building”.

  1. The Celtics shouldn’t tank.
  2. The Celtics can’t make the playoffs either.
  3. The Celtics have potentially 17 draft picks in the next 5 seasons
  4. The Celtics aren’t a team that has the patience to rebuild
  5. Rondo isn’t going anywhere / Free agents do come to Boston

Overall, the Celtics’ can’t and shouldn’t tank because you can’t sell a losing team as a promising home and the market for upcoming stars on losing teams (in case you were hoping for a Big 3 redux) doesn’t forecast with depth. All current bad teams are really bad with no exciting pieces. Boston must appear like a team on the brink, which is substantially more attractive than a losing franchise trying to sell the message “we win because of one free agent”. Fans, GMs and players are all smart enough to know one star does not make a championship team, not in today’s NBA. So with this said, I present to you a viewing guide for the “Tank building 2014 NBA Celtics”:

  • Win every game possible against the Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers and 76ers (however if the 76ers are out of playoff contention, the Celtics should bow out.)
  • The Celtics should win every game possible (unless our record has us in the playoffs.)
  •  Footnotes, root for Atlanta and Brooklyn losses (ideally falling out of the playoffs)

A perfect Celtics season; leaves us with a 25.6% chance for the #1 overall pick; no pick worse than the fourth in the draft, and 3 picks in the top 15 in the 2014 draft class. Public sentiment would reflect a Rajon Rondo that has fully recovered from his previous injury and ready to move forward as a building block to the future Celtics.

Now lets get to the dream sequence; depending on early termination options of current 2014 free agents (Bron, Melo, Bosh, Wade) you could potentially see a trade that will position Boston as one of the top destinations to land a free agent (I’m looking at you Kevin Love). Potentially seeing an opening day roster in 2015 that consists of Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love, insert FA name here, and potentially a top 15 draft pick.

More realistically, the Timberwolves don’t get anxious and shop Love early, making the focus summer of 2015. The summer of 2015 is the “real” free agent class that matters. At that time we might have the ability to add two max free agents based upon the long-term extensions of either Jared Sullinger or Rajon Rondo. Waiting till 2015 would also allow for any 2014 draft picks to develop in Boston further adding to a stockpile of assets (for trade or to create a positive destination for FA players).

With both of these summer predictions I’ve tried to curtail my subjective connection to the Celtics, but I must admit; writing it out only makes me further believe the grass is green for the Celtics in the future.

Tim Lo is a Bangor based entrepreneur, marketing and advertising professional, and sports fan; fair and objective, in-depth analysis for the educated sports fan with a dash of opinion.   

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