The Celtics hold the second spot in ESPN’s Future Power Rankings, with a roster full of players with All-Star potential and as many as three extra first-round picks coming their way next June, as Kevin Pelton details. One of those picks will be Sacramento’s unless it lands at No. 1.
However, the franchise could take a long-term hit this offseason should Kyrie Irving depart in free agency. The Celtics will be capped out and won’t have the ability to sign a major replacement should Irving leave the New England area. If the point guard does stick around, the team will face luxury-tax concerns, though Pelton is confident in GM Danny Ainge’s ability to properly navigate through the potential woes.
Here’s more from Boston:
- We have yet another indicator that Irving should be healthy heading into the Celtics‘ training camp with the point guard playing fullcourt basketball over the weekend, as Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe passes along. Irving was on the court in Miami playing alongside Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kelly Olynyk among others.
- The Celtics will continue to give Al Horford some run at the four, pairing him with Aron Baynes on the court, and A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports believes the duo will provide elite defense in the paint. Baynes and Horford played 13.3 minutes per game together last season and they had the best defensive rating (95.0) among all of Boston’s pairings with at least 10 minutes per game together.
- The Horford-Baynes pairing also provides the team with top 3-point range, as Blakely notes in the same piece. The Celtics shot 44.4% from downtown when the two bigs were on the floor, the best among all the team’s two-man combinations.