BOSTON (CBS) – Larry Bird is not walking through that door. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door, and Robert Parish is not walking through that door, so this will not be a banner year for the Boston Celtics.

But instead of worrying about “tanking” and positioning to get a better pick in the draft, play-by-play man Sean Grande of the Celtics Radio Network thinks this season should be about developing Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk into the building blocks of the future.

As it currently stands the 19-34 Celtics are not in line to make the playoffs, but with seven teams having worse records they’re also not in line for the handful of surefire, “can’t-miss” prospects in this upcoming draft class.

The Celtics are in a balancing act.

“I don’t think they’ll get too much closer to the playoffs than they are right now, but who knows with [Rajon] Rondo getting healthy. The problem is you have these two worlds that you’re living in, so go tell Jared Sullinger not to play as hard and stop getting better. Tell Kelly Olynyk to stop getting it because he’s getting too good. Tell Rondo to stop playing himself back into shape. It doesn’t really work that way.”

Nobody expects Brad Stevens to tank – that’s not how you learn to be a great NBA coach. And nobody expects the players to try and lose, but that doesn’t mean the higher powers that be can’t influence the outcome of the season.

“Jordan Crawford – the Eastern Conference Player Of The Week – traded. Courtney Lee is having the best shooting year that he’s ever had – traded. By those indications Danny Ainge is doing his part to get that particular thing done. This season can’t be about an 8% chance to get an 8% guy. It has to be about getting Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk better.”

Even though scouts and executives agree that the upcoming draft class is the deepest it’s been in years that still doesn’t mean there are any guarantees. And while the Celtics might not receive the #1 overall selection, a high draft pick is coming their way regardless.

“I believe a really good draft pick is coming in a really good draft, and I’m not sure anybody has drafted better than Danny over the past 10 years – he’s certainly been one of the best at doing it,” Grande concluded.

 Listen below for the full discussion:



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