According to ESPN Insiders, the Celtics’ future isn’t very bright
“Players: Chris Babb (24), Avery Bradley (23), Chris Johnson (24), Kelly Olynyk(23), Phil Pressey(23), Marcus Smart (20), Jared Sullinger (22), James Young(19), Tyler Zeller (24)
The Celtics’ youth movement has me less than enthused: While Bradley is a high-level defender and an improved shooter, if he’s not at his ceiling now, he’s not far from it. Similarly, Sullinger seems pigeonholed as a solid backup big, but lacking the size or athleticism to grow his game anymore. Zeller and Olynyk are both finesse bigs better suited playing alongside a defensive stalwart big (which the C’s don’t have), and I still have reservations about how Smart’s game will translate to the pro level.”
So ESPN recently ranked every team in the NBA based on their Under-25 talent. Out of the 30 teams, the Celtics ranked 22nd. Considering that more than half of the Celtics’ current roster is under 25, this isn’t a very promising analysis for Celtics fans. Luckily, ESPN isn’t always right about everything and my guess is that some of their predictions in this particular case are inaccurate. I completely disagree with the idea that Jared Sullinger is “pigeonholed as a backup big.” Sully was arguably the most impactful player on his team in only his second year in the league and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make an all-star team within the next couple years. I guess I can understand why there are reservations about how Smart will fare in the NBA based on his size, but my gut feeling tells me that he has the skills to compete. The only thing that I agree with in this analysis is that the Celtics lack a “defensive stalwart big” which has been the case since they traded Kendrick Perkins in 2011. If they could find someone to fill that role it would help immensely with the development of both Olynyk and Zeller.