Bottom of the Big Four?

A recent survey of New England sports fans by Sudbury, Mass.-based Channel Media-Market Research pegged the Boston Celtics as a distant fourth in terms of popularity among the local professional sports teams.

The Celtics garnered only 6 percent of votes among approximately 13,000 sports fans polled last month, well behind the New England Patriots (42 percent), Boston Red Sox (30 percent), and Boston Bruins (21 percent). The Celtics finished ahead of the New England Revolution (1 percent).

Celtics diehards will quibble with the methodology, polling in August -- the NBA's quietest month -- and amidst a quiet offseason as the Celtics continue a rebuilding process after winning just 25 games last season.

Boston sports fans, of course, demand winning from their teams and the Celtics are pleading for patience while trying to assemble a contender again. Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca believes his team's fans understand the process.

"I think it’s tough for anyone to be patient, but the great news it that we have fantastic fans here in Boston," said Pagliuca. "They appreciate the young talent, and I think this team is going to be surprisingly good this year."

The Celtics have searched for ways to accelerate the rebuilding process, but won't sacrifice their surplus of assets at the expense of long-term sustainability. Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck suggested the possibility of "fireworks" this offseason, but the team to this point hasn't found the sort of deal that makes them a surefire contender again.

Pagliuca again stressed patience in the process.

"I think [Grousbeck's words were] misinterpreted," said Pagliuca. "Wyc really meant that we would be out there trying to make something happen, which we are trying to make happen every day. The great thing about Wyc and [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge], we’re patient. To build a championship team, you need patience. We did this once before, and this is a similar model we’re following, where Danny has really accumulated a lot of great assets on the team, and we have nine draft picks over the next five years, it’s going to be a very exciting young roster and we’ll go with it."