By most informed opinions, the Boston Celtics did well for themselves in the 2014 NBA draft. Utilizing a pair of first-round selections, the Celtics emerged with Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart and Kentucky swingman James Young, two players with potential to be quality players at the next level.
Some will quibble with the idea of using a rare high-lottery pick to add depth at the only position on the team that currently boasts an All-Star-caliber player, but the Celtics maintained leading up to and after the event that beggars can't be choosers. The Celtics picked Smart at No. 6 because they believe he will have the best NBA career of those who were still available.
The biggest lingering complaint among Celtics fans is simply that no one knows exactly where the Celtics will go from here. In adding two more skilled, young players, Boston is constructing an intriguing, low-cost nucleus upon which to build, but the "draft and develop" path often requires the sort of patience that fans in this region don't own.
The Celtics still have the sort of assets that can help accelerate the rebuilding process, though to what extent is unclear at this point. Boston has the means to add some established talent this summer, but you can't help but wonder whether it's better to simply endure another lean season, heavy on development, rather than improve just enough to get stuck in the sort of low-seed, early-playoff exit rut that many middle-of-the-pack teams encounter.
For his part, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge didn't reveal his preferred GPS route on Thursday. Pressed after the draft on whether he envisions the 2014-15 season as one focused on the team's younger players, Ainge hesitated to offer a road map.
"We'll see. We'll see what happens the rest of the summer," he said. "I'm not sure yet. It's too early to say that. I mean, it's an emphasis always to develop young players, so we're always trying to do that. But how many of them we have and what our final roster is, I don't know. But we're very excited about these two guys and our young core right now."