Four years ago, the Celtics were struggling.

Boston had just past the end of the big three era, and the team was on the verge of rebuilding. They had just snuck into the playoffs, with barely any valuable assets other than a washed up core of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo along with what looked like a dead-end player in Avery Bradley. After being eliminated in the first round as the seven seed, Danny Ainge (The Celtics’ General Manager) was furious. He knew the only way to get out of rebuilding was a trade.

Ainge finally found a team. The Brooklyn Nets; a one-man team lead by Deron Williams, looking for talented players to push for a championship. The Celtics traded Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and D.J. White to the Nets for four first round draft picks and five bench players.

At that time, Celtics fans were furious with Ainge. Now, the trade has really paid off. Boston claimed the one seed in the East last season without trading any draft picks or assets. Recently, the team signed Gordon Hayward who is one of the premier small forwards in the NBA. The Celtics are an extremely strong team and here are three reasons why they are serious contenders for the championship.

1. Draft Picks and Young Assets

It’s amazing to think about how much Boston has to gain. Already being one of the best teams in the East, the Celtics still have improvements to look forward to. Here are some of their young players:

Jaylen Brown – A 6’7 athletic small forward who plays astonishing defense for a one year player, he’s skilled inside the paint and can also shoot the three ball.

Jayson Tatum – Arguably the best rookie in the summer league, Tatum is incredibly dominant as an offensive player as he can slash inside or step outside for a jumpshot.

Terry Rozier – A traditional point guard who is a terrific passer, and a reliable three point shooter – great at backing up Isaiah Thomas off the bench.

On top of all these players, Boston have a valuable draft pick locked up for 2018.

2. The Isaiah Thomas-Gordon Hayward Combo

In today’s NBA, you need more than one star to contend. Lucky for the Celtics, they picked up Gordon Hayward who could be their missing piece needed to reach the NBA Finals. When they played Cleveland in the Conference Finals, they needed one more scorer to keep their team in the game during opposing runs. Unfortunately, Isaiah Thomas wasn’t enough to do that. Hayward will surely take some pressure off Thomas and help the team down the stretch in important games.

Now with two stars, it’s not unrealistic to think that Boston can at the very least least push the Cavaliers to six or seven games, if not eliminate them.

3. Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge, a standout General Manager in the league has put his team in a great position. Ainge has been behind all the Celtics’ moves, and has proven to be a prodigy at developing a team.

Seriously, the guy’s a genius. With the trade of Avery Bradley, every Celtic from the 2013-14 season is gone. Only Danny Ainge could have kept the owners/fans faith in the organization after totally reforming a team. Only the Cleveland Cavaliers have seen so much change, and they had the advantage of LeBron James‘s recruiting efforts. Ainge’s efforts have made Boston a championship level team with still so much to gain.

With Ainge leading the organization, the Celtics are in good hands.

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