Scrolling Headlines:

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

Minutemen third, Minutewomen finish fifth in Atlantic 10 Championships for UMass track and field -

May 8, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse wins A-10 title for ninth straight season -

May 8, 2017

Dayton takes two from UMass softball in weekend series -

May 8, 2017

Towson stonewalls UMass men’s lacrosse in CAA Championship; Minutemen season ends after 9-4 loss -

May 6, 2017

Zach Coleman to join former coach Derek Kellogg at LIU Brooklyn -

May 5, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse advances to CAA finals courtesy of Dan Muller’s heroics -

May 4, 2017

On campus: The liberal assault on free speech -

May 4, 2017

DaLuz: Boston Celtics stuck trudging in the mud

(Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The Boston Celtics, once again, found themselves on the wrong side of the pingpong balls.

Danny Ainge, Boston’s general manager and president of basketball operations, was left performing his best Bill Belichick impersonation at his press conference Tuesday night after the Celtics, once again, were left hanging their heads after missing out on a top two selection in next month’s NBA Draft – staying at No. 3 in the order as the Nets had the third-worst record.

“It could have been better, it could have been worse,” Ainge told reporters at Boston’s practice facility in Waltham Tuesday night. “It is what it is.”

The Celtics received the No. 3 pick in the draft courtesy of the Brooklyn Nets, after Ainge essentially performed a heist by trading aging veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce well past their primes among others for Brooklyn’s first round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018, and the right to swap first round picks in 2017.

All bets were hedged on the Celtics moving up in the order by grace of the basketball and ping pong Gods, but as history so often repeats itself, Boston was on the outside looking in of where they had hoped to be. Isaiah Thomas could only bring so much luck.

Obtaining the No. 3 pick is a huge road block in the progression of the rebuild for Boston – not because it was expected to be in the top two selections, but because there was a great chance that it could end up there, but now have one less-valuable asset.

The Celtics don’t need another athletic, defensive guard like Kris Dunn – the projected third pick by some outlets – who they appear to have in the likes of Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier.

In most drafts, the third selection is one not looked at with negative connotations. However, all the draft “experts” have predicted the projected top two picks, Louisiana State’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram, are the only real difference makers and impact players.

The loss isn’t really in the player, but the pick itself – leaving Ainge hamstrung in the process of trying to take the Celtics to the next step.

The No. 1 pick is marketable. Ingram has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant and the Chad Ford’s of the world expect the 6-foot-10 Simmons to be an all-star caliber player that can start right away. Teams that are just a minor piece or two away from contending for a championship could be attracted to either of the top two selections, and teams like the Sixers, Lakers and Celtics could be in the market of making blockbuster moves to speed up the rebuilding process.

Now on the outside looking in, the ability to trade for players like Chicago’s Jimmy Butler or Indiana’s Paul George and packaging the No.3 pick to bring in a player of that caliber is limited.

The fear for Boston fans is remaining amongst the likes of the Atlanta Hawks, who were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the eastern conference semifinals after besting the Celtics four games to two in the previous round. If the Cavilers can sweep the team that beat Boston by two games, injuries aside, how close can they be?

We all know now the Celtics were vastly overrated after squeaking by both Cleveland and the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors at the regular season’s end.

Which goes to show how far off they really are from contending for a championship. Losing out on a top two selection Tuesday night hurts the Celtics chances of being that much better and taking that next step in the foreseeable future.

Get ready to be spoon-fed for the next month or so about how Boston can get that much better by adding another young player in the draft if they are unable to trade the pick.

And if I’m Ainge, I’d be on the phone as we speak.

Kyle DaLuz can be reached at kdaluz@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Kyle_DaLuz.

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