When the Boston Celtics blew up their roster by trading away Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, they were expected to be out of the spotlight for the foreseeable future. Four years later the rebuilding in Boston isn't similar to the "trust the process" movement in Philadelphia. It surely doesn't look like the rebuild in LA where the Lakers are just licking their chops waiting for free agency to bring them to relevance. It was a quick and sudden movement that has them just one game away from a meeting with LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The only problem is, the rebuild isn't over, not until the most storied franchise is back to truly contending for a title. To do so, Boston needs this Game 7 victory against Washington to truly take the next step toward raising banner No. 18.

How one win builds the future

You're thinking it, and I'm thinking it. It's going to be extremely tough for anybody other than Golden State or Cleveland to make it to the NBA Finals. All signs point to a third meeting, the rubber match, and hopefully the conclusion of this rivalry. The sad truth is, why is everyone assuming this won't happen next year? How about the year after that? Golden State isn't breaking up, the Cavs will still have LeBron for years to come, and the regular season each and every year will essentially be a 7 month-long preseason just leading up to the Cavs and Warriors battling it out for supremacy yet again.

You know who likely isn't interested in that? The rest of the NBA.

The blueprint for an NBA championship has been set. Superstars need to join the best players on the best teams in order to compete. It makes the league top-heavy, but it's the sad truth. That's where the Celtics come in. The team that finished first in the Eastern Conference during the regular season could be the best bet to not only land free agents, but could be the one to end the yearly date between Golden State and Cleveland.

If you're Blake Griffin or Gordon Hayward, you're not really in a bad spot. Both of them are on teams that won over 50 games. They're not slumming it over in Brooklyn.

They're winning games and getting All-Star nods. Life isn't bad, unless they're looking for a championship. The Jazz are already rumored to blow it up this season, as are the Clippers. These stars are available, and they're looking for a winner.

If Boston wins against Washington, it proves the Celtics are just one step away from the NBA Finals. They aren't just a team that's progressing each and every year. They'd be a team four wins away from breaking up the sequence that may never end. If Hayward and Griffin are looking to leave, would they want to join a team that couldn't beat the Wizards? Or the team that got the chance to take out Cleveland? If you can add an All-Star to a team that just finished first in the East and are also getting a top pick, you have to think they can take the next step.

First, they need to take that step this year by beating Washington.

You're not done rebuilding unless you're contending

What exactly is the point of rebuilding? To break down your team, get young assets and draft picks, and form a team that can get you back to the top. That's pretty self explanatory, but no one explains what exactly "the top" is. It's a strange scenario, but you can't consider Boston out of the rebuild just yet. They're a 50+ win team, and they're further into the playoffs than they've ever been during the Brad Stevens era. Still, until they can become a threat to LeBron instead of just a thorn in his side, they're not done rebuilding. If this team loses to Washington, they're clearly not there yet.

If they can somehow reach the Eastern Conference Finals and steal a game or two? That's Boston saying loud and clear that they're back.

Reaching the ECF and winning a game or two proves a few things. It proves that LeBron actually is human, no matter how this year finishes. It means Boston is legit, even if they fail to keep the Cavs out of the finals. Most importantly, it proves that with the right free agent and a possible high draft pick, this team could be headed for the top yet again.

Again, this year isn't about taking out LeBron. It's about putting a chink in his armor. It's about showing Griffin, Hayward, and any other free agent in the future that Boston is the best place to be if you're hunting for a ring. It's about officially considering this rebuild a resounding success.

Winning against the Wizards doesn't show that the future is bright. It shows that today is bright for Boston.