Throughout the NBA, many teams view Markelle Fultz as the number 1 player in this draft. Too bad one team doesn’t think like the rest of the league. The Boston Celtics have traded the number 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft to the Philadelphia 76ers for the number 3 pick this year and a conditional first round pick in either 2018 or 2019.
With the top pick there is a 99.99% chance the sixers go with Fultz which will hopefully complete their “process” by pairing him with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. It isn’t very complicated what Philadelphia is trying to do.
Then there is the Celtics. Ainge has a huge pair of you know what to pass on a potentially franchise altering player. Even though Boston clearly doesn’t feel the same about him, they could face years of ridicule if Fultz goes on to become a star.
The trade with the 76ers shows that the C’s and Ainge have a plan. Boston has a million options to choose from with the number of assets they have. If the Celtics just use the pick they will either go with Jayson Tatum or Justin Jackson according to multiple reports. They could also package the pick and other future first rounders for a star like Jimmy Butler.
Danny Ainge knows that the Celtics are pretty far off from the recently crowned Warriors after the atrocious showing in the Eastern Conference Finals. He saw that the green team does not have the players to challenge King James or Chef Curry but it’s any idea as to what Ainge thinks is best: whether to go after free agents, go through the draft, or get them via trade.
Then again Isaiah Thomas’ contract is up soon, Al Horford is ending the prime of his career, and they have so many future picks. The players they end up drafting won’t reach the primes of their career until IT and Horford are jogging down the court with a cane in their hands so it seems like they have to make a move. But, these could be the bridge years until Jaylen Brown and whomever they take at 3 become stars. Having a 1-2 combination on the wing of Brown and Jackson / Tatum could be lethal but does Ainge trust the future of Brown and number 3 or the primes of Horford and IT?
After spending that type of money on Horford the Celtics need to cash in now. Even if they do trade some of their picks, they are still set up great for the future. I mean, who knows what the hell the Clippers are going to look like: that first rounder may become a top 5 pick if Blake Griffin AND Chris Paul leave on the free agent market. They could even go after Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin on top of trading for another star.
All in all I love the move by both teams. The sixers get their guy and the Celtics are still set up for the future while staying in contention. Even if the Celtics kept number 1 they would have still passed on Fultz according to what Danny Ainge said in a conference call Monday. He also said that, “We will still be able to get the player we want in the draft” so the Celtics pretty much just added a first rounder for nothing.
It looks likely the Celtics stay at 3 and take Tatum / Jackson but what goes from there is a crap shoot. Danny Ainge is as unpredictable as flipping a coin ten times and landing on heads every time. Fans will see in the coming weeks what the Celtics are going to do but Beantown looks poised to shake up the NBA even more than they already have.