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The NBA draft is one of the most exciting moments of the year for basketball fans. There’s so much that goes into predicting what these young men (19-22 years old) will do for the next 10-15 years of their lives, and that’s what makes the draft so fun. This years draft is top heavy with undeniable talent, but is shaping up to be very similar to last year. Especially for one team in particular. The Boston Celtics.
The first two picks in the 2016 draft were locks heading into the night, with Ben Simmons going to the Sixers, and Brandon Ingram going to the Lakers. After that it turned into a guessing game that could blow up at any given moment with a big time trade. The Celtics were on the clock at No. 3 and were rumored to be looking to move the pick. Teams were trying to move into the top 4 for Kris Dunn, and the Celtics had Jimmy Butler on their mind.
This year the first two picks in the 2017 draft are essentially locked. The Celtics had the No. 1 spot, but traded the pick to the 76ers for the No. 3 pick and a future 1st. With that trade it locked in Markelle Fultz to the Sixers. At No. 2 it’s no secret or rumor, the Lakers are going to get their PG of the future as well, in Lonzo Ball. Now the Celtics are on the clock again, heavily involved in trade rumors, and teams are trying to crawl into the top 5 for Josh Jackson.
So what are the Celtics going to do with the 3rd pick?
The Celtics basically have three options: Keep the pick, move down, trade for a star player.
If the Celtics keep the pick, like last year, they’re going to be targeting one of these three young forwards at No. 3: Jayson Tatum from Duke, Josh Jackson from Kansas, or Jonathan Issac from Florida State. The consensus is that this draft is very guard heavy, and while that is true, don’t discount these three players. All three of these players bring a different skill set to the table.
Tatum is a 6’8 Forward who projects to be a prolific scorer for many years while playing the 3/4 spots.
Jackson is also a 6’8 Forward who is a freak athlete, who projects to be an elite defender in the NBA while playing the 2/3 spots.
Isaac is a 6’10.5″ lanky Forward who brings a very unique skill set, and projects to be a 3 & D player with the potential to guard 1-4 on the court, and maybe even 1-5 if he grows into his body.
All three forward prospects have very bright futures, but my prediction if the Celtics keep the pick, is they draft Paul Pierce 2.0, Jayson Tatum.
The second option for the Celtics is to move down for multiple first rounders. The Celtics have been rumored to be in contact with the Kings trying to get picks No. 5 and 10. With picks 5 and 10, they could still get one of the three forwards, and another player they like at 10. The Kings declined the Lakers offer of No. 2 for picks No. 5 and 10, so who knows what it takes to get that deal done.
The Celtics have also been linked to the Timberwolves and have been talking to them for pick No. 7. That pick could be acquired to include in another deal, or to pick PG Dennis Smith Jr who they’re rumored to love.
The third option is for Danny Ainge to finally cash in on all of these assets. Much like last year, there’s a plethora of names the Celtics have been rumored to be asking about. Once again, the Celtics have been linked to Jimmy Butler, and Paul George, but now you can add Kristaps Porzingis, and DeAndre Jordan to that list.
The Celtics have of course been linked to Butler and George for awhile. There’s no secret they’re hot on Butler and would give up #3 to do so. Paul George on the other hand has expressed his desires to move out west to LA next summer, so the Celtics haven’t been willing to pony the No. 3 pick up. That leaves DeAndre “can’t make a free throw” Jordan, and “The Unicorn.”
The Clippers approached the Celtics and offered them DeAndre Jordan straight up for No. 3 to pick Josh Jackson. That trade was rightfully decline by the C’s, so I wouldn’t expect DJ in a Celtics uniform at the end of the night. The interest in a 7 footer who can rebound the ball, and block shots, still remains however.
Which brings us to Kristaps Porzingis. I’m not sure if I should be shocked that Phil is shopping Porzingis, because it’s Phil after all… But Porzingis is a win now, rising super star. He’s 7’2″ and can do it all on the basketball court. He is the exact type of player that Danny Ainge has been stockpiling all of these assets for, and Danny has been in Phil’s ear about him heading into tonight.
The Knicks asking price has been rumored to be “very aggressive”, as it should be for a talent like Porzingis. Phil reportedly told the Celtics he wants pick No. 3 tonight, Brooklyn’s 2018 First, and two of Jaylen Brown/Avery Bradley/Marcus Smart/Jae Crowder. Danny Ainge countered with #3 tonight, one of the mentioned three players, and a top 7 pick that the Celtics would trade up for tonight. That is quite the haul, but still not sure if it is enough for Porzingis.
If there’s a chance Danny can come out of this draft with Porzingis in green, he will absolutely pull the trigger. Ultimately, I don’t think that will be the case as Phil won’t be willing to come down from the steep asking price. If that’s the case the case, look for the Celtics to take Tatum, or make a deal with the Kings.
Last years draft gave the Celtics Jaylen Brown. This years draft could be much more rewarding. One things for sure, tonight is going to be chaotic across the NBA. For Celtics fans though, no matter what happens tonight, the future for the team is as bright as ever. In Danny we must trust…
Follow me on twitter @dbeard13 as I’ll be tweeting updates/my thoughts during the draft tonight!