…The above picture is from the Draft Party held at the TD Garden in Boston last night. Based on the reactions to most of the Celtics’ picks you’d have thought Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Ben Wallace were all in this draft or something: Ben Simmons (76ers) and Brandon Ingram (Lakers) were taken and we knew where they were going. There was no surprise and this was prettymuch a two-man draft. All the teams knew this once they were taken so the focus was on getting roleplayers. From the Celtics’ standpoint, it was a matter of picking assets that can either be used right away or packaged to get a vet when free agency begins on July 1: One week from today.
The Celtics used the third pick to take Jalen Brown. The choice shocked everyone in the room, who thought the Celtics would have settled on Khris Dunn (drafted by the T’Wolves). The house crowd in Boston reportedly booed when Brown’s name was called along with 3 more of the other six picks the Celtics kept. The two picks Boston traded to Memphis for picks in 2019 were Dejonya Davis (Pick #31) and Rade Zagorac #35).
I agree with Danny Ainge and the pundits on this one: He’s a dark horse. Remember, Paul Pierce was drafted 10th in the ’98 draft and we know how he turned out after a few years. He became the face of the franchise is what happened. Same with Isaiah Thomas now in just his second year with the Celtics. By the way: I.T. was drafted LAST in the 2011 draft. So, yeah. Ainge knows what he’s doing getting Brown now. He can help the team NOW or Ainge would’ve traded for or signed him a few years from now.
Guerschon Yabusele (#16) and Ante Zizic (#23) rounded out the first round picks, both international players (France and Croatia respectively) and both are expected to remain in Europe for another year or two. I believe the term used is Draft and Stash. In the second round, Boston delt its 31st and 35th picks to Memphis for future draft prospects.
Demitrius Jackson (#45), Ben Bentil (#51) and Abdel Nader (#58) round out the three Round 2 Draft picks the Celtics kept. Of them, Bentil and Jackson got a positive fan reaction compared to the other Celtics picks.
Subtracting Jalen Brown, the traded picks and the two picks going overseas, that leaves 3 players who will be competing for a spot on the 2016-17 roster. Either Bentil or Jackson will stay. Bentil seems the most likely to join Brown based on their college stats and the Celtics’ needs.
That reminds me: Demetrius Jackson was noticably absent during the Celtics’ press conference a few hours ago in which the draft picks were formally introduced. No explaination was given though I can’t help but wonder a few things. He would certainly be enticing if h is part of a deal to get someone once free agency begins.
Brown and Bentil are both Forwards, which helps given how crowded the Guard spot in Boston is (Thomas, Bradley, Evans, Smart, Turner). There are actuaally more forwards on The Celtics Roster but like I said at the top, some are expected to be packaged with some Draft Picks in a deal to get a veteran player or two. These are the names I keep hearing people bring up on Facebook to be traded for <Insert Player Here>:
- Jae Crowder (F)
- Marcus Smart (G)
- Avery Bradley (G)
- Amir Johnson (F)
I’ll be blunt: Smart and Bradley are both staying. Period. No way in hell the Celtics are trading either of them, let alone both. They’re part of the core rotation like it or not. To lose either would drop the Celtics to fighting for 8th place in the Eastern Conference, which would be going backwards. Evan Turner getting hurt was what prevented the Celtics from beating Atlanta in the 1st Round. Basically what happened to Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving last year. I expect Turner and Jared Sullinger to resign with Boston on that note.
Crowder and Johnson along with Jonas Jerebko (F), RJ Hunter (G), John Holland (F/G) and Terry Rozier (G) could all be packaged with the picks the Celtics don’t keep or stash in Europe along with cash considerations for any two of a number of desirable Free Agents. These are just a few such players the Celtics could still get and put to work right away (current/former team in parenthises):
- Kevin Durant (Thunder)
- Joakim Noah (Bulls)
- Gerald Green (Heat)*
- Al Jefferson (Hornets)*
- Kendrick Perkins (Pelicans)*
- Austin Rivers (Clippers)
- Josh Smith (Rockets)
- Mario Chalmers (Grizzlies)
- Hassan Whiteside (Heat)
*Denotes this player was originally drafted by the Celtics
…Notice I didn’t list Jimmy Butler. Joakim Noah decided to become a Free Agent, prettymuch making Butler untradable. No way they’re gonna do a complete reset like the Celtics were forced to do a few years back. I’d be very surprised if they trade him given Derek Rose was dealt to the Knicks to entice Kevin Durant come July 1st. D-Wade, DeRozan and LBJ are all expected to resign with their respective teams as well.
Al Jefferson and Gerald Green were famously part of the trade deal that brought Kevin Garnett to Boston. They’ve both improved since they left Boston 8 years ago. Kendrick Perkins played his first 8 seasons with the Celtics and was part of the ’08 Championship team. He’s played with LeBron James in Cleveland and Kevin Durant in OKC. He can give wisdom in dealing with them.
Clippers fans and analysts strongly believe it’s time for Austin Rivers to be cut lose in part so he can realize his full potential. He was traded to the Cippers from the New Orleans Bobcats the same year his father Doc Rivers became the President and Head Coach of the team. Rivers and Ainge are obviously still close despite their split over Rondo. No doubt the older Rivers would feel comfortable about his son playing for a franchise that’ll let him come into his own: Contrary to what was originally planned, Austin Rivers’ minutes were limited due to the superstars on the team.
Kevin Durant’s the most sought-after Free Agent of course. If the Celtics want him they will need to first get Joakim Noah, Mario Chalmers or Gerald Green. Just of them should be enough to get Durant, if not Josh Smith or Hassan Whiteside. If the Celtics get one of these three players, it could pull the trigger on a trade to bring DeMarcus Cousins, Paul Millsap or D’Angelo Russell to Boston.
Folks need to just chill out and be patient. Anyone who’s paying attention can easily see the Celtics are setting up to get a superstar or two via Free Agency and Trades. Kevin Durant’s the top prize but folks need to understand there are 7 other teams including OKC that want him. The T-Wolves were the other team close to getting Butler yesterday but with both Derrick Rose (Traded to the Knicks) and Joakim Noah (Free Agent) gone, the Bulls are not gonna give up Butler unless it’s for equal or greater value. They know all too well both the Celtics and Knicks both want him to get KD to sign with them.
Unlike the internet “Trade Experts”, Ainge has to plan around the liklihood another team or OKC signs Durant. He’s obviously going for him but if he doesn’t sign with Boston, he’s gonna want to make sure he can get someone else who can perform. The Celtics should start talking to Josh Smith now since there don’t seem to be alot of teams looking to get him. They should also start talking to at least half the other players I mentioned in my above list just to put the idea in their heads.