How Was Boston’s Draft Day?

The Boston Celtics were under the media microscope ever since the franchise made a trade earlier this week with the Philadelphia 76ers to exchange 2017 first round picks and for Boston to gain an additional first round pick in either 2018 (from the Los Angeles Lakers) or 2019 (from the Sacramento Kings or the 76ers).

Basketball fans, Celtics’ fans especially, were curious as to why Boston would make that trade to move down in a draft packed with talented point guards. 

Some of the curiosity also was pointed towards what Boston would do with the #3 pick now that they made the trade to acquire that right. There were numerous parties that wondered if the Celtics would draft a player, trade the pick again for more future assets, or use the pick to acquire a marquee free agent like Indiana forward Paul George or Chicago forward Jimmy Butler. 

When Thursday night came, the Celtics did something quite normal for the NBA draft: pick a player. 

With the #3 pick, the Celtics picked Duke forward Jayson Tatum. 

The majority of the media believed that Boston should have taken Kansas forward Josh Jackson since he was the best player available after Washington guard Markelle Fultz and UCLA guard Lonzo Ball were taken with the #1 and #2 picks, respectively. 

Like most NBA draftees, Tatum has his strengths and weaknesses. 

Jayson’s strengths include: being able to score the basketball, having NBA-ready size and length (6’8″, 205 lbs), and offering versatility because of his above average athleticism. 

Tatum’s weaknesses include: not an accurate enough shooter from 3-point land despite improving his shot (34%), needing more strength (205 lbs), and not being a great defender as of now.

Given how most NBA personnel have saved about Tatum’s potential to be a big-time scorer and excellent two-way player, I would say that this was a great pick for a team that wants to dethrone the Cleveland Cavaliers as champs of the Eastern Conference. 

As far as the rest of the draft is concerned, Boston had 3 other picks in the NBA draft and all three we in the second round (#37, #53, and #56).

With those 3 picks, the Celtics chose SMU forward Semi Ojeleye, Arizona guard Kadeem Allen, and California guard Jabari Bird with the #37, #53, and #56 picks, respectively. 

Ojeleye has an NBA body (6’7″, 241 lbs), talented scorer (19 PPG, 49% FG, and 42% 3FG), and a good rebounder (7 RPG). However, he is undersized for the power forward position and he has to improve a lot as a defender. 

Allen is considered an underrated player who has a competitive streak and defensive mentality that could allow him to be better than projections. However, he is a tweener who is too small to be a shooting guard and is not a pure point guard. His role in the NBA depends on what style of play he can commit to.

Bird has the size (6’6″) and athleticism to stick around in the NBA, but does not have enough of an all-around game to covet a roster spot. He also needs to develop more of a motor givem his lack of rebounds and steals in college. 

Overall, given that Boston got their guy with the #3 pick and did not overreach to acquire Jimmy Butler, my grade for their draft 2017 is a B. 

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What Does Boston Do With The #3 Pick Tonight?

Danny Ainge, president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics, has kept everyone in the basketball world off-balance with what he could do with the #3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. 

There seems to be just as many reports of Ainge taking players like Kansas forward Josh Jackson or Duke forward Jayson Tatum with the pick as there are of Ainge packaging the pick in a deal for an established player (like Paul George or Jimmy Butler) and/or future assets. 

Most are critical of Ainge’s trading the #1 pick in this year’s draft to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the #3 pick in this year’s draft and a future first-round pick in 2017 or 2018. 

For those who are critical of the trade, consider this: in a sample size of 20 drafts spanning from 1989 to 2008, the #3 pick has more of a chance of becoming a star (85%) than any other pick including the #1 overall pick (70%). This information, done by Roland Beech at 82games.com, shows that in recent history, having the #1 overall pick does not give a team the best chance at drafting a future star contrary to popular belief. 

Be that as it may, I do not know if Ainge knew that piece of information before he made the trade. However, the last time that Boston traded the #1 overall pick, they acquired hall of fame center Robert Parrish and gained the rights to draft hall of fame forward Kevin McHale. 

These pieces of information are intended to calm doubters of Ainge’s method behind the madness. As far as what to do with the #3 pick, that is up to personal opinion. 

If Boston wants to win now, they should try to flip the #3 pick for an established star like Chicago swingman Jimmy Butler or Indiana forward Paul George. However, if the Boston wants to have a better tomorrow, they should draft Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum with the #3 spot. 

 Who Should Boston Pick At #3?

Through a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics have the #3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

There has been speculation as to who Boston wants to pick at that spot. Danny Ainge, president of basketball operations, said that whatever player they want would be taken with the #1 or #3 pick. With such a vague statement coming from Ainge, one has to wonder: who should Boston pick?

For the nature of the piece, this article will exclude information about Washington guard Markelle Fultz and UCLA guard Lonzo Ball since these two players are projected to go #1 and #2 respectively. 

Boston is projected by many to select Kansas forward Josh Jackson with the #3 overall pick. He has loads of potential to become a superstar someday and he has athleticism that will translate to the NBA level.

However, he has to improve his jump shot in order to maximize his potential. Be that as it may, should Boston select Jackson?

Given that Boston had the winningest record in the Eastern Conference last season, their team requires a couple players that can contribute right now. 

Jackson, with his athleticism I’m both sides of the ball, should be able to produce right away as either the backup to power forward Amir Johnson or as the next wing off of the bench after forward Jaylen Brown. The Celtics should take Jackson at the #3 spot. 

Did The Boston Celtics Make The Right Decision?

On Monday, the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to a trade to swap first round draft picks in the 2017 NBA Draft.

As stated before, Boston would swap their #1 overall pick to Philadelphia for their #3 overall pick and a 2018 or 2019 first round pick depending on the Los Angeles Lakers success in the 2017-2018 NBA season. If the Lakers have a pick in the 2018 NBA Draft between #2 And #5, then Boston would get that pick. If the Lakers have a pick outside of the #2 to #5 range, then Philadelphia will send the Celtics a 2019 first round pick instead. 

According to Chris Forsberg of ESPN, many Celtics fans disagreed with this deal for swaping the #1 overall pick in this year’s draft. The reason why is because Boston will miss out on drafting Washington guard Markelle Fultz who is considered by many to be deserving of the #1 overall pick because of his averages as a freshman of 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. 

One reason why Boston may have made the right decision is because Fultz has not proven that he can win at the college level. This is evident in the University of Washington losing its last 13 games to finish their 2016-2017 NCAA season at 9-22. 

Obviously, one is not placing the blame on Fultz because he showed up to play every game according to his stats which include him being the 6th-highest scorer in all of Division I basketball. 

Fultz could turn into a superstar one day, but the Celtics may be trying to win now with their efforts to sway free agents like Gordon Hayward or Jimmy Butler to sign with them. Fultz could be a project that Boston may not have time for. 

More to the point, Kansas forward Josh Jackson may be a better fit for the Celtics as a athletic slashing forward given that they already have star point guard Isaiah Thomas and underrated guard Avery Bradley. Jackson could fit in the rotation as a small-ball forward until he improves his jump shot. 

For those fans who are worried about Boston drafting 3rd as opposed to 1st, they should remember that the NBA draft is a crap shoot at a chance for a impact player. In this kind of ordeal, everybody in every NBA organization can only hope that the players that they select reach their potential to make the pick worthwhile.

One last fact: according to http://www.82games.com., in the last 20 drafts, the player that has been picked at #3 has had the most likely chance to be a star (85%). In the last 5 drafts, players drafted at the #3 spot include: Boston forward Jaylen Brown, Philadelphia center Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia center Joel Embiid, Washington forward Otto Porter, and Washington guard Bradley Beal. 

Could Markelle Fultz Be A Philadelphia 76er?

According to Zach Lowe and Marc Stein of ESPN, the Boston Celtics are in conversations with the Philadelphia 76ers about a trade for the #1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft on Thursday. 

The initial talks between the two teams indicate that the Celtics would give their #1 overall pick to the Sixers for their #3 overall pick and some other draft picks as well. 

It has been assumed that Philadelphia is discussing this trade with Boston so that Washington guard Markelle Fultz can be drafted by Philadelphia. However, the interesting thing is that the 76ers are also interested in Kansas forward Josh Jackson which introduces some uncertainty to who Philadelphia will pick. 

Even more to the fact, the 76ers are holding an workout for Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox on Saturday. That leaves 3 players that Philadelphia could pick #1. 

The photo below, posted on Twitter by Chris Forsberg who is a Boston Celtics reporter for ESPN, shows how many future picks the Celtics have to use as assets for team improvement. 

Draft night on Thursday should be a wild time. 

Will It Be Markelle Fultz or Will It Be Josh Jackson?

Until June 15th came, it was a foregone conclusion that the Boston Celtics would take Washington guard Markelle Fultz with the first pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. 

According to sources such as ESPN and Bleacher Report, Celtics officials have said that Kansas forward Josh Jackson is emerging as an option for Boston at the top spot. 

This is different from the narrative for the past few weeks that the Celtics were solely focused on drafting Markelle or trading the #1 pick. 

This information comes from ESPN’s Chad Ford who had Jackson as the #1 pick on his board in August 2016. 

Ford also spoke to a couple of NBA general managers who say that Jackson will fit seamlessly with the Celtics and that he has more potential to be a star than Fultz or UCLA guard Lonzo Ball. 

According to Jeff Goodman and Marc Spears of ESPN, Jackson cancelled a workout with Boston. However, this is not bad news because teams will and have taken players that have not worked out for them.

The fact that this news is getting out with the NBA Draft next Thursday could be a sign that Boston is reconsidering their idea with what kind of player they want. 

Either way, draft night will be interesting now that another player has come into the picture. 

How Can Boston Improve In The Offseason?

The Boston Celtics finished the 2016-2017 NBA season with the best record in the Eastern Conference at 53-29. 

This team made strides in the playoffs that it has not made since 2012 by making it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time 5 years ago. 

The Celtics have changed a lot since then and now, they have a chance to be a perrenial power in the East for the next few years. 

With All-NBA second-team member Isaiah Thomas as point guard for this team and 4-time all-star Al Horford at center, Boston has a solid foundation to build on. 

It is commonly believed that Boston is one more impact player away from being able to contest the Cleveland Cavaliers for conference supremacy. 

So, one of the first steps that Boston could take to improve would be to convince Utah free agent forward Gordon Hayward or Indiana forward Paul George and the Pacers (who has one more year left on his current deal) to agree to a trade.

Boston has the #1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft which is a huge bargaining chip for the Celtics. The team could use that to create a package that Indiana would be willing to accept in exchange for George. 

Given that there is one year left on George’s current contract, the deal would be worthwhile for Boston if they could convince Paul to sign an extension to his current contract or a new contract after the 2017-2018 season ends. 

It works out for the Celtics that George did not make an All-NBA team this past season so that they could save approximately $75 million due to the new CBA. Instead of George’s contract being 5 years and $210 million, it’s now 5 years and $135-$140 million. 

Hayward is a free agent this summer so Boston can start off fresh with him and sway him into a new contract for the next 5 years. His all-around skill and his emergence as a star in the NBA makes him the other candidate that would work for the Celtics. 

Lastly, in addition to getting George or Hayward, Boston can acquire a power forward that would relegate forward Amir Johnson to the bench where he belongs. Someone like Atlanta forwatd Paul Millsap would fit well for Boston if the Hawks fail to resign Millsap.

With the entire draft and summer ahead of them, Boston has many ways to improve. Getting an impact player on the wing is one of the most important priorities.