With just one week until the 2019 NBA Playoffs begin, we’re still a long way away from the upcoming draft. But it’s never too early to think ahead about what’s to come – just ask Danny Ainge.
If the season ended today, the Boston Celtics would end up with four(!) 1st-round draft choices in the upcoming draft. But would you believe me if I said they’d prefer only three?
Basically, they own the rights to Memphis’ pick this season if it falls outside the top eight selections, meaning Memphis keeps the pick if it falls any further. As a stipulation, however, Memphis will still have to convey a draft pick to Boston in either 2020 or 2021. If the pick ends up being conveyed to next season, it will be top-six protected, which means Boston will likely hope it’s conveyed once again to 2021 when there are no protections.
So, it’s actually in Boston’s best interest if Memphis loses out the rest of their games and the pick is conveyed to next year instead. In all likelihood, however, Boston ends up with the following this year:
- The 9th overall pick (from Memphis)
- The 14th overall pick (from Sacramento)
- The 20th overall pick (from LAC)
- The 22nd overall pick (their own)
That’s a lot to work with. Knowing Danny Ainge, he’ll be wheeling and dealing on draft day. The way that I see it, Boston has three scenarios that may play out.
Boston uses all four picks
This is almost completely out of the question. The Celtics are already stacked as it is, maybe even to a fault. There simply isn’t room on this team for four first round picks. Even if they let Terry Rozier walk, which is very likely, this team is too close to a title to work on another squad of young guys. This year’s class is pretty top-heavy as it is, so the only way I see them using all of these picks is if they make a LeBron-esque trade and ship off half their team for an Anthony Davis.
Boston deals some combo of picks
I’m not sure if this or my next scenario is the most likely. There’s no telling which picks Boston will keep, though it seems likely they’ll want to trade away some of their less-useful selections late in the first round. It’s like I said, the draft falls off pretty hard after the top five-ish picks. Maybe Boston swaps a pick for a Rozier replacement, or maybe some Kyrie insurance in case he leaves in free agency?
Boston goes all in on a trade
The Pelicans duped the Lakers this season into offering a boatload of picks and players when they had no intention of accepting the deal. I hope they won’t do the same to the Celtics, who have far more to offer the Pelicans than any other team in the NBA. Whether Boston even wants to execute this trade may depend in large part on what happens this postseason. As it stands, they’re already competing for a championship. Sure, the season was rocky. But they’re talented enough without Anthony Davis. If things go their way, maybe Danny Ainge decides Davis just isn’t worth the asking price – especially if he’s only a rental.