By Aaron Jackson
With the NBA draft lottery scheduled for Tuesday Celtics’ fans have plenty of reasons for excitement. Their team, which finished first in the conference, also has the best odds at the #1 overall pick, and they can’t fall any farther than #4 in the draft. Let’s take a look at some possible scenarios to see what may happen.
#1. The Celtics get the first overall pick. Again, this is the most likely scenario, though it’s certainly anything from a done deal. Boston has a 25% chance of this happening, and if it does there is little doubt at this point that they’ll be taking Markelle Fultz, the point guard from Washington. At 6’5 Fultz has great height and athleticism, as well as an incredible scoring ability but will likely need to work on his court vision and passing at the next level.
#2. The right ping pong ball emerges a second too late and turns up the second overall pick. This is where things get interesting. Lonzo Ball is the clear second best talent in the draft in most minds, but at this point we don’t really need to talk a whole lot about why teams are worried about him. His father Lavar may in fact cost him some money (other than shoe deals) because there is some talk that De’Aaron Fox, the point guard from Kentucky, is now the favorite to go here. I suspect the Celtics may go that route and avoid the Ball distractions. Fox reminds me a lot of Rajon Rondo.
#3. The Celtics get the third overall pick. This is where things get interesting. If Ball is available any team at #3 would have a really hard time saying no. Ball just brings too much to the table as an all-around player to drop considering talent wise he is #1 pick level. I would expect that the Celtics would take Fox or Ball here, whichever is available.
#4. They get the fourth overall pick. I’ve tried to talk myself into the Celtics benefiting some from falling this far. They wouldn’t be forced to take a point guard, leaving the door open for a future with Isaiah Thomas. Forwards are much more likely to go in this spot; Kansas’ Josh Jackson being the favorite, with Jayson Tatum from Duke and Lauri Markkanen of Arizona being options as well. So by falling they’d be able to draft an area of bigger need without dealing with the repercussions of passing over the top talents. That said, I just can’t do it. The top 2-3 guys are on another tier according to most scouts, so dropping this far would be a big loss.
#5. They get one of those four picks and decide to trade. To me this largely depends on how much they want to keep Isaiah Thomas around. If they really truly think he is a player you can build a championship team around then I sincerely doubt they keep the pick. If they don’t, I expect they will draft the player they consider to be the future of their franchise. Given that player is likely to be a point guard, you’d have to think that would spell the end of Isaiah long term.
Regardless of what the end result is, tomorrow night and the ensuing draft is going to go a long way to determining the future of this franchise.
Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.