Funny how these things work. On Friday I was saying I think the Celtics should trade the number 1 pick. At the time, my thinking was that they should turn the pick into Paul George or maybe Jimmy Butler. I didn’t see them swapping picks with the Sixers but I can understand why they did it. Before we get in to who the winner was, let’s see exactly what the trade was.
Sixers get: 2017 First Round draft pick from Boston
Celtics get: 2017 First Round draft pick from the 76ers plus a heavily protected (2-5) 2018 pick from the 76ers. If the pick is number 1 or below 6, then Boston gets the 2019 first round pick the 76ers acquired from Sacramento in the Stauskas trade.
What’s in it for Boston?
I had my doubts about how successfully Isaiah Thomas and Fultz would be in the Boston backcourt. First of all they are very similar players and second of all while Fultz get up to speed with the NBA, his defense will be slack so the Celtics will suffer defensively if he plays next to Isaiah Thomas plus Avery Bradley didn’t come all this way to move back to the bench for a rookie (remember he benched Ray Allen – one of the long line of things that wound up with Ray Ray finding his way to Miami). The Celtics need an Elite wing which is why I thought it best if they turn the pick in to a super star.
The widely held notion is that Boston want to use the pick on Josh Jackson who is a super athletic type with a high ceiling. While Jackson is not the superstar wing the Celtics need today, he is one for the future. Another thing to note is that Paul George has apparently told the Pacers Brass that he won’t renew his contract next summer. That is effectively him telling them to trade him. Do the Celtics package a deal for PG around their picks? We know PG likes LA but we aren’t sure how hhe feels about Boston. Will Boston risk it all and hope that Paul George will extend his stay in Beantown? That’s not a very Danny Aingey risk to take. Having said that, Boston can have up to 7 first round picks over the next 3 years and if you think they are stashing those picks to draft super stars, Danny Ainge apparently once said picks are easy to trade. Players aren’t that easy to trade. That makes me think we haven’t seen the end of this one just yet.
What do the Sixers get out of it?
The widely held notion is that the 76ers moved up to draft Fultz at the 1. Since my post on Friday, I have watched more Fultz film and I have a better idea of what kind of player he is. Philly needs guards that can score and play defense which is why they were apparently going to throw a lot of money at Kyle Lowry. Fultz gives them dynamism in the back court, he can create off the dribble and is tall enough to defend some forwards. I forgot that one of the knocks on Ben Simmons was that he is a poor shooter. Embiid will force you out of the paint and it seems so will Fultz. I guess that unclogs the paint a little for Simmons. Those 3 can wreak pick and roll havock. The Jackson pick doesn’t work for Philly because he is a poor shooter. Ditto for De’aaron fix. Monk can shoot/score but does not have the size to defend (Monta Ellis 2.0?).
The short answer is that it is too early to tell. If you are Boston, you don’t need Fultz unless you trade Isaiah Thomas (why would you trade a 2 time all-star who lead you to the number 1 seed in the East and the Eastern Conference Finals for a rookie who has not played 1 second in the NBA). Granted said rookie could turn out to be a mega super star but you can’t say for sure, can you?
If Fultz turns out to be a star then Philly wins. If not, they get knocked for drafting for fit (as opposed to drafting the best player available). Because we are talking about picks here and not players, I am reluctant to pick a winner for this one. Maybe we revisit this after one year to see which pick has the better rookie year.