June 18, 2017

Celtics Trade No. 1 Pick to 76ers: The Boston Celtics have traded the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft to the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 3 pick this year and the Los Angeles Lakers' 2018 first-round pick (if it falls from 2-5) or the 76ers 2019 first-round pick from the Sacramento Kings (if it doesn't). I love the smell of complicated draft trade conditionals in the morning.

posted by rcade to basketball at 11:36 AM - 11 comments

Ainge didn't have to take on a warm body or any salary in trade, which is good.

This is a nice move for Philly, but it's not quite enough to make me forget the stupidity of trading Nerlens Noel.

The Kings could be sad sacks for the foreseeable future, so the C's getting the 2019 pick is OK if the 2018 pick doesn't pan out.

I still want Lonzo to go somewhere un-thought of and un-cared about, like Orlando.

posted by beaverboard at 12:48 PM on June 18

Evidently Ainge thinks that Fultz, while good enough to become a very good player in the NBA, is not going to become a so-called superstar. The whole question for Celtics fans is "what will it take for Boston to get to the finals". Consistent scoring from someone taller than 5'9" is the first, and most obvious need. Fultz would have provided this, but there are others who can do this. Both Josh Jackson (if the Lakers don't take him first) and Jayson Tatum can score from the inside, and one of these two will be available at 3. Tatum in particular is a good rebounder and a good defender. From the perimeter both are question marks. Jackson has not shown well as an outside shooter, and he was only a 56% free throw shooter at Kansas; Tatum has decent shot mechanics, which says he can develop a perimeter game. In the meantime, there is free agency, and perhaps the addition of Gordon Hayward.

The other major Celtics' need is rebounding. Perhaps Ainge can attract a lower level free agent to fill this role, but some of the talking heads (and those who use the keyboard) have mentioned an Ainge pick from last year, Ante Zizic. Zizic is a 6"10", 20-year-old Croatian who has been stashed in Europe for the past year. His latest team is in the Turkish league, and Zizic is said to be playing very well there. The reports say he has a strong work ethic, and he plays with a mean streak. He will be playing for the Celtics in the summer league, so his development will be on view.

To sum it all up, Ainge probably thinks he can find perimeter scorers with future picks, or perhaps someone on his current roster (Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown) can improve their 3-point games. Ainge is playing the "slow" game, and building through the draft until a solid foundation is in place, rather than trying to hit the jackpot with some free agent signings and trades. So far the fans have been patient, although when Jaylen Brown was selected last year there were a lot of groans and some boos in TD Garden. Brown worked out well, and much faith in Ainge was restored. We will see what happens this year.

On edit, in response to the previous comment, Lonzo Ball has the appearance of becoming a "slider". If Lakers don't take him, Celtics won't, and other teams will begin to look for something better. As a side bet, I think Ball will go no higher than 6, but I could be wrong.

posted by Howard_T at 03:10 PM on June 18

ESPN showed the Celtics-Lakers "30 For 30" series which, as a Sixers' fan, made me remember why I wished the Soviets had nuked Boston Garden (after Yankee Stadium; had to have priorities). Now, not only did we trade with them, we gave them a No. 3 AND future No. 1 just to move up two spots to No. 1? I feel like the Sixers' brass were saying, "Rob us some more."

I will agree with BB on Noel: the trade was stupid at the time ("The Process" has taken forever thanks to trades) and it now looks asinine.

posted by jjzucal at 06:11 PM on June 18

I want to see the Sixers become relevant again. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the classic years of the Boston-Philly rivalry in the early 80's, when they were taking turns driving stakes into each other's hearts.

Celtics-Sixers back then was about much more than basketball. It had cinematic and cultural overtones. Boston columnists Ryan and Shaughnessy made it into a morality play and never missed an opportunity to spew venom about the Philly evil empire. Reading those guys, you'd think that righteous Boston didn't have a few rusty bridges of its own.

Boston fans hated Dawkins, decided Andrew Toney was deadly the first minute he arrived in Philly, and howled at Billy Cunningham (the Christopher Walken of pro coaching).

People treated the subsequent arrival of Barkley in Philadelphia as a big deal, but a lot of the heavy Boston-Phila drama of the period had already happened by then. He was a continuation of it. We'll probably never see the likes of that type of rivalry again, but I still want the Sixers to be a dangerous, worthy team in the conference.

posted by beaverboard at 10:01 AM on June 19

Celtics get 2 high draft choices instead of 1 and it appears they didn't have a clear favorite among the top available players this year. Either that or they are convinced they can still get Jackson with the 3rd pick.

What if the Lakers take Jackson at 2? Boston might be looking at another trade for the 3rd pick.

posted by cixelsyd at 06:19 PM on June 19

I want to see the Sixers become relevant again.

I too want to see a rivalry in the East that is something other than a fervent wish that "we beat the Cavaliers, or at least come close, at least once per season". Having one dominant team in the conference is not really good for the NBA, nor for any of the teams in the conference. The second round of this year's East playoffs laid the foundation for a genuine intra-conference rivalry, but neither team has a shot at the NBA finals until LeBron goes west or retires. Boston and Washington seemed to develop a healthy disrespect for each other as the season wore on, and the incidents in the playoffs deepened it. The problem is that a fight between Kelly Olynyk and Kelly Oubre just doesn't live up to Philadelphia vs Boston in the 80s.

Perhaps we'll never again see something like Philly - Boston again. The way the rules are enforced now prevent anything resembling some of the stuff that went on back then. The powers that be have decided that offense will triumph, and physical defense must stand aside. Too bad. It's a lot easier to hate a team that levels one of your best players with what appears (to you, at least) to be a cheap shot. Now it's a double technical, perhaps a flagrant foul, and an admonition "Let's settle down here, boys. We have to be nice to each other now."

posted by Howard_T at 06:20 PM on June 19

LBC will wind down at some point? Unless he's a really clever android...

posted by billsaysthis at 08:19 PM on June 19

Boston might be looking at another trade for the 3rd pick.

Boston is after Tatum, not Jackson. While Jackson can run the floor and give you a good inside game, he is not a good shooter. His shooting mechanics are not good, thus in order to become a decent perimeter player, his entire set of shooting mechanics would need to be torn down and rebuilt. That is likely a 3 or 4 year process. Not happening. For Boston to trade the 3rd pick it would take a bushel basket of potential lottery picks, with a top notch player thrown in. Now watch; Ainge will come up with something on the eve of draft day that shoots doen all of my theories.

posted by Howard_T at 10:24 PM on June 19

Boston is after Tatum

Jackson does the things you mention and is a good defender. He is also athletically ready to step in and play next year without hurting the team. Reminds me a lot of another guy that the Spurs drafted who couldn't score anything but dunks and layups in college named Kawhi.

Tatum is the opposite. If he's not scoring he is a big liability and he is not ready athletically or fundamentally to become a #1 or #2 scoring option. His game is in isolation with the ball taking away possession time from the player that makes the Celtics successful. He is a project for a few years from now.

Interesting that I also read Jackson has a better deep perimeter shooting percentage than Tatum even with odd mechanics.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:35 PM on June 19

It's the Lonzo Ball "Chuck Connors as...The Rifleman!" mechanics I wonder about. That launch process starts from his erogenous zone. Muggsy Bogues could defend him on the perimeter.

"Lonzo got the shot off, even with a hand up in his sternum..."

posted by beaverboard at 07:40 AM on June 20

I like Lonzo's game, I hate his entourage.

Hey, Jason Kidd and Magic Johnson had ugly mechanics too.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:11 PM on June 20

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