The 2019 NBA Draft was hosted by Brooklyn Thursday night. Perhaps fitting, the Nets were the team that helped the Boston Celtics get famously draft pick rich. Boston entered this draft with three first round picks (14th, 20th & 24th) and a second round pick (51st). Boston came away from the draft with the 14th, 22nd, 33rd and 51st picks. Justin Mantegani wrote an in-depth analysis of the Celtics draft for Boston Sports Extra. I will briefly gloss over Boston’s draft picks here for reference.
The Celtics picked guard/forward Romeo Langford from Indiana University with the 14th pick. Langford has been described as both a shooting guard as well as a small forward. After a series of trades, the Celtics picked power forward Grant Williams from the University of Tennessee with the 22nd pick, and point guard Carson Edwards from Purdue University with the 33rd pick. Finally, the Celtics picked LSU Tremont Waters with their 51st pick. The Celtics finished the night by signing DePaul guard Max Strus to a two-way player contract. It was also reported today Boston signed University of Central Florida center Tacko Fall to a contract with an Exhibit 10 clause.
Depending on the source, or your personal feelings about the direction of the team, the draft stirred mixed reactions. Many fans were confused by moves during the draft, such as certain trade swaps and trading Aron Baynes. Some approved gaining cap space, while some worried the acquired 2020 Milwaukee Bucks pick would be the worst pick in the 1st round. Everyone is correct.
The Celtics did acquire more draft picks, but will they end up being valuable? Trading Baynes did free up $5.5 Million in cap space, but now Boston has one center on their roster: Robert Williams. The second-year player averaged 2.5 points per game and 2.5 rebounds in 8.8 minutes per game in 32 games.
The Boston Celtics salary cap possibilities depends on several variables. Suffice it to say they’ll have ~$32.3M in “practical” salary cap space according to Spotrac.com. Considering the roster Boston likely enters 2019-2020 with, including the four draft picks and additional contracts, have an average age of 22.3 years. In fact, Jayson Tatum is the same age as three of the Celtics 2019 picks and/or post-draft signings. You might call the Boston Celtics a youth movement.
Does this mean the Celtics are rebuilding again? It does seem odd to add three guards and a small forward to a roster with four established guards and small forwards. Boston added a power forward but subtracted an established center. Rumors abound regarding the possibilities of the Celtics signing Nikola Vucevic, but is that enough? Vucevic made $12.7M last season and will likely command over $20M going forward. Vucevic also has many suitors, which doesn’t help the Celtics leverage. Unless Boston plans to play small ball – really small ball – they have to do something. It started with a few solid draft picks, but then took an odd turn. Time to keep the faith, Celtics Nation.