The Boston Celtics will be must-see TV with superstars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward returning. It will be important for Celtics fans to pay attention to other NBA teams as well because they will determine the placement of Boston’s draft picks at the end of the year.
In order to make mid-first-round draft picks sound exciting, the following is a list of notable Boston Celtics first-round draft selections outside of the lottery: Terry Rozier (No. 16 – 2015), Avery Bradley (No. 19 – 2010), Gerald Green (No. 18 – 2007), Al Jefferson (No. 15 – 2004), Rick Fox (No. 24 – 1991), Reggie Lewis (No. 22 – 1987)
In 2015, the Celtics, Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans orchestrated a three-team trade sending forward Jeff Green from Boston to Memphis in exchange for Austin Rivers, Tayshaun Prince, and a protected future first-round pick. Rivers would eventually be traded to the Clippers for a second-round pick. Prince went to the Pistons in a three-team deal involving Isaiah Thomas. The Celtics still hold the Grizzlies’ draft pick, which will be protected if it falls in between No. 1 and No. 8 in 2019 or No. 1 and No. 6 in 2020, and will be unprotected in 2021.
Last season, Memphis finished 14th in the Western Conference with a 22-60 record. With the return of Mike Conley from injury, as well as the emergence of former Celtic MarShon Brooks, the Grizzlies may improve. If that is the case, the Celtics may get their hands on a draft pick in the back half of the lottery. Although if the Grizzlies are to struggle, it may be another season or two until the Celtics see any further return on Jeff Green.
During the 2016 NBA Draft, the Celtics traded picks 31 (Deyonta Davis) and 35 (Rade Zagorac) to the Memphis Grizzlies for a future 2019 first-round pick from the Clippers. Boston still owns the Clippers pick, which is lottery protected in both 2019 and 2020. If Los Angeles has not conveyed the pick by then, they will instead convey a 2022 second-round selection.
With the Clippers returning to mediocrity, it seems unlikely the Celtics will receive compensation any time soon. Last season, the Clippers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010-11. With the departures of Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan, not one of their remaining players has ever appeared in an All-Star game.
When the Clippers inevitably struggle, it will be detrimental for Boston. Their best-case scenario would be to receive a first-round pick outside of the lottery. Celtics fans should be rooting for Doc Rivers once more, because the more the Clipper lose, the longer the Celtics will have to wait for a return.
Prior to the 2017 NBA Draft, Danny Ainge made a bold, but brilliant trade, moving the No. 1 draft pick (Markelle Fultz) to the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 3 overall pick (Jayson Tatum) and a future first-round pick in 2018 from the Los Angeles Lakers. Boston would only receive the Lakers pick if it was between No. 2 and No. 5, which it was not, however. So, Philadelphia will send Boston the better of their own or the Sacramento Kings 2019 first-round picks.
Celtics fans should not expect to receive the 76ers pick, as they finished third in the Eastern Conference last season and have two of the NBA’s brightest young talents in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Rather, Celtic’s fans should expect to receive the Kings pick, as they are clearly the inferior team, finishing 12th in the Western Conference last season. It will be important to keep an eye on De’Aaron Fox and the Sacramento Kings, as they could have a dreadful season, which would drastically assist Boston come draft day.
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