The Boston Celtics came within one series of the NBA Finals, losing to the Miami Heat four games to two. With the team likely to run it back, the Celtics have some decisions to make regarding the 2020 NBA Draft. Boston owns the 14th, 26th, 30th, and 47th picks but roster spots are scarce.
Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker are all on long-term deals and comprise Boston’s core. Robert Williams, Grant Williams, and Romeo Langford are highly thought of prospects on rookie-scale deals while Daniel Theis is likely to re-sign.
Gordon Hayward‘s future is questionable given Tatum’s expected max extension in 2021. The 30-year-old is on the final year of his four-year, $128-million deal he inked in 2017. Its been a rough tenure in Boston as the forward has struggled mightily with injuries. If Hayward is dealt, he will bring back at least one or two players further decreasing the number of rosters spots.
The Boston Celtics Should Use Picks to Move up the Draft Board
One way of solving Boston’s dilemma is to trade up the draft by packaging all the picks together. The 2020 class is one of the weakest since 2013 with no clear consensus number one overall pick. Draft boards from experts are all markedly different which speaks to how even these prospects are.
The Celtics are in a strong position to compete for a championship for the foreseeable future. Rather than spreading its picks across the board, packaging them in a deal where they draft one player instead of three is ideal.
With this in mind, here are two teams Boston should consider a draft trade with.
The Golden State Warriors are Desperate for Cheap Wings
The Golden State Warriors have the second pick in the NBA Draft. Traditionally, this pick holds a ton of value but there is a reluctance for clubs to select early. The fear of missing on a top-five pick is real and with scout boards all over the shop, teams are attempting to trade back. In Golden State’s case, they are trying to add depth to its wings.
With a whopping $148-million payroll, it’s debatable whether this Warriors team can truly make any noise. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green combine to make $129-million leaving virtually no room to upgrade.
GS Warriors Salary Cap
Tax Bill: $49.4m
Tough situation to be in. pic.twitter.com/wj4vmNp0Wi
— Thunder Moneyball (@geola388) October 5, 2020
Last season, Golden State elected to give D’Angelo Russell a max extension to ensure they get something for him. However, this could potentially handcuff them since the player they acquired was Wiggins from Minnesota. The former number one pick was shopped for almost two years and no team wanted a piece of his deal. Yes, the Warriors got Minnesota’s 2021 first-round pick but whether it was worth it remains to be seen.
By trading with Boston, Golden State has a chance to add depth to its rotation. There are a number of sleeper picks in the 15-30 range, providing them a shot at finding a solid role player. Given their cap situation, the Warriors might need to turn to the draft for help.
Detroit Pistons take Interest in Multiple Prospects
The Detroit Pistons are in a precarious position, stuck between trying to compete for the playoffs and rebuilding. Armed with All-Star Blake Griffin and former MVP Derrick Rose, new general manager Troy Weaver needs to make a decision. In my opinion, Detroit is positioning itself for a rebuild and Boston should do business with them.
The Pistons have the seventh pick and need to fill out its roster with young players. Boston’s 14th, 26th, and 30th picks should be enticing for Weaver who needs to replenish his entire roster.
DETROIT PISTONS 2020-21 ROSTER
Blake Griffin is due $75.5-million the next two seasons.
Derrick Rose is due $7.9-million this season.
Both still have good value.
— Thunder Moneyball (@geola388) October 5, 2020
Rebuilding teams generally keep their top 10 picks but this draft is even across the board. In this case, it makes more sense to get as many pieces as possible and target a loaded 2021 draft. It helps fill out the roster for the coming season, players are on controllable deals and you get a free look at what you draft.
If Detroit takes this route, negotiating with the Boston Celtics makes sense.
What will the Boston Celtics do?
The third option is the Boston Celtics just stay pat. They will need to maneuver some deals to fit all its potential rookies onto the roster but it is doable. However, their biggest issue is finding game time to develop their young guys which will be extremely difficult given Tatum, Brown, and Smart are all under 25. Still, it could help them work around its two stars and their max contracts.
BOS CELTICS ROSTER 2020-21
BOS also own the 14, 26, 30 and 47th picks in the draft.
— Thunder Moneyball (@geola388) October 3, 2020
Acquiring a higher first-round pick works as well. Boston is excellent at spotting talent in the draft so trading up not only solves some of their potential headaches but also gives them a chance to land another immediate rotational piece.
The Celtics are coming from a position of power. Whatever decision GM Danny Ainge makes can be supported with confidence.
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