Panic can cause one to make rash decisions. Sometimes, they work. Other times, they don’t. After getting annihilated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics likely will not panic. While I am far from certain that the Celts have enough to make it a close series, I do believe that Boston is building toward something special. I just don’t see it happening this season.
Or with this current roster.
Don’t get me wrong. This is a talented team. Brad Stevens is a great coach. Isaiah Thomas is an MVP candidate. Al Horford is a quality big man, though I’m still not sure I would have signed him to that sort of contract that Boston handed to him last summer. Jae Crowder is wanted by nearly every team, and there is plenty of young talent coming off of the bench. And did I mention that the Celtics also possess the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft?
Thank you, Paul Pierce. Thank you, Kevin Garnett. Thank you, Danny Ainge. Thank you, Brooklyn Nets.
The question is, what should Boston do with the top overall pick?
The team will certainly have plenty of options, however, choosing the best one may be tricky. Ultimately, whatever Boston decides to do with that pick will cause a ripple effect throughout the rest of the roster, as well as through the landscape of the NBA, to some degree.
The most likely scenario if the Celtics do decide to hold on to the top pick is to select Markelle Fultz. While they play the same position, Fultz and Thomas have a connection, both playing for the Washington Huskies in college. They talk frequently, and both have said that they feel confident that they could play in the same backcourt together.
If the Celtics feel that they could indeed play together, then that may be a great pick. If things did not seem to work out well, Boston could always consider trading Fultz. Or, if they were unsure about paying Thomas max money into his early 30s, they could trade him instead. It may sound insane, considering how well Thomas has played this season, but it may not be as far fetched as it sounds.
The Celtics could also opt to sign Thomas to a max contract and choose a player with a slightly different skill set, such as Jayson Tatum from Duke. This is a very deep draft, especially in terms of guards or small forwards. The Celtics could deal the No. 1 pick and move down in the Draft, or they could move it in favor of acquiring a proven star such as Paul George or Jimmy Butler. Or, the Celtics could put great effort into reuniting Stevens with his star player at Butler, Gordon Hayward, regardless of what they decide to do with Thomas and the top pick.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. As long as they don’t take Lonzo Ball with their pick and force everyone to deal with his nightmare of a father, LaVar, than I think that the Celtics will be even better next season.