Alright, so this blog post was originally going to be about the rumor that leaked the other day about Danny Ainge possibly wanting Josh Jackson over Markelle Fultz. It was more than halfway done and was going to be posted shortly after I got home from work. I like both players a lot, but was going to argue that at pick #1 Fultz was the clear choice and if for some reason Fultz wasn’t wanted, I would take Ball over Jackson. Jackson is my personal #3 ranked player in the draft, however, and I do think he will be a fine NBA talent.
But on my drive home from my day job, I caught wind of a new rumor on the radio. This brings me to the absolute explosion on Green Teamer Twitter I didn’t see until when I got home (I try my best to be active on Green Teamer Twitter, feel free to give me and the blog a follow @justinvad and @MotorUpSports). We had multiple Woj bombs, verified Twitter account speculation galore and so many different scenarios to sort through. I’m going to give it my best shot to sort through all the possibilities. Buckle up.
So the main rumor is the Celtics are going to trade down to #3 in the draft and Philly will move up to 1. It is currently speculated that to move up Philly will give Boston a 2018 unprotected Lakers pick and a future 76ers 1st round pick. The Sacramento 2019 pick that PHI owns could also be in play. This has the potential to be a haul and there is a trade that I would be okay with Danny Ainge making. But I really had my sights set on Fultz, like jersey in the shopping cart ready for Fultz. I think he could really be a generational talent. Going off of the assumption that the Lakers will take Lonzo Ball at #2, that leaves the likes of Josh Jackson, Dennis Smith, Dearon Fox, and Johnathan Isaac for the Celtics at #3. All of these prospects could be great NBA players, but according to most draft reports, Fultz and Ball are above the rest of the pack.
The next flurry of tweets mentioned that the Celtics could be accumulating more assets to go ahead and trade for a win-now type of star, presumably Jimmy Butler because every freaking Celtics rumor comes back to Jimmy Butler. These deals would also clear cap space because the #3 pick makes a couple million less than the #1 and a Bradley or Crowder-type player could be in the Butler deal. This would allow the Celtics to take on a max contract (Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin) in addition to acquiring #3 draftee and Jimmy Butler. Let’s pretend the Celtics select Josh Jackson 3rd overall, pull off the Jimmy Butler deal (giving up Bradley, Crowder, and whatever picks come in Philly deal), and land Gordon Hayward. Now your “Big 4” is Isaiah Thomas, Jimmy Butler, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford. That is a really fucking good team already. As far as the starting center, I would like to see Ante Zizic (a prospect who played in Turkey) start at center because he would have an easy time playing around those 4, but I could also see a veteran added on a cheap deal so let’s say that is the case. Off the bench, you would have Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Josh Jackson, Terry Rozier, maybe still Kelly Olynyk, Ante Zizic, and maybe Guerchon Yabusele, filled out with veteran minimums where needed. Again, this is a really fucking good team, one I would argue that could beat the Cleveland Cavaliers and win you the Eastern Conference! Sigh. But I still don’t think you beat the Warriors. I was hoping we would build through the draft and wait until the Warriors grow old and disband, but for now I’m going to sit back, refresh Twitter, and try to convince myself that this theoretical team could win a title. C’s up.