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A Way Too Early Look at the 2016 Draft

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

Yesterday, this tweet from respected former NBA executive Bobby Marks got me to thinking about perception.


Due to the fact that Danny Ainge has been able to obtain a bundle of draft picks while enduring only one recent sub-30 win season, he’s very much praised in league circles for his acumen to rebuild on the fly. And rightfully so, he’s done a fine job. However, I’ll also point out he had the advantage of being able to foist Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on a desperate Brooklyn team at a time when their hall-of-fame credentials outshined the respective points of their careers (although props to the Truth for still coming up huge the last couple playoffs). Those Brooklyn picks remain the Celtics’ best, and perhaps only, hope of obtaining a superstar that will ultimately determine if Ainge’s methods are deemed successful.

Meanwhile, the Sixers went about things in about the most radical fashion possible and are largely vilified in league circles for it. As fun as I’m sure it was for Boston fans to see their team lose in the first round to a barely-interested Cleveland team, ownership in Philadelphia has made it clear there’s a clear championship-or-bust mentality, and I’d argue both teams remain equally far away from such a goal. So let’s look at how the teams can continue to build going forward, particularly in regard to how ‘loaded’ Boston will be for the 2016 draft.

In projecting the 2016 draft order, I used Vegas Insider projections for team win totals. So you can’t accuse me of bias and I don’t necessarily agree with many parts of the order myself. I then factored in how trade protections would work based upon those projected finishes; you can read about all current trade protections on RealGM.


Yes, Boston looks to be in good shape with 3 picks in the top-16 (and I personally think Dallas won’t be quite as good and that pick could be a little better). Still, with the Brooklyn pick slated to be the Celtics’ best pick and the Nets having every incentive in the world not to tank, there’s really no discernible path for Boston to grab a superstar-caliber player. Meanwhile, the Sixers look to have two picks in the top-7, in addition to that Sacramento swap should the Kings move up in the lottery. You can easily see a couple ways for Sam Hinkie to obtain that superstar he craves.

The point is, Boston fans will almost undoubtedly have more fun during the 2015-16 season. I’m sure Brad Stevens will draw up a bunch of amazing in-bounds plays to win them some games and they’ll have a competitive first-round exit. Nevertheless, when it comes to 2016 and beyond, I’m still trusting the process in Philly.

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