For the first time in franchise history, the Boston Celtics secured the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. After the lottery on Tuesday night, rumors immediately surfaced as to what Boston should do with the coveted first pick. Here are a few of their options as of now:
Pick Markelle Fultz at No. 1:
At 6’5, the Washington point guard would be able to immediately mesh nicely with the Boston backcourt. In his one season with the Huskies, Fultz nailed 52 3-pointers at a 41% clip. Along with this, he was able to shoot .476 from the field and help generate consistent offense. Fultz’s ability to shoot and find open teammates would help the Celtics in putting more points on the board. Isaiah Thomas has already been in talks with the prospect about the possibility of playing together, “He’s excited. I mean, he obviously doesn’t know where he’s going, but … he’s excited about the opportunity…If it happens, we’ll figure out how to play together. If not, we’ll go from there.”
The obvious shooting talent that Fultz has would allow him to be inserted into any situation and still be able to thrive. If he was paired with Avery Bradley in the backcourt, Fultz would be able to command the offense and take on a lesser defensive challenge. If it was Fultz and Thomas, however, the young point guard would need to be disciplined on defense and move to open areas on the court.
Markelle Fultz will be able to make an impact with the Celtics almost immediately. This team has a championship in mind heading towards the future, so taking him at No. 1 would be a wise choice.
Pick Lonzo Ball at No. 1:
This probably wouldn’t sit well with some Celtics fans. If Boston were to draft Lonzo Ball, they would be signing a contract with Lavar as well. The charismatic owner of the Big Baller Brand has repeatedly said that it is Lakers-or-bust for his son, which immediately degrades other teams with early draft picks. While Lavar has made some questionable comments and priced a shoe at nearly $500, Lonzo’s talent should not be overlooked.
The UCLA star guard, like Fultz, also played just one season in his collegiate career. Ball had a similar 3-PT percentage that Fultz had, shooting at a 41% clip and nailing 80 shots from beyond the arc. Ball had a higher FG% than Fultz however, making .551 of his 343 attempts. Lonzo was an assist-machine for the Bruins, dishing out 274 dimes over the course of the season. This would fit well with Boston as they are one of the best ball-passing teams in the NBA.
While most of the Boston Faithful think that Lonzo would be the wrong choice, some personalities in the sports world disagree. FS1’s Skip Bayless believes the Celtics would be making a big mistake taking anyone other than Ball.
When looking at what Danny Ainge looks for in his players, Ball simply does not seem like a match for Boston. Ainge covets shooters and players who are able to shoot well while defending well on the opposite end of the court. With Isaiah Thomas running the show for the Celtics, it wouldn’t make much sense for the team to pick a new guard to revolve around like Ball. Fultz is a point guard as well, put fits into the plug-and-play system the Celtics are running.
If Lavar wants his son to stay and play in Los Angeles, more power to him. Those in Boston really wouldn’t mind.
Trade Pick for Proven Star:
This option makes just as much sense as picking Markelle Fultz. The only reason the Celtics should trade the No. 1 pick would be if they get a superstar in return. Names like Paul George and Jimmy Bulter have been surfacing for months now, but with this pick the Celtics could make it happen. It sounds crazy, but some think it could be the right move.
Newly retired Celtics legend Paul Pierce believes his former team would be wise to move the pick for a high-caliber player. Pierce told ESPN’s The Jump his opinion on the matter:
“You’re a 50-win team, you’re the No. 1 seed. You have to build on this momentum. If you can acquire a Paul George, Jimmy Butler, or Gordon (Hayward) from Utah, you have to do it.”
He does have a point. The Celtics are looking to pick a player in (most likely) Fultz that could contribute immediately but would not necessarily make the Celtics a championship contender. As long as LeBron is in his prime, Danny Ainge would need nothing less than a proven play maker to push his team over the top. Players like Butler and George bring with them years of experience in both the regular season and the playoffs. As of now, neither player has the right to decide where they end up as they would have to be traded in order for Boston to acquire them.
Most people are assuming that the Celtics will take Fultz at No. 1. Some think bringing the Big Baller family to the East coast makes more sense. The reality is that nobody will know what decision Danny Ainge plans to make until Draft Day on June 22nd.