The Celtics‘ blockbuster trade back in 2013 that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for a number of picks paid off in grand fashion this year. The Celtics won the Draft Lottery, and with it, the rights to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
With the much-heralded Fultz atop the draft boards, many will be curious as to why the Celtics were willing to make this deal. While the move allows them to gain an extra first-round pick — and likely a high one at that — to only move back two spots, a report from Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe indicates that the Celtics’ stocked backcourt also contributed to the decision.
With Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, the Celtics do indeed have an overflowing backcourt, and all four of them played important minutes in their postseason run to the Eastern Conference finals.
It’s easy to see how Ainge would have grown attached to all of them, but it is definitely worth questioning his judgment here. Yes, Smart and Rozier are nice players, but Fultz has the potential to be an All-Star caliber guard.
However, we won’t fully be able to judge this deal for a few years, as we’ll need to see both how Fultz adjusts to the pro game, and what Ainge is able to pull off with the No. 3 pick and the rest of his assets.