The NBA Draft on June 22 may be a few days away, but there is already major drama regarding the No. 1 pick.
According to The Vertical, the Philadelphia 76ers are engaged in “advanced talks” to acquire the first overall pick from the Boston Celtics in order to specifically draft point guard Markelle Fultz.
In the proposed deal, according to The Vertical, the Celtics would receive Philly’s No. 3 overall pick in a package that would also include a future first-round selection from the 76ers. Philadelphia’s 2018 unprotected first-round pick is also part of the discussions.
Fultz was sensational during his one-and-done season at the University of Washington, scoring 23.2 points with 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per contest. Additionally, he recorded an impressive 41.3 percent mark from three-point range and went 50.2 percent from two-point range despite being a high-volume shooter, which projects well for him as a scorer at the next level in addition to his ability to fill the stat sheet.
Since the Celtics’ offense was centered around point guard Isaiah Thomas, who thrives with the ball in his hands, Fultz is not regarded as a great fit in Boston, despite his public comments that stated his desire to play there alongside his buddy Thomas, who also went to the University of Washington during his college days.
However, if this deal goes through, it will add to Danny Ainge’s overall strategy of hoarding as many draft picks as possible. Here is a graphical representation of how many picks Boston has in upcoming drafts:
In addition to the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, they own three second-round selections. Next year, they possess their own first rounder as well as the presumed high pick of the Brooklyn Nets. In 2019, they have three first-round selections at their disposal.
Therefore, Ainge and the Celtics might have something up their sleeves, given all of their assets.
Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler has been linked to the Celtics prior to this past season’s trade deadline. As previously reported, Boston may be acquiring as many first round picks as possible to package a number of them in exchange for the three-time All-Star.
Amazingly, even after landing Butler, the Celtics would likely be able to sign star forward Gordon Hayward in free agency as well, thus landing them two All-Star level wing players.
If Boston is able to add both Butler and Hayward, their starting five would look something like: Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Hayward, Butler and Al Horford with Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart as the main contributors off the bench. The Celtics also have a team option on the final year of Kelly Olynyk’s contract.
Therefore, not only would that be a formidable bunch, but it might even be the deepest team in the NBA and would pose a clear threat to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East.
From the 76ers' perspective, they'd be able to nurture their own Big Three, as Fultz would be added to a young, talented Philly roster alongside budding superstar Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, who will be entering his rookie season after sitting out all of last year with an injury.
Therefore, it seems as though the deal has clear advantages for both clubs involved.