Celtics' fans hoping for the luck of the Irish Tuesday night at the NBA draft lottery were once again disappointed. The Celtics were dealt the 6th pick in the draft, but unlike 1997 and 2007, there are more options for the Celts’ brass to ponder as the draft nears on June 26th.
Keeping the Pick
In what supposedly is a very deep draft, the Celts could find value in the 6th pick. With Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, and Dante Exum all likely to be gone once the C's pick, the team will have to look at the second tier of talent for their selection.
The good news is that solid picks like Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh, Aaron Gordon, and Marcus Smart will still be available if things fall into place. I am not sold on Smart or Gordon unless they can improve their jumpers, but with Randle and Vonleh, the Celts could get the rim protector they want so badly.
Trade the Pick
This option is probably the most likely if you believe Danny Ainge when he says he thinks this draft is overrated. What kind of trade Ainge will make is very tough to predict. There's no secret on the availability of Minnesota's Kevin Love, but unfortunately the Twolves are rumored to want veteran players in return, something the Celts do not have. My prediction for Love is that he goes to the Lakers in a deal involving the Lakers pick (7th overall) and Paul Gasol (sign and trade).
But back to the Celtics trading the pick. If Ainge was lying to us and he really is a fan of a player, say Dante Exum, then he definitely has the opportunity to move up. Ainge could offer the 6th pick to the Orlando Magic as well as the 17th, to move up and select Exum at 4.
Blowing it Up
Blowing it up completely is another option. Rumors are already swirling that the Sacramento Kings want to move out of the 8th slot, wanting to add veterans to their roster. With Rudy Gay a year away from free agency, the Kings want to win, and win now.
This is where the possibility of trading Rajon Rondo could come into play. If the Kings want to deal for Rondo, even without a guarantee he will re-sign in Sacramento, then Ainge will surely listen to any deals. A package of Rondo, Jeff Green, and Brandon Bass would give the Kings the veterans they supposedly want. Players like Isiah Thomas and Ben McLemore, who the Kings would be willing to deal, surely would be tempting to a rebuild for the Celts, along with the 8th pick in this draft, if the Kings are willing to deal them. Adding the 8th pick would give the Celts 3 picks in the top 17 next month. A trio of Julius Randle, Marcus Smart (8th pick), and Adreian Payne (17th) would be a nice start for the Celts. The team wouldn't win a lot next year, but they would be extremely fun to watch.
When push comes to shove, I think the Celts will stay put with the 6th pick, not because they are overjoyed with the player they can get, but more likely because they won't be able to get value for their pick. I still think Exum is the wild card. If Ainge can somehow get his hands on Exum, then the C's would put a lot on the table, including dealing Rondo. Exum seems like the player with the most mystery in the draft and Ainge has proven in the past that he is willing to take chances on players that we don't know much about. Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins come to mind.
Although the luck of the Irish didn't poke its head out on Tuesday, the C’s are in great shape with Ainge at the helm. Because to get some luck, you have to gamble, and we all know nobody likes to gamble more than Mr. Ainge.