While most NBA Draft pundits consider Markelle Fultz as the No. 1 overall pick, we are a long way until the draft in June. There is plenty of time to gauge both Boston's interest in trading the pick, but thinking outside of the box and drafting Lonzo Ball could be huge for the Celtics.
The Celtics remember what a premier point guard will do for a franchise. Rajon Rondo helped the Celtics win an NBA championship and Isaiah Thomas has led them to the Eastern Conference Finals.
However, Thomas lacks a few things. He is a defensive liability, and while he is a fine point guard, the Celtics aren’t going to win a championship in the East with Thomas as their best player. That was evident in Game 1 of the series vs. Cleveland and it will continue to be evident as the Cavs mow down Boston.
After this season is over, Thomas has one year remaining on his contract. With the No. 1 overall pick and the expiring contract of Thomas, which is very desirable even as a rental for a team, the Celtics have a ton of trade options. Instead of trading the top pick for Jimmy Butler or Paul George, they could still be short of beating LeBbron James.
The Celtics could take the long view, use Thomas’ expiring contract to dangle out to teams to bring in another young player and pair him with the core they have and the drafting of UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball.
Ball’s Fit In Boston
Ball’s game translates to Rondo with offensive game and a lot better shooting. While his shot is unorthodox, Ball could be paired with the team the Celtics have, and in a few more years with James older the Celtics might be ready to take on the Cavs for Eastern Conference dominance.
Think about it for a second. Are the Celtics better extending Thomas and using this pick on Fultz or Ball to complete their core over the next four or five years, or are they better off continuing to take the long view?
I say take the long view. I think the difference between Ball and Fultz isn’t as much as some analysts are putting on, and by trading Thomas this offseason Boston could bring in a high-profile young guy still on his rookie deal and have Ball to pair with Al Horford, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder. That is a vicious team in a few more years.