The Boston Celtics have won the first pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. They’re probably going to take Markelle Fultz, but let’s make the case for Josh Jackson instead.
And they made fun of Danny Ainge. Four years ago, on the day of the NBA Draft, he gutted the Boston Celtics, sending Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets for a package of six players led by Kris Humphries. Oh, and there were some draft picks, too. Not only did the Celtics receive three first-rounders, they also earned the right to swap picks with Brooklyn this year.
Sure enough, Brooklyn finished last and ended up “winning” the 2017 Draft Lottery on Tuesday, so that No. 1 pick goes to the Celtics – who are in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Ainge is expected to take Washington guard Markelle Fultz with that pick; BetOnline has Fultz as a -400 favorite on the NBA odds board. But there’s no shortage of blue-chippers in this year’s talent pool, including Kansas forward Josh Jackson at +1100. Perhaps Ainge should give Jackson some thought at No. 1. If not, maybe he should trade that pick to someone who will.
Fultz and UCLA phenom Lonzo Ball may have captured everyone’s attention with their incredible offensive skills, but make no mistake: Jackson is the most promising two-way player in this draft. His stock has fallen because of an off-court incident where he allegedly threatened to “beat” one of the players on the Jayhawks women’s team after she threw a drink at her ex-boyfriend Lagerald Vick – one of Jackson’s teammates at the time.
If Danny Ainge doesn't draft Josh Jackson #1 he should be fired @celtics would become most dominant franchise for years to come with him!— Joshua G Phillips (@JoshESPNUPSTATE) May 17, 2017
This was one of several incidents that led to Jackson’s one-game suspension during the Big 12 Tournament. We don’t condone this behavior here at the ranch, but it’s par for the course these days; NBA teams are generally all too happy to look away when they have a chance to draft premium talent. As for the Celtics, they don’t need another point guard – they already have Isaiah Thomas, so there’s a good chance they’ll trade this pick if they’re not going to select Jackson at a position of need. That introduces enough uncertainty about the No. 1 pick to make an outsider like Jackson worth thinking about.