What would Boston give for Paul George or Jimmy Butler right about now? Would they part with the first round pick they held on to with a death grip through the trade deadline? While we touched on this briefly in last night’s “Faces for Radio” (which is streaming now!) let’s expand upon it a bit here.
There’s no doubt that the draft this year is loaded with talent, especially at the front end. The Celtics are set up to nab a high-end talent that can hopefully be a cornerstone player for years to come. Here’s the problem with that…there’s no guarantees in the NBA draft. The Celtics could pin their future on a kid (because they’re all kids nowadays) that will carry them to the title in a year or two with sustained success to ensure Boston is the team to beat after LeBron has hung up his sneakers. Conversely, they could also mortgage their future on a player that can’t handle the rigors of the NBA, gets hurt and is never able to achieve that elite status, or just isn’t that good. Maybe he becomes a role player…on a team full of role players. Brad Stevens is a good coach, but we are seeing unfold before our eyes what happens when your talent doesn’t match up with your opponents. In the playoffs, talent not coaching, wins.
If you’re a fan of the Celtics, how do you feel right now? Being down 0-2 to the eighth-seeded Bulls, and not looking that great at home while you’re doing it, either? If you’re a fan of the Celtics, are you okay with bowing out in the first round of the playoffs as a one-seed, as long as you have that top pick in the draft? Personally, if I was a fan, I’d be livid that two guys that are lighting up the playoffs right now, Paul George for Indiana and Jimmy Butler for the Bulls, could have been wearing Celtic green heading into the NBA’s second season if Danny Ainge had just loosened his grip on those draft picks. You know what you’re getting with established stars. George and Butler are talented, young and tested. They would immediately make the Celtics a favorite coming out of the East, even over the Cavs. The Celtics would be part of the NBA elite for a long time, nearly guaranteed, if they had picked up one of those two players. Now they have to hope that the draft works in their favor, and that their gamble pays off quickly, or Danny Ainge may not be around to see the end of the experiment.
Oh well, to reinterpret a phrase, shit in one hand and hold draft picks in the other…