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Should The Celtics Trade The No. 1 Pick In The Draft For A Proven NBA Player Like Paul George?

Submitted by on May 18, 2017 – 4:19 pmNo Comment

On Tuesday night, the Boston Celtics won the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft during the NBA Draft Lottery. And most people believe they will draft Markelle Fultz with the first pick when the NBA Draft takes place in June. But is that really the best decision for their franchise at this particular time?

The Celtics are in a strange position because, unlike most NBA teams that land the top pick in the draft, they have a really good team. They are currently in the Eastern Conference Finals playing against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which means they are, in theory, one of the four best teams in the league. They got the first pick as a result of a trade they made with the Brooklyn Nets a few years back, so they’re essentially playing with house money with it. They can draft a guy like Fultz and not ask him to serve as their team’s savior right away. He can work himself into the Celtics’ lineup and hopefully blossom into the superstar that many expect him to be over the next few years.

But the Celtics also have another option here. They can take the No. 1 pick and trade him for a player like Paul George of the Indiana Pacers or Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls. George and Butler have both reportedly been on the trading block for quite some time now, and they would both give the Celtics the immediate help they need to beat teams like the Cavaliers. The Celtics have a good team right now, but they aren’t great by any stretch and don’t look like they’re going to be able to win an NBA title without adding a superstar. So why not turn the No. 1 pick into a star player now rather than holding out hope for Fultz or one of the other players in the draft?

Celtics general manager and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has made a lot of really smart moves in recent seasons, and he’s the reason the Celtics have such a high draft pick in the first place. So he’s probably going to consider all of his options and make a decision based on what he thinks he can get with the first pick in the draft. But it seems like it could be a missed opportunity if Boston opts to take Fultz rather than trading the pick for a star. And if Ainge goes that route, there’s a chance it could come back to bite Boston in the end.

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