Every Boston Celtics fan dreamed of getting the #1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. When it came down to the final three at the NBA Draft Lottery, the ping pong balls fell in favor of the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers dropping the Celtics to the third pick in the draft. The Celtics wanted a small forward, but are one pick away from Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. With Simmons and Ingram off the board, the Celtics have other options with the #3 pick. Lets see what they could do.
The only player the Celtics will draft if they keep their pick is Buddy Hield. Hield is a scorer who works his hardest on every possession. Those are the types of players who succeed under Brad Stevens. Look at Hield’s progression from his junior to senior season,
Junior: 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 41.2 fg%, 82.3 ft%, 35.9 3pt%
Senior: 25 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2 assists, 50.1 fg%, 88 ft%, 45.7 3pt%
His improvement from the three-point line is what opens the Celtics eyes. The Celtics finished 28th in the regular season shooting 33.5% from behind the arc. There is a lot of talent in this draft, but Hield is the only prospect that fills a need on the Celtics roster outside the top-2 worthy of the #3 pick.
#3 and Avery Bradley for Jahlil Okafor
Why the Boston Celtics do it
The Celtics enter the offseason looking for two things; a star and a big man. Jahlil Okafor is both of those. Okafor averaged 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game over 53 games during his rookie season. He is an offensive-low-post star who will be one of the games best big men for 10+ years. The Celtics played 2015-2016 with Jared Sullinger at center. It is clear they are looking to improve from him next season. Also, with a stacked backcourt, Bradley is expendable. Danny Ainge will have his eyes on Okafor all offseason.
Why the Philadelphia 76ers do it
2016 will be the first year Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel are all healthy. There is no way Brett Brown plays both Okafor and Embiid at the same time. With all the time invested in Embiid and Okafor’s trade value, Okafor is the likely candidate to get traded. Avery Bradley and a second top-3 pick is great return. The 76ers can leave the 2016 NBA Draft with Ben Simmons and Kris Dunn. A starting lineup with Dunn-Bradley-Simmons-Noel-Embiid gives life to the 76ers organization. It is time for the 76ers organization to start making some moves.
#3 pick, 2017 Nets pick swap, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart for Jimmy Butler
Why the Boston Celtics do it
I mentioned earlier the Celtics want a big and a star. Jimmy Butler isn’t big, but he is a star. Butler scored 20+ points and grabbed 5+ rebounds per game in two consecutive seasons. He gives the Celtics a true scorer and two-way shooting guard next to Isaiah Thomas, who sat with Butler before the NBA Draft Lottery, and Butler played his college ball with Jae Crowder at Marquette. There is a lot to like with Butler in Boston. The only question remains if Chicago wants to deal him. If Chicago will only accept a ridiculous offer, this offer is ridiculous enough.
Why the Chicago Bulls do it
There is major concern in Chicago after not making the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Butler has rumored to have chemistry issues with both Derrick Rose and Fred Hoiberg. The Bulls may need to find other players who fit Hoiberg’s system. If the Bulls take the #3 pick, they’re likely to select Kris Dunn (Bye, bye Derrick Rose). Dunn is quick and creates space for his teammates. If Hoiberg wants a fast paced, floor spacing offense, Dunn is his perfect point guard. With Bradley, Hoiberg has an aggressive guard who gets a lot of fast-break points off turnovers and Smart gives him a lockdown defender who can guard three positions. They also keep next seasons Nets pick to keep building the roster. Chicago needs to get rid of the tension in the locker room.
The Celtics have a lot of options with the #3 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. No matter what, the Celtics priority is finding a star. Whether it is Jahlil Okafor, Jimmy Butler or any other star, Danny Ainge has the draft picks and young players to sweeten any deal. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder under low salary contracts, the Celtics have the cap to acquire two stars. One star will being in another. The Celtics need to be smart with their decision on what to do with the #3 overall pick.