Ainge's patience pays off with Celtics' draft lottery win

Rufina Vignone
Mag 19, 2017

The Boston Celtics received a timely boost on the eve of their Eastern Conference showdown with Cleveland on Tuesday, May 16 (Wednesday in Manila) after discovering they will command the first pick in this year's National Basketball Association draft.

The Raptors traded a first-round pick and a second this year to Orlando in the Serge Ibaka trade, but Toronto still owns the 23rd selection. And they still get one more first-round pick next season from the Nets, who likely will miss the playoffs again.

All signs point towards the Boston Celtics, who have the first pick despite finishing the season with the best record in the Eastern Conference, drafting Markelle Fultz, so the Lakers will have an opportunity to draft one of Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum or De'Aaron Fox with the number two pick on June 22nd.

None of the players the Celtics acquired made a real impact for the Celtics, but those draft picks are still paying dividends.

"You trade this pick, because [Markelle Fultz] can not help the Celtics get over the top", Pierce told The Jump.

"I think there's gonna be probably fifty kids that are going to be in this draft that are going to be really well known".

The Celtics, of course, gave up their top guys in the trade, so they had to play the waiting game. "It's a good time to be a Celtics fan". In other words, they managed to keep their pick.

Now, the Celtics get their choice from a guard-heavy field of talent.

"That felt pretty good", Grousbeck said after the draft lottery results were revealed. You'd be nuts to ignore that and automatically commit to Fultz right away. Boston had dangled its No. 1 pick in front of both the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls in hopes of landing either Paul George or Jimmy Butler at the trade deadline. They have cap space this offseason and could add a max player at no cost.

And with that, after just a season and a half, the Nets were done with the trade.

Right now, the Celtics have options. He was a Laker from start to finish and went down as one of the greatest players not only in their franchise history, but National Basketball Association history as well.

The New York Knicks dropped one spot and will select eighth in the upcoming draft. Wilson produced great percentages across the board last season shooting 53.8 percent from the field, 37.3 percent from three-point range, and 83.3 percent from the free throw line. I wish the draft were today. And as much as I'd like Thomas to get a big-money extension and stay in Boston, I can understand moving him if you draft Fultz. "I want him to be a Laker, but I wasn't saying he's only going to play for the Lakers".

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