The Celtics Can Afford to Take a Risk in the Draft

The Boston Celtics completed their fifth season in the Brad Stevens era finishing just one win away from making the NBA Finals. While the Celtics surrendered a commanding 3-2 lead over the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, they should keep their heads held high heading into the off-season. Boston, let’s not forget, was without star players, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, for the playoffs, but the team overachieved and will look to gear up for an even stronger 2019 playoff run.

A team on fire

The Celtics have a strong core of young talent, and owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he is willing to spend whatever it takes to keep his group together. “I’m on fire about this team,” Grousbeck told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. “I couldn’t love them any more. I’m getting goosebumps talking about them.”

The Celtics will, it’s true, need to spend money in order to keep Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, since both guards will be free agents looking to earn sizeable contracts. However, despite the love Celtics fans had for the pair in the playoffs, they will likely be traded or released into free agency should they ask for too much compensation. While it doesn’t seem like much action will be taken since next year’s squad will be favorites to win the East, fans should remember that general manager, Danny Ainge, is known for making bold moves.

Trading up in June?

Just days after the Celtics’ season ended, off-season trade rumors are heating up in Boston. Sporting News reports the Celtics have expressed interest in University of Texas center Mohamed Bamba and are willing to trade up to get him. The Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks have expressed interest in trading with Boston, who own the 27th pick in this year’s draft. The Celtics also own both the Grizzlies’ and the Kings’ first-round picks in 2019. To get Bamba, the Celtics will likely have to trade up into the top five of the draft.

If Ainge really wants to turn heads, he’ll make a move into the top three and get European star, Luka Dončić. According to Adam Kaufman of WBZ-Boston, the Celtics are interested in the Slovenian guard. To get Dončić, the Celtics would likely have to give up one of their future first-round picks and a young talent like Rozier or Jaylen Brown.

But if the Celtics do stay at number 2, the team is looking at drafting Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo. Ainge has taken a liking to DiVincenzo and took the prospect to lunch after his workout with the Celtics.

A decade of dominance

Irving, Hayward, and Al Horford are good veterans stars while Brown and Jayson Tatum are budding superstars. This lineup, plus the system and coaching of Stevens, will put the Celtics at the top of the Eastern Conference with the 76ers for the next five to ten years all barring injuries. And with the assets in the pockets of Ainge, the Celtics can afford to take a risk and go get a player like Bamba, or even Dončić, whom scouts have deemed as the best European prospect ever.

All seems to be well in Boston. The Celtics are well-placed to take a risk in June.

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This article was originally published here at Unfiltered Access.

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