The Celtics are kind of stuck between one last hurrah with Pierce and Garnett and transitioning into Rondo and the Pips. So Danny Ainge has some interesting decisions to make in the coming months. One of those decisions is how highly to value our first round pick in the coming draft.
It seems like every year around this time you hear the experts complain about the lack of talent in the draft, yet by June everyone is fanning over the lottery lads like they are the next great thing. So take the following with a grain of salt.
A number of NBA GMs -- including the Celtics’ Danny Ainge, the Jazz’s Kevin O’Connor, Bulls’ Gar Forman, the Warriors Bob Myers and the Blazers Neil Olshey -- were in attendance. Overall, they are seeing the same phenomenon here that they are seeing everywhere. This is a down season, talent wise, in the NCAA. "If Cody Zeller, Shabazz Muhammad, Nerlens Noel and James McAdoo are your top four picks, it’s going to be an ugly, ugly draft." Other than McAdoo, I couldn’t find a scout or GM convinced there was another first-round prospect here. If Kabongo plays, that could be two. But that explains, in part, why the field is so weak.
So if Danny comes up with a trade scenario and the other team needs a sweetener to make the deal happen, should he toss in the pick to make the deal happen? Well, the obvious response is "it depends on which players are changing hands." An additional response might be "let's see where we are in a month or two." Both would be accurate and correct.
But the more general question remains. Should the team make a move to add a piece for the current team (perhaps even an older player) or hold onto the pick (or perhaps only move it for a younger player that can help us in the future as well)?
Also, if the world knows that it is going to be a weak draft, are other GMs really going to value draft picks as highly as they have in the past? Especially if they are not likely to be lottery bound picks? As we found out with our two late picks this year - sometimes you can get a steal like Sully and sometimes you get a project like Melo. It is part scouting and part a roll of the dice.
I think I'd lean towards using the pick if given the opportunity to upgrade this year. Preferably for a guy that's under 30.