The Celtics have a lot of future draft picks now and it is hard to get a real grasp of what they are really worth. So I'm going to try to break them down into groups that I think will assist you in wrapping your mind around them.
Draft picks are kind of like stocks in that their value can go up and down. There's great potential value in them, but there's an element of inherent risk as well. To wit, the Celtics picked Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo back to back in 2012. One of those was a bargain at 21 and the other was a bust even at 22.
But there's really very little chance that the Celtics would actually use all their picks and still keep all their current young players. So many of these will be used in trades. Either to bring better players to the team or to move up the draft board. How much they can return depends on when they are used and how the other team values our picks.
To understand their value, let's break this into a few groups.
This year's picks:
Celtics' own 1st - Clearly the most valuable of any of the picks since it will land somewhere in the lottery (barring very unforseen circumstances).
Clippers' 1st - The West is rough so any of the top 8 or 9 teams could conceivably fall in just about any order. Right now the Clips are in the 6 seed which would give them the 21st pick (if I counted right).
Sixers' 2nd rounder - Right now the Sixers have somehow won enough games to be the 3rd worst team in the league (Brett Brown for coach of the year!). So that would give the Celtics the 3rd pick in the 2nd round. Sometimes early 2nd round picks are better than late first round picks because teams aren't locked into guaranteed salary slots and can give more team-favorable contract deals to players.
Celtics' 2nd rounder - again, likely to be early in the 2nd round.
Wizards' 2nd rounder - Right now projected at 52. Probably not worth a lot, but maybe could be used to trade up a spot or two. Also this range of the draft is often used for draft-and-stash-in-Europe kinds of guys.
Next year's picks (2016)
Technically speaking the Celtics could have 3 other 1st rounders in 2015 (via Dallas, Philly, and Minny), but the restrictions on those picks make it very, very unlikely that those picks will convey. So once the season ends and the records are in the books, they'll magically turn into future 1st and 2nd round picks.
Note also, it is impossible to tell where teams will shake out next year but Chris Forsberg took a swing at projecting them.
What will the Celtics do with all these picks? - Boston Celtics Blog - ESPN Boston
2016 potential picks: Nos. 10, 15, 26, 28, 32, 35, 42, 56, 58. That's a lot of picks, especially with potential for six in top 35 spots.
Here's the list of likely picks:
- Celtics' 1st rounder
- Nets' 1st rounder
- Mavericks' 1st rounder
- Cavs' 1st rounder
- Sixers' 2nd rounder
- Cavs' 2nd rounder
- Heat' 2nd rounder
- Grizzlies'/Mavericks' 2nd rounder (the better of the two)
- T-Wolves' 2nd rounder (Assumes they'll still be bad next year - a safe bet)
That's a lot of picks. Chances are pretty good that the Celtics will trade some of them (if not most). But clearly Danny Ainge has options.
Take a deep breath. Here's what we've got so far (not counting a possible future 2nd rounder from the Clips for the Austin Rivers pending deal).
Breaking Down Celtics' Absurd Number of Future Draft Picks After Friday's Trades - Celtics Blog - Boston.com
2017 NBA Draft
1st round picks: Celtics, Nets*
2nd round picks: Celtics**, Cavaliers
* Celtics have the right to swap their own first-round pick with Nets, if they choose. Acquired in KG/Pierce deal.
** If Celtics swap first-round picks with Nets, Brooklyn would be able to acquire Boston's second-round pick (top 45 protected).
2018 NBA Draft
1st round picks: Celtics, Nets (unprotected)
2nd round picks: Celtics
2019 NBA Draft
1st round picks: Celtics, Grizzlies*
2nd round picks: Celtics
*Pick is expected compensation for Jeff Green in rumored three-team trade with Memphis Grizzlies. Subject to change.
In addition, there's another 2nd rounder coming to us in 2017 from the T-Wolves (via the Suns trade).
Got all that? Good, there will be a quiz on draft night. Study up.