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Taking inventory of the Celtics' future draft pick stash

Scrooge McDuck goes for a swim.

Elsa/Getty Images

The Celtics added two more 2nd round draft picks to their pile of future picks this week so I figured this was a good enough time to take inventory of what we have.

First of all, here's a handy guide handed out to the press by the Celtics themselves.

And here's another look at them.

Some day I may break them down year by year but for the moment I'd like to focus on the most immediate ones (if you count 11 months away as immediate).  For fun I'll also make wild predictions of where the picks will land.  Enjoy.

- Celtics own 1st: I'm hoping for improvement from last year but other East teams improved as well.  In theory this could be anywhere from a lottery pick to a low 20's pick.  But for now I'll swag this at somewhere in the late teens.

- Nets unprotected 1st: This is a potential gold mine.  The Nets have no motivation to tank but no real ability to get much better and in fact may have took a step back this summer (depending on how you view Deron Williams' net impact).  I'm hoping for a lottery pick here.

- Dallas 1st, protected through 7: The Mavs got sideswiped by DeAndre's U-turn this summer, but they didn't get bad enough to tank.  Kinda a best case scenario for the Celtics.  All they have to do is be better than the worst teams and not good enough to be a playoff team in the West and we've got ourselves a late lottery pick.

- Minnesota 1st, top 12 protected: All signs point toward this one becoming 2 second rounders (2016, 2017). It would take a hyper-fast development of the young nucleus to climb up to the middle of the pack so don't bet on it.

- A gaggle of 2nd round picks: The first Minny pick will likely be added to picks from Philly, Cleveland, Miami, and the better of Dallas or Memphis.

Net result: 3 first rounders (2 lottery) and 5 second rounders

The Celtics added 3 rookies to this year's squad and they have a potential 8 picks in next year's draft.  Something has to give, right?  Short answer, yeah, most likely.

Longer answer (just for giggles): In theory, if the team makes no moves between now and the deadline, they could add 8 more rookies to a squad that only has Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas and this year's rookies on guaranteed contracts. That's 14 spots right there. (Though a few could be draft-n-stash players I suppose)

Of course all of that ignores team options on guys like Smart, Olynyk, and Young; not to mention qualifying offers for Sullinger, Zeller, Perry Jones III (if he makes the team).  Oh yeah, and the team has options on Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko too.  And hey, maybe David Lee would want to stick around past next year too.  Got all that?  I've lost count but I'm guessing that's probably too many players to fit on a 15 man roster.

So here we go again, waiting on some kind of trade to happen between now and next year's draft.  We've just done an analysis of where each of the 2016 picks could land, but how valuable are all the picks?  That's a very difficult question with endless variables.

On one hand, the longer we wait, the more teams know that we need to trade them.  That gives other teams leverage.  On the other hand, once these huge salaries start filling up teams' future cap space, having a cost-controlled rookie contract guy is even more valuable (assuming that doesn't change much in the next CBA).

I'm not sure what it means that the Hornets (and Heat) turned down the boatload of picks that Danny was offering.  In part, it means that the picks are starting to burn a hole in Danny's pocket.  It also means that quantity isn't going to outweigh quality every time.  The Hornets may regret turning down the deal, but probably because Kaminski won't be as good as Winslow or the combined value of the picks offered up.

Maybe the picks will increase in value around the trade deadline when some of the teams that figured to be contenders fall back in the pack and decide to hit the reset button.  Or maybe the value will fall if teams like the Nets and Mavs out-perform my current projections for them.

Oh, and we haven't even talked about the strength of next year's draft.  So far, all I've heard is that the draft will be pretty weak (of course we tend to hear that most years and everything changes 6 months later ...except when it doesn't).

I could go rambling on, but the bottom line is this: Currency is only worth what it will buy.  The picks can be valuable, but only if they bring back something special - either though trades or through the draft itself.  Danny Ainge has a lot of options open to him for the future. We'll just have to wait and see what he does with those options.

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