There has been a lot said about the Celtics’ decision to trade the #1 pick. A lot of people hate it. A lot of people love it. You can count me as a member of both groups. Let me explain by having a discussion... with myself.
Me: WHAT? They traded the #1 pick??? WHYYYYYYY?
Also Me: Well, nothing is ever off the table with Danny Ainge. If he sees value in a deal, he’ll make it every time.
Me: But I’ve had my heart set on Markelle Fultz since well before the draft lottery. When we got the top pick, it was like all the uncertainty was gone and we finally got our franchise guy through the draft. Now we’re just tossing that chance aside to get someone from the next tier down?
Also Me: Ainge just said that he considered the top prospects to be very close in value and might have picked the guy he’ll get at 3 at number 1. So he’ll get his guy and pick up another high future pick in the process. You mean to tell me that your 15 minutes of research makes you smarter than Ainge?
Me: That’s exaggerating, I’ve spent at least 20 minutes researching the draft. Besides, every scout, every analyst, every GM says that Fultz is the best pick in this draft. He has almost no downside, huge upside, and might be the best prospect in years. Are we really that sold on Danny Ainge being smarter than everyone else in the room?
Also Me: Well, maybe. The draft really can’t be fully evaluated until years from now. He’s been right before, and he’s bought himself more assets to use in the future. A year from now, we could be sitting on the #1 pick (via the Nets trade) AND the #2 pick (via the Lakers) in a super-talented draft.
Me: Oh great, more future picks. More rooting for other teams to lose when they have no motivation to lose (granted, rooting against the Lakers is second nature). More ping pong balls. More uncertainty and pins-and-needles Draft Lottery shows. We’re kicking the can down the road again. You can only sell me on the future so many times. At some point I want the present to be just as exciting as “what could be.”
Also Me: Can’t get there without a little patience. Keep in mind that this version of the rebuild is way ahead of schedule. We were in the Eastern Conference Finals last year and still haven’t landed a 3rd All Star. We’ve gotten this far because Ainge is a master at creating something out of nothing. He’s doing it again with this most recent trade.
Me: Maybe. Or maybe he just traded away the franchise future star that we’ve been waiting for since Paul Pierce left. I’m still haunted by Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant and if Fultz is even 75% of what those guys are, this will sting even worse because we had the pick in hand and threw it away.
Also Me: Don’t be so dramatic. You’ll be singing a different tune if we get Porter and Ayton next year.
Me: Stop selling me on the future! I want my cake and I want to eat it too. I’m starving for cake. What can we get for all these picks in a trade? Butler? George? Anthony Davis???
Also Me: Woah, woah, slow your roll. The Brow isn’t happening. Maybe one of those other guys will happen, but only for the right price. And don’t forget we still have cap space to make a run at Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin. You might still eat cake. The draft and free agency are just days away. Have a little patience and see how this plays out.
Me: I love cake. Cake makes me feel better.
Also Me: I know man, I know.