The Boston Celtics and their fans received some good news regarding the next two NBA Drafts. Marvin Bagley III filed papers to reclassify and graduate from high school to attend college this fall. It is important to note that Bagley’s transcripts could be an issue in getting the NCAA to clear him according to SI. On ESPN Recruiting Nation, Bagley is considering six schools including Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas.
The 6’11” Bagley is the top ranked prospect in the 2018 high school class, and he could join the loaded 2017 class alongside Michael Porter, Luka Doncic, DeAndre Ayton, Mo Bamba, and Miles Bridges. All of these players are expected to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft, and the Celtics currently own the of the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected first-round pick and the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round pick if it falls between selections 2 and 5.
Bagley isn’t the only recent reclassification that could potentially help Boston. R.J. Barrett, the top recruit of the 2019 high school class, has decided to reclassify to the 2018 class that Bagley might leave. Barrett joins Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, and Bol Bol in a very talented group of players expected to be available in the 2019 NBA Draft. The Celtics could own the the more favorable 2019 top-1 protected selection of the Sacramento Kings or Philadelphia 76ers if the 2018 Lakers pick does not convey.
Danny Ainge gave the Celtics these options on top of the Nets picks by trading the top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft to the Sixers for the third pick in 2017 and either the Lakers 2018 pick or a 2019 pick from the Kings or Sixers.
When players of this caliber reclassify, the most significant effect it has is pushing other talented players down draft boards. In the more immediate case, Bagley will most likely be a top-three pick next summer if successfully reclassified. This move would put players like Doncic, Bamba, and Bridges into the range of 3-7 as opposed to 1-4. For the Celtics, potentially owning two top-five picks in a draft with multiple players that could go as high as #1 is incredibly valuable. Even if Boston has one top-five pick instead of two in 2018, they’ll almost certainly have one in 2019.
Ainge made a bold move trading away the top pick in the 2017 draft, but the value he could have in the picks from Philadelphia could put the Celtics in another world compared to other contenders. There’s no way he could have known Bagley and Barrett would reclassify, but these events make Ainge look even smarter for making the deal with Philadelphia.
Note: This article was updated at 2:30 pm EST to reflect that, while Bagley has submitted papers to initiate the reclassification process, he has not officially announced a decision to reclassify.