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A close eye on the Memphis pick

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What was once a bountiful treasure chest of draft picks has now dwindled down to one.

NBA: NBA Draft Lottery Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

As things stand, the Celtics could have either one or three draft picks in the 2020 draft. Both the Bucks and Grizzlies picks are protected this upcoming year. While the Bucks pick conveying is highly likely due to the talent on their roster, the Grizzlies are a different story.

Having entered full rebuild mode after trading away their star point guard Mike Conley during the 2019 NBA Draft, the value of their pick skyrocketed. Pairing Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke from the draft has somewhat negated that.

Are they the bottom feeders many expected them to be though?

Their record currently sits at 5-9 with games against both LA teams, the Jazz and the Pacers to come before the end of November. There is a strong possibility they finish the month 5-13. This is both beneficial to Boston, depending on when they want this pick to convey.

“This season, the pick is protected for the Top 6. For the Celtics, the ideal situation was to have the Grizzlies tank out for the next two seasons, have them use the pick in the 2020 draft, then have their unprotected pick in 2021.”

According to the Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney yesterday, the more Memphis loses this year, the better it is for Boston’s long-term plan. Why though? Perhaps it’s because an unprotected first round pick which belongs to a rebuilding squad in the West carries so much value?

“It’s a high-value pick no matter what happens, it is a lottery pick,”

With all the questions surrounding the Celtics current plight at the center position, you could make an argument for using the pick as trade bait. Picks are always more valuable before they become a living entity, the dream always costs more than the reality.

It doesn’t make sense though. The cap acrobatics required to bring in a big good enough to catapult this team into contention while retaining its current core is a difficult task. The Celtics also already have one eye on the future of their checkbook.

“by signing forward Jaylen Brown to a four-year, $115 million extension this offseason, a deal that kicks in next year at $23 million. Jayson Tatum will be due an extension next offseason and that deal will start the following year, when the Celtics also have $36 million committed to Kemba Walker and $14 million to Marcus Smart.”

Does adding a high earning big, at the cost of losing a player such as Gordon Hayward or Marcus Smart, really change the teams trajectory that much?

A quick glance at Max Carlin’s NBA draft big boards will show you there is talent available at the center position in the upcoming draft. Regardless if the Memphis pick conveys, the Celtics can move up should they choose to.

Yes, there is a case to move one of the big’s currently on the roster with Enes Kanter or Vincent Poirier becoming the likely casualty of the logjam. But is it a necessity for a team currently sitting at 11-2?

Boston’s font office have had notable success in the draft recently, and will trust themselves to continue to do so. Currently three of their best players have came out of recent drafts, while their bench consists of a further four players in the rotation. Not to mention three players in Maine who all project to be rotational pieces should they continue to develop.

“The Grizzlies’ net margin on the year is minus-8.0 points per 100 possessions, which is 28th in the NBA. No team can stay within shouting distance of .500 with that kind of net rating”

Tacko Fall and Robert Williams are both project big men, while Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier are insurance policies against the bigger bodies. Daniel Theis is increasing his reputation with every passing game.

Any move for a new center will be unlikely to include the Memphis pick, it will certainly include one or more of the bigs on shorter term contracts and a sweetener such as the Bucks’ pick.

“But don’t expect the Celtics to change their approach. The Grizzlies could still collapse and the Celtics still won’t be out shopping the asset on the trade market.”

Boston has stood pat at recent trade deadlines, instead preferring to do their work in the draft and free agency. Unless an All-Star becomes available or the Grizzlies become the surprise team in the West, don’t expect Boston and the Memphis pick to part ways.

They have held on to this pick since 2015. They obviously believe in it’s value both as a trade chip or high lottery pick. As always, we must have trust in Danny Ainge.

But i’m curious, would you rather keep the pick or package it for a trade and if so, for who?