The Boston Celtics had the good fortune of winning the NBA Draft Lottery, walking away with the first overall pick thanks to a swap with the Brooklyn Nets from the infamous Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade. Most draft experts agree that Washinton’s Markelle Fultz should be the first player taken off the board, but that could be a bit problematic for Boston.
Guard Isaiah Thomas was recently named to the All-NBA second team and has become the centerpiece of a resurgent Celtics squad, with his fourth-quarter heroics standing out this season. However, it isn’t clear whether Fultz and Thomas, who both thrive with the ball in their hands, can co-exist on the basketball court. To his credit, Thomas told ESPN’s Chris Forsberg that he believes they can work it out:
“He asks questions; I answer them,” Thomas said. “He’s a good friend of mine. If it happens, we’ll figure out how to play together. If not, we’ll go from there.”
Thomas also attended the University of Washington, so his connection with Fultz isn’t necessarily a sign that Boston has made up their mind on who to draft. They could even look to trade the pick if they decide that they would rather add a win-now piece that might allow them to match up better with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
From the perspective of the Los Angeles Lakers, who possess the second overall pick in the draft, who the Celtics ultimately select will have a major impact. Should Boston surprise everyone and decide to go with a player like Lonzo Ball or Josh Jackson instead of Fultz, the talented Washington guard would fall into their laps.
If Boston does what they are widely expected to and takes Fultz, then the Lakers are strongly expected to go with Ball, though several other prospects will do what they can to change their mind. The NBA Draft is on June 22nd and we can expect to hear a plethora of rumors between now and then, with no real certainty until the picks are officially announced.