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Let me preface this by saying I'm not really interested in trading the number one pick in the upcoming draft. I think Markelle Fultz is going to be an absolute stud and his offensive game will translate to the pros much quicker than most young guys; however, there will be tons of speculation as to what the Celtics can/will/should do between now and the draft, and even beyond that, so since I laugh at a lot of the scenarios I see proposed I figured it would be interesting to look at the number of players in the league I'd actually be willing to trade that 1st-overall pick for - there's not many.

Obviously some of these teams are not parting with these players for Fultz or whoever else they could select 1st, but I just wanted to showcase just how valuable being in the pole position of the draft is this year. My list of guys isn't even long enough to roster an All Star team. I didn't include anybody with less than two years remaining on their current deals due in large part to the fact that guys are so much more willing to jump ship in free agency and while perhaps some GMs might be willing to take that gamble for a guy with one year remaining I am not. So when you don't see LeBron, Durant, Westbrook, and Steph Curry on my list that's why. This is just a hypothetical list of players that I'd be looking for in any deal that included the #1 pick this year.


The No-Brainers:

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Karl-Anthony Towns

Anthony Davis

Kawhi Leonard

James Harden


I don't think even Fultz's mother could resist from including him in a deal for any of these guys. The first four are complete athletic freaks and every one of these guys is an ideal building block you can build a championship team around. Fultz's offensive arsenal is often compared to Harden's, but rather than take the young promising player I'll go with the sure thing 100 times out of 100. If LeBron, Curry, Durant, and Westbrook were eligible here they would also be included in this group - the best of the best.


The Next Four:

Kyrie Irving

John Wall

Klay Thompson

Damian Lilliard


Wall and Thompson are closer to the no-brainer category than the other two for the mere fact that I think either one of them would flourish playing alongside Isaiah Thomas, something many speculate Fultz would be able to do given his size and attributes which are very similiar to Wall's. Thompson would be an ideal counterpart to Thomas particularly on the offensive end as he's one of the best shooters in the NBA and would create so much space on the floor.

Irving and Lillard would't be such great fits with Isaiah, since they are both just about as big of a detriment on the defensive end as Thomas, but them being only 25 and 26 respectively they'd be worth building around rather more than Thomas who's going to be 30 next season. I'm just not sure if eventually moving on from Thomas and trading Fultz is worth either of them when you could potentially ride Isaiah as Fultz develops into a star, although a deal for one of them revolving around that 1st pick would be hard to turn down. Wall's 27+ points and 10+ assists a game is right about what you hope to get from Fultz someday at his peak, so as with Harden I'd certainly prefer the sure thing rather than the prospect.


Very Promising Youth:

Nikola Jokic

Kristaps Porzingis


Both Jokic and Porzingis are young athletic freaks, and perhaps by this time next year I'd have them both in the no-brainer category. Jokic dons the most cost-efficient contract in the NBA as he's signed for just about the veteran minimum for next season with a team option for that same value for 2018-19. He's very similiar to Al Horford in terms of being a 5-tool big man, although he's a much better rebounder but not nearly the defender Al is. He's only 22 though and with plenty of time to develop and I already love what he can do.

Porzingis is more of a rim protector than Jokic and will likely develop into a more well-rounded threat to score. He averaged 18+ in his 2nd year with the Knicks and he's already pretty dynamic on offense. I'd kick the tires on a deal for either of these guys but can't say I'd without-a-doubt pull the trigger. A big plus for both is the Celtics could certainly use the size with a plethora of talented young guards on the roster already.


Honorable Mentions:

Jimmy Butler

Bradley Beal


You could make a case for both of these guys but I'm not sold on either being a smart move. Butler is intriguing because he's really good on both ends of the floor, I'm just not sure that I'd rather have him than Fultz when we already have Jaylen Brown who is very similiar to Butler's skill-set. Back in February I was all-in on trading this pick for Butler or Paul George but that was when I figured we'd get screwed per usual in the lottery. As for Beal he's a terrific scorer and only 23-years old with some room to grow but to me he doesn't do enough other things exceptionally well to put him ahead of Fultz's ceiling. I'd rather roll the dice on Markelle.

Is there anybody else I missed?


Photo Credit - Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports

Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401





Mark Allison 6/12/2017 01:37:00 PM Edit
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