Danny Ainge does it again: Boston's 2019 draft situation
It's hard to argue that the Boston Celtics are primed for one of the more successful futures in the NBA. They've got a starting lineup filled with stars, Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford. And they're more than capable off the bench with talents like Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart (pending re-sign), Marcus Morris, Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele, Robert Williams, and Daniel Theis, among others.
In Ainge we trust
However, the future could blossom into something even brighter with the assets inside GM Danny Ainge's treasure chest. The Celtics own four potential first-round picks in the 2019 draft. This is how they acquired them;
Boston moved down from the No. 1 overall selection in the 2017 draft in exchange for the No. 3 pick and a future protected first-round selection from the Sacramento Kings that helped the Philadelphia 76ers land Markelle Fultz.
The Celtics traded Jeff Green to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Tayshaun Prince and a future protected first-round pick.
Boston acquired a future protected first-round pick from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for picks No. 31 and No. 35 in the 2016 Draft.
The C's hold their own selection in the 2019 Draft.
On top of four potential first-round picks, Boston also holds two second-rounders, giving them six potential selections after having just one in the 2018 draft.
So why would Boston want to have four picks in the first-round in 2019? In all honesty, they probably don't.
The Celtics currently are projected to have nine players under contract in 2019-20. That doesn't take into account players like Smart (RFA) or Aron Baynes, who are expected to be back with the team, or Brad Wanamaker, who reportedly was close to signing a deal with Boston earlier today.
Adding four to six rookies onto the team would be extremely difficult with the number of players the Celtics will likely bring back. Luckily for Ainge, the protections on some of the picks might result in them not conveying in 2019.
The Memphis pick is top-8 protected in 2019, top-6 protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021. The Los Angeles pick is top-14 protected in 2019 and 2020. The Grizzlies likely won't be good enough for their pick to convey next season. The Clippers will have a tall task ahead of them to make the playoffs in 2019.
Nonetheless, this makes Boston's future even scarier for the rest of the league. The 2019 draft is projected to be weaker than some of the more recent drafts in history. The Celtics also have a shot at landing another top pick in the future if Memphis initiates a total rebuild, which could happen as Marc Gasol and Mike Conley continue to age.
Ainge and his staff have done an absolutely phenomenal job of setting Boston up for sustained future success. Now it's time to enjoy the ride.