Back in February, the asking price for a star like Jimmy Butler or Paul George was the 2017 Nets pick, Jaylen Brown, and other key role players in Boston’s lineup. Now that the lottery has awarded Boston the top pick in the draft, the Bulls would be lucky if Danny Ainge gave away just the pick for Jimmy Butler. The Pacers certainly won’t be receiving that pick anymore, unless they can get Paul George, heading into a contract year, to re-sign long term before any trade.
But even if these teams offer their stars for just the pick in a straight up swap, Ainge should still hang on to his spot at the top of the draft. In the playoffs, George and Butler showed us they aren’t true superstars. Butler couldn’t inject the slightest bit of life into his squad when Rondo went down against the Celtics, and PG13’s struggles in the clutch continued, as Indiana was bounced in a first round sweep. The first pick won’t get the Celtics anybody who can contribute immediately the way these two can, but it could land them a perennial All-Star down the road: Washington’s Markelle Fultz.
Fultz seems like the perfect point guard prospect. He has a beautiful jumper with soft touch, excellent passing ability, the tightest handles in the draft, natural finishing ability around the rim, and a rare combination of quickness and length, which points to huge potential on defense. It’s hard to find any weaknesses in Markelle’s game. One could only point to his lack of wins at Washington, but that would be nitpicking.
With LeBron James looking like he will dominate the Eastern Conference for the foreseeable future and the Warriors looking unbeatable, it would be extremely risky for the Celtics to enter win-now mode. Markelle Fultz paired with Jaylen Brown could give Boston two young superstars, that could start taking over the East right around the time LeBron finally begins to slow down.