The Celtics are officially on the clock after winning the NBA draft lottery for the first time in franchise history.
It’s been a fantastic 48 hours for the Celtics organization. They earned the right to face Lebron James in the Eastern Conference Finals after disposing of the Wizards on Monday night then followed that up 24 hours later with their lottery win.
While there is a small faction of fans that will clamor for Celtics, General Manager, Danny Ainge to trade the pick and go all in on contending next season the smart choice is keeping the pick on June 22nd and taking Markelle Fultz.
Fultz still has some polishing to do in his game but he is already a well-rounded and versatile NBA-ready, offensive player. From a scoring perspective, the 6’4 guard has the ability to slash to the rim, make tough midrange step back jump shots, hit threes and can drain shots off the catch.
Fultz is an adept passer with good court vision that also has the athleticism and 6’9 3/4 wingspan to grab rebounds in traffic or to chase down opponents for blocked shots.
Despite the fact that the Celtics have a bevy of guards already on the roster, Isaiah Thomas is the only one with the natural ability to score. Fultz provides them with a much-needed second option.
He can share the floor with Isaiah to help take some of the aforementioned scoring load off of the 5’9 point guard or he can run the second unit. Due to the fact that he was the lone option on his Washington Huskies team, Fultz is accustomed to being double and tripled team so the space the NBA game provides should unlock more creativity.
No player is perfect so we may as well discuss a few faults. Fultz’ effort on the defensive end is inconsistent even though his highlight reels will show steals and blocks. His workload in college often times looked like it was too much for the kid but this is something Celtics fans should keep an eye on. Nevertheless, we know Brad Stevens will shorten the leash if the soon to be rookie is getting lost on switches and becomes a defensive liability due to a lack of effort or mental laziness.
He also struggles from the line. For some reason, Fultz only hits 65% of his free throws. We’ve also seen Jaylen Brown suffer through some growing pains with this skill set but it is certainly something repetition and concentration can iron out.
Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens have done a pretty good job of keeping the roster and team building strategies versatile. Selecting Markelle Fultz on June 22nd fits that versatility mold perfectly. With Crowder, Brown, Rozier, Smart and Fultz, the Celtics have five players that can defend multiple positions while also providing interchangeable parts on offense.
The Celtics are doubling down on a strength which gives Ainge the ability to mix and match should trade talks centered around veteran players arise again this summer.
The fan base had two wishes for the upcoming off-season. Win the lottery so Ainge can draft Markelle Fultz and sign Gordon Hayward.
The off-season hasn’t even begun yet and one wish has already come true. It’s a good day to be a Celtics fan.