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What happens to Isaiah Thomas if the Celtics win the NBA draft lottery?
The Boston Celtics, despite contending for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, have the best odds of winning the 2017 NBA draft lottery. Thanks to an infamous trade with the Nets four years ago, the Celtics have the right to swap picks with Brooklyn this year. The Brooklyn pick is guaranteed to be in the top four due to the structure of the lottery. The Boston pick will be around No. 27 or No. 28.
The swap is going to happen. It’s just a matter of determining how high a pick Boston will end up receiving. The Celtics will have a 25 percent chance of picking No. 1, a 21 percent chance of picking cheap nba jerseys No. 2, an 18 percent of picking No. 3, and a 36 percent chance of picking No. 4.
Markelle Fultz — a point guard — is the consensus No. 1 overall pick at the moment as he’s been there for much of the past year. None of his rivals for the top spot made the Final Four. As scouts go back and look at his season in Seattle again, odds are a consensus builds around him before the lottery on May 16.
Fultz is seen as a franchise cornerstone, the type of point guard you expect to some day give a max contract and pencil in as one of your All-Stars as you’re competing for championships. He’s a John Wall, a Kyrie Irving. He might be better, but we need to see him in the NBA to know. You don’t pass him up because you have an All-Star point guard. You don’t pass up prospects like Fultz.
The Celtics, meanwhile, have an All-Star point guard named Isaiah Thomas.
He might make an All-NBA team and he’s probably going to be on a couple of MVP ballots. He’s also on the best contract in the NBA (non-rookie edition) and will be a free agent in 2018. Thomas is known for having a massive chip on his shoulder due to being told repeatedly he, at 5’8, doesn’t belong in the NBA.
What if Boston wins the No. 1 pick? What if it becomes clear in May that Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, will pick Fultz in June? What does that do to Isaiah amid the Celtics’ playoff run?
Perhaps nothing cheap authentic jerseys. Thomas is incredibly confident, and he performs well when challenged. Boston loves him. Brad Stevens has an amazing rapport with his players and should be able to keep the team focused on what could be a trip to the conference finals.
There’s also the matter of the Washington Huskies: Isaiah played there under Lorenzo Romar and maintains strong connections to the program. Fultz was Romar’s last big Huskie star before the coach was fired earlier this month.
It’s still weird. It still has to be unsettling.
And it could get even more weird and unsettling heading into a summer where Thomas should reasonably expect to be talking contract extension. Boston can use its cap space to pay and extend Thomas, but the Celtics are also chasing free agents or unbalanced trades for stars. That cap space is precious.
Imagine, then, that you are Isaiah Thomas. You are an NBA All-Star making $6 million, which is $20 million less than another NBA All-Star guard in the East, DeMar DeRozan. You are the best player on one of the two best teams in the East. You have become a hero in a basketball town who worships legitimate legends.
Imagine you are all that, and your team drafts another point guard No. 1 overall and withholds a big pay raise to go get another big-name player who will make at least three times your salary.
Isaiah Thomas is only human. That’s going to bug him.
It’s going to bug him if the Celtics are ejected from the NBA playoffs by the Cavaliers or Wizards and the resulting talk is all about how you can’t make the NBA Finals if Isaiah Thomas is your best player. (Those takes pretty much write themselves.)
It’s going to bug him when July comes and the headlines are about Boston chasing this free agent or that cheap nhl jerseys, when the headlines are about Fultz dominating Summer League. It’s going to bug him when every question on media day next fall is about whether he can play with Fultz, whether he feels disrespected by the draft choice or the lack of an extension, and whether he plans to re-sign with Boston in 2018.
It’s going to bug him to realize he’s the sixth-highest paid player on the Celtics. This stuff would bug anyone, but especially a guy who has been fighting to prove himself his entire adult life.
This is all a thought experiment, of course. The issue is avoided if the Celtics don’t win the No. 1 pick — there’s a 75 percent probability they will not — because Boston would then line up to take a wing like Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, or Jonathan Isaac. (Something tells me Danny Ainge isn’t enamored with Lonzo Ball.)
The issue could also be avoided if the Celtics decide to part with the pick to swing a deal for Jimmy Butler or Paul George, which is one of the directions Boston could go if they disappoint in the playoffs. (You could see an early exit go one of two ways: The Celtics decide an Isaiah-led team is too flawed so they rebuild younger, or the Celtics decide they need more star power now and trade away youth.)
But if the Celtics do win the No. 1 pick — and no team will have a better shot than them — what happens with Isaiah Thomas’s psyche and future is an incredible subplot to watch.
Bulpett: Celtics have bigger goals than winning in this year’s playoffs
What if the Celtics get one of the top two or three picks in this June’s draft?
What if they sign a max-level free agent this summer?
What if they make a trade or two that alleviates some of the roster logjam and brings back solid veteran help?
What if Ante Zizic and/or Guerschon Yabusele can contribute as we get deeper into next season?
What if they make themselves into a legitimate threat to be on the schedule in June 2018?
All of which leads to a sixth question: If you’re watching a true contender in Green next year, will you care about what happened cheap authentic jerseys in the 2017 playoffs?
With it pretty clear to all but the seriously Green-eyed that these Celts are not where they want or need to be in the grand NBA scheme, there is more and more talk about what they need to accomplish for this to be a “successful” season. That fact is usually raised in the form of “they have to do X, or it will be a failure” is pretty fair evidence that the statement is being made in search of a sizzling take.
Certainly those who follow the club would like to see progress that goes beyond the not-so-insignificant fact that, with one more victory, the C’s will have increased their win total in each of the seasons since the 25-57 dive that followed the dispatching of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. They won 40, then 48 and stand now at 48 with Orlando, the Knicks and Brooklyn still on the schedule.
Then comes the postseason and the presumed need to take a step forward. Injuries hindered them in a six-game loss to Atlanta last season, and they didn’t really belong in the same gym with the Finals-bound Cavaliers in 2015, a 4-0 sweep.
So, yeah, you’d probably want to see the Celts get past the first round this year just for the sake of the optics. When you get past the obvious power of the Cavs, there is simply not a great deal that will separate the rest of the playoff entrants when it comes to talent. Wednesday’s loss to Milwaukee should have hammered home this point. The Celtics aren’t that much better than anybody they will face.
The edge in any East matchup not involving Cleveland will, therefore, come down to matchups and execution. A few missed shots here or there, and the Celts could fade from the postseason by the end of April.
If such is the case, the gnashing of teeth will torch the C’s and their coach as regular season wonders. People will question the makeup of the roster, which will be a rather humorous argument, in that the club had essentially admitted already it is not yet fit to contend.
Then, on May 16, the NBA will conduct its draft lottery and the Celtics will be entertaining top prospects for individual and group workouts. Then, on June 22, the league will hold its draft. Then, in July, teams will begin negotiating with free agents. All the while, Danny Ainge will be open for trade business.
Objects in the Celtics followers’ rearview mirror — objects like the 2017 playoffs — will appear more distant than galaxies far cheap jerseys from china, far away. Any postseason disappointment will be further expunged if the Celts have success with the ping-pong balls and in their summer pursuits.
How do we know this to be fact? History.
The 2006-07 Celtics won 24 games, losing 18 straight at one point and telling Pierce to sit out near the end because the club needed him to rest his foot. Either that or they were trying to tank for a better chance in the lottery. But dreams of Kevin Durant or (shudder) Greg Oden drifted away when the Celts, with the second-best odds, saw three teams jump the line and elbow them to the No. 5 pick.
Then there was the draft night trade for Ray Allen. Then there was the deal for Kevin Garnett. Then not a single soul cared about the 2006-07 season and calls for Doc Rivers’ head and Sebastian Telfair starting 30 games. It will certainly be fun for those with a rooting interest to see a long stay at the playoff party this year, but even that won’t signify anything meaningful unless there are offseason victories that follow.
People in these parts enjoyed the 2002 run to the East finals, but there was no question that was a flawed team playing in a flawed conference. And what did that get them cyber monday nfl sales other than a delay in recognizing the deeper problems? Ainge understood the mess when he took over a year later, and it’s a good bet he won’t be unduly influenced by what does or doesn’t happen in these playoffs. Will you?
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