• Joseph Thiel

Breaking Down the 76ers and Celtics Trade


The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics agreed to swap first round picks in the upcoming draft this Thursday night. The 76ers will now select first overall for the consecutive year and are expected to take the former Washington guard Markelle Fultz. The Celtics, on the other hand, will now select third in Thursday’s NBA draft and will also be compensated with a future draft pick which will be determined in various ways. Prior to this trade, the 76ers owned an unprotected first round pick from the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2018 draft as well as an unprotected first round pick from the Sacramento Kings in the 2019 draft. Along with the 3rd overall pick, the Boston Celtics will now receive the Los Angeles Lakers first round selection next year if it falls between the 2nd pick and the 5th pick. If the pick is first overall or anything after 5th, the 76ers will keep the pick and the Celtics will take the Kings’ unprotected 2019 first round pick unless it is 1st overall.

After digesting all that information, let’s analyze both sides of the trade to see which team came out as the winner and which came out as the loser. It is safe to say both teams put themselves in a great position to win in the future, but how much farther along are they to delivering a championship to their respective cities after this trade?

Philadelphia 76ers:

The 76ers have been deep in their rebuilding process for the last four years under head coach Brett Brown and have totaled a record of just 75-253, which is among the worst in the league during that span. Finally, after four years of rebuilding from the ground up, it looks like the team is finally ready to be competitive in the Eastern Conference again. With the emergence of young stars in Joel Embiid and Dario Saric last season, the 76ers were given hope for the future that had not been there in previous years. Even without the services of 2016 1st overall pick, Ben Simmons, the 76ers won their most amount of games since the 2012-2013 NBA season.

With the team expected to take Markelle Fultz with the first overall pick, it seems that the “Trust the Process” chants will finally come to fruition. Philadelphia has been able to build their primarily through drafting at the top of the order over the past few seasons. Despite injuries to Embiid and Simmons during their first few years on the team, they look to guide this team to new heights fans had only been daydreaming of in previous years. There is only one downside to this trade from the 76ers perspective.

No matter how many experts say that the 76ers have placed themselves in great position to be successful in years to come, they have no precedent to base that from. Fultz and Simmons have yet to play in the NBA yet, while Joel Embiid had only played less than half a season during his three years in the NBA. This team needs to develop chemistry among their young stars and find a way for them to gel together as the core for this young team moving forward.

Fans should not be worried about having to give up either the Lakers or Kings pick. Instead, they should be glad that the Sixers didn’t have to give up a core of players as well as a future pick. Bryan Colangelo may never be Sam Hinkie in the eyes of the Philadelphia fans, but he may have won them over a bit more with this trade-up.

Boston Celtics:

The Boston Celtics are fresh off an embarrassing Eastern Conference Finals performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers in which they were the one seed heading into the playoffs. Under head coach Brad Stevens, the Boston Celtics have risen back to relevance and have become one of the top contenders for the Eastern Conference outside of LeBron James’ Cavaliers. Following the loss in the playoffs, the Celtics general manager, Danny Ainge, knew he had to drastically improve his team to put up a better fight against LeBron James. This trade with the 76ers may be a step in the right direction to making that happen.

Despite being labeled as the consensus number one pick in this year’s draft, Markelle Fultz must not have done enough to impress Ainge in his workout with the Celtics otherwise Ainge would have stayed put and taken him as the first overall pick. Instead of settling with someone he wasn’t in love with, Ainge was able to move back two spots and acquire a future asset along the way. The Celtics now own this year’s 3rd overall pick, next year’s Brooklyn Nets pick as well as their own and the Los Angeles Lakers pick outside 2-6, or the Sacramento Kings pick in 2019.

With a plethora of talent on their roster, it is difficult to imagine that the Celtics would keep these picks to select high in the draft for the next few years. Instead, they should be actively trying to shop some of these picks to a team like the Chicago Bulls or Indiana Pacers to add someone like a Jimmy Butler or Paul George. The Celtics are only a piece or two away from being in the NBA Finals themselves and one of those two superstars may help put them over the top.

The only downside that could come from this trade with the Celtics is if Markelle Fultz turns out to be a top ten player in the league in a few years. Danny Ainge took a gamble when he traded away the top pick because he thought that Fultz wouldn’t pan out for his team. However, if he turns out to be a superstar for Philadelphia, then the city of Boston may turn on him and begin to think what could have been.

Both sides certainly have benefited from this trade at first glance, but it would be interesting to review this trade again a year from now and see who really reaped the full benefits of this top 3 trade swap.

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