Well, it’s official. The Boston Celtics have finalized a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers to swap their first overall pick for the third overall pick. They’ll also be receiving a first rounder in either 2018 or 2019 contingent on a few protections.
Boston Celtics fandom hasn’t held back in voicing their collective displeasure, questioning Danny Ainge on pretty much any and every forum.
While the historical significance of this trade could be huge, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint the impact of this move for future championship aspirations, at least at this moment in time.
But, something that can be answered fairly certainly is whether trading the first overall pick has been beneficial for NBA teams in previous seasons?
According to Jack Maloney, the first overall pick has only been traded six times before the start of the season, excluding the aforementioned Celtics deal.
Ignoring the small sample size, glossing over these trades gives credence to the idea that swapping a number one pick can help a team get immediately better. And by evaluating and ranking these trades, which I’ve done for you below, you get a good idea of the circumstances that seem to ultimately discern whether trading a first overall pick will pan out.
So read on for a definitive ranking of these transactions, starting with the moves that seemingly backfired and moving towards the deals that changed their franchises for the better.