The Boston Celtics have long been an afterthought when it comes to the 2022 NBA Draft, but getting so close to Banner 18 has only increased the urgency for Cs President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens to spend and be aggressive on draft night and into the summer.
It’s go-time for the Cs front office. If Jayson Tatum ever wants to wear a Los Angeles Lakers jersey in actuality or Jaylen Brown wants to explore the chance to be the No. 1 option elsewhere, this offseason will be the one pointed to for why a trade request happened.
Stevens is luckily in the driver’s seat with the chips he has to play with on the trade market. Derrick White boosted his value to an all-time high throughout the postseason up until the NBA Finals’ fifth and sixth closing games. Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard are also trade-bait for an upgrade if aggregated with the White or Daniel Theis contracts acquired this past February at the trade deadline.
Big moves run the risk of fixing what isn’t broken. Keeping this group together, and bringing back past successes like Al Horford or Theis, was what led to an Eastern Conference Championship. The Golden State Warriors have been together for a decade and just won their fourth championship.
Adding to the mix could be a more viable option, however. Stevens only has the No. 53 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but according to Boston.com’s Conor Roche, the Celtics PBO could package several 2023 second-round picks to trade into this year’s first round:
"“Of course, they could always trade back into the first round but that would likely require them giving up a player on the roster and/or a future pick. The Celtics currently hold their first-round pick in every draft following 2022 and while they don’t have their own second-round pick in 2023, they hold three other second-round picks in that draft through other trades.”"
Who the Boston Celtics could target in the first round
The Cs need to either swing for the fences with a draft night-faller with more talent than his draft position or find someone who logged in a few years at the collegiate level before making the pro jump.
Patrick Baldwin Jr. of UW-Milwaukee could be a gamble for a wing with size that fits the former category. Duke’s Wendell Moore Jr. fits the bill of the latter designation as someone who started games for Mike Krzyzewski during his final three years in Durham.