Celtics

Did Celtics take advantage of 76ers again with latest NBA draft trade?

Did Celtics take advantage of 76ers again with latest NBA draft trade?

The Boston Celtics' excellent 2017 trade with the Philadelphia 76ers finally wrapped up Thursday night in Brooklyn during the 2019 NBA Draft. 

Celtics fans have fond memories of when team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge traded the No. 1 pick in 2017 to the 76ers for the No. 3 pick and a future first-rounder. The Sixers took Washington guard Markelle Fultz at No. 1, and he's no longer on Philly's roster. It's easily one of the worst top picks in recent memory. The Celtics took Jayson Tatum at No. 3, and he's a rising star with franchise-cornerstone potential. Boston completed the trade by taking Indiana wing Romeo Langford with the No. 14 pick Thursday. This pick was the future first-rounder given to Boston in the Tatum/Fultz deal.

Well, it appears Ainge might have taken advantage of the 76ers front office in another draft trade Thursday. ESPN's Jonathan Givony listed the Celtics among his winners of the 2019 draft, and his reasoning was the trade Boston made with Philadelphia.

In 2014, Sixers GM Sam Hinkie was able to sniff out the Orlando Magic's interest in drafting Elfrid Payton, selecting him at No. 10 and forcing Orlando to give up an additional first-round pick to get its target.

Five years later, it appears that the Boston Celtics were able to do the same, taking advantage of the 76ers' very clear interest in Matisse Thybulle early on in the pre-draft process. The Celtics picked Thybulle at No. 20 and flipped him to Philly while moving down to No. 24 and extracting the No. 33 pick. The Celtics then turned around and auctioned off that pick to the Suns for a 2020 first-round pick, doing some nifty business considering where they started from.

And when it came time to make that 33rd pick, the Celtics reportedly snatched Carsen Edwards away from Philly, who was looking to take him at 34.

The 76ers' front office has been a mess since the end of the 2017-18 season, and Elton Brand hasn't performed a whole lot better than his predecessor, Bryan Colangelo. Brand went all-in this past season, giving up nearly all of the 76ers' remaining assets to acquire star forwards Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. The result was arguably the best starting unit in the league, but the bench was a real weakness and it showed in the team's second-round playoff loss to the Toronto Raptors. Brand and/or his staff apparently made the team's interest in Thybulle too obvious, and Ainge, one of the smartest executives in the league, pounced on the opportunity to acquire some nice assets as a result.

It's possible Thybulle becomes a really good player and the Celtics don't hit on their future first-rounder or receive much production from Edwards, but you cannot let a chief rival take advantage of your situation in this manner.

Click for our biggest winners and losers of the 2019 NBA Draft>>>

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A. Sherrod Blakely's Takeways from Celtics' bounce-back win over Suns

A. Sherrod Blakely's Takeways from Celtics' bounce-back win over Suns

Well, the losing didn’t last very long. 

The Celtics shook off their second loss of the season from 24 hours earlier and came away with a solid 99-85 win in Phoenix led by Jayson Tatum’s 26-point, 11-rebound performance for his second double-double of the season. 

It was relatively close until the Celtics closed out the second quarter with a 20-4 run to lead 57-42 at the half. 

Boston (11-2) continued to pull away in the second half in what was a surprisingly cushy win over a Suns team that had won five of its past seven and was playing some of the best basketball in the NBA. 

However, the victory could be bittersweet if Marcus Smart is lost for an extended period with an ankle sprain suffered in the fourth quarter, although postgame comments from Smart and coach Brad Stevens make it sound as if the injury was not as severe as it looked. Smart left after scoring 17 points to go with four assists, two steals and a blocked shot.

Boston’s success on Monday was similar to what they had done in their 10-game winning streak but wasn't apparent in their 100-99 loss in Sacramento on Sunday, a game in which Smart’s potential game-winning shot hung on the rim for what seemed like an eternity before rolling out as time expired. 

On Monday, the Celtics’ defense forced turnovers early on, which took the Suns out of running their offense as efficiently as they are accustomed to. And that kept Devin Booker, who came in having averaged more than 42 points against the Celtics, from ever getting into any kind of rhythm. 

It was a quality win over a quality opponent on the road, a victory that came about by Boston getting back to doing the things that had allowed them to run off their impressive winning streak. 

Here are a few more takeaways: 

MARCUS SMART

We often talk about Marcus Smart as being the heart and soul of this team. It’s hard to imagine anyone being more locked into Monday night than Smart, who knew he had to lead the defensive focus on limiting the high-scoring Booker. Still, as we’ve seen with Smart this season more than any other, he’s intent on showing he can impact the game at both ends of the floor. In addition to leading the defensive efforts, Smart also had a strong game scoring with 17 points. However, the ankle injury makes him questionable for Wednesday against the Clippers in Los Angeles.

DEFENDING BOOKER

Considering how Booker has torched the Celtics for an average of 42.5 points in the previous four games against them, the Celtics had to feel really good about limiting him to just 20 points. And they did so with a multitude of defenders coming at Booker from a multitude of angles via double-teams, triple-teams, tilting in his direction … if it involved defense, chances are high that the Celtics tried it at some point in limiting Booker. Whether Smart is available Wednesday or not, the Celtics will have to employ a similar all-hands-on-deck approach defensively if they are to somehow limit the Clippers’ two best players, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. 

CELTICS BENCH 

This group doesn’t score a ton of points, but they are starting to make the most of their chances to impact what matters most to the Celtics - winning. Brad Wanamaker continues to be their most consistent guard off the bench, scoring 10 points to go with six assists and three steals. Grant Williams, who picked up his first DNP-CD (Did not play- coach's decision) in the loss in Sacramento, maxed out his opportunity to play with four points, two blocks and a slew of hustle plays that Boston absolutely needed from him tonight. The C's also got solid contributions from Robert Williams and Carsen Edwards. 

FIRST-HALF KEMBA

It has been well documented how Kemba Walker has struggled offensively in the first half of most games this season. 

Not Monday.

The Celtics got late-game Kemba, in the first half for a change. He wound up with 19 points, 13 of which came in the first half on 6-for-11 shooting with all five of his misses coming from 3-point range.  

The Celtics really needed Walker to put his imprint on the game early so they could get off to a good start, establish control of the game and pull away in the end. 

“I try to come out and make the right plays,” Walker told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin after the win.

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

 


 
 

NBA Highlights: Celtics bounce back with win 99-85 over Suns

NBA Highlights: Celtics bounce back with win 99-85 over Suns

FINAL SCORE: Celtics 99, Suns 85

IN BRIEF: Jayson Tatum scores 26 points and has 11 rebounds and Kemba Walker scores 19 points as the Celtics bounce back from a loss in Sacramento a night earlier and beat the Suns in Phoenix, 99-85. BOX SCORE

CELTICS RECORD: 11-2

HIGHLIGHTS

ARON BAYNES RE-INTRODUCING HIMSELF TO HIS OLD FRIENDS:

SMART FINDS BROWN FOR THE ALLEY-OOP:

HELLO AGAIN, MR. BAYNES:

NO 3 IS SAFE WITH ROBERT WILLIAMS AROUND:

MARCUS SMART, SHARPSHOOTER:

KEMBA HITS, TAKES A SEAT:

KEMBA CLOSES OUT THE HALF STRONG:

A SCARY-LOOKING MARCUS SMART INJURY:

A BIG NIGHT FOR TATUM:

UP NEXT:

@ L.A. Clippers, Wednesday, 10 p.m., NBC Sports Boston
@ Denver Nuggets, Friday, 9 p.m., NBC Sports Boston 
 

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.