The Boston Celtics have never gone consecutive years without a first-round pick in the NBA Draft. Might Brad Stevens keep that streak alive?
The Celtics own just one second-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft (No. 53 overall) after dealing their first-rounder to the San Antonio Spurs in the Derrick White trade. But there have been rumblings that Boston may look to trade into the first round.
Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer added to those rumblings Wednesday by listing the Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons and Danny Ainge's Utah Jazz as four teams "looking to acquire picks in the back half of the first round."
What would it take for Boston to vault from No. 53 to a pick in the 20s or late teens? Fischer reports the C's "appear willing to engage in conversations on rotation players like Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard, but only for the right price."
The Celtics would have to think very highly of a prospect to part with a rotation player, even if it's a reserve like Pritchard or potentially Aaron Nesmith. This team just came within two victories of an NBA championship, and while the bench unit struggled in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, Stevens noted the importance of roster cohesion in his press conference earlier this week.
"With our group in particular, it’s not as much about blindly acquiring talent as it is fitting a team together," Stevens said.
Then again, there's talent to be had in the back half of the first round. That's where the Celtics found starting center Robert Williams (No. 27 overall in 2018) and key reserves Grant Williams (No. 22 overall in 2019) and Pritchard (No. 26 overall in 2020).
The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor tabbed LSU's Tari Eason -- a versatile wing who can defend multiple positions and is a strong playmaker -- as a potential first-round target for the C's if they move up. Boston also could look to land an athletic big man like Arizona's Christian Koloko, who just won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and could be an enticing backup for Robert Williams.
Considering Grant Williams' postseason contributions and strong fit in the Celtics' system, it seems unlikely Boston would move him unless it gets a very strong return package. It appears the C's are at least exploring their options, though, so fans may want to tune into the first round at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday night to see if Stevens has a trick up his sleeve.