The Celtics have three first-round picks in the 2020 NBA Draft. They don’t have the roster space for three more rookies in 2020-21, nor the need for more inexperienced contributors to truly contend for a championship.
For those reasons, it’s not surprising to see reports suggesting their intention to package picks 14, 26 and 30 to try and move up in the draft. More specifically, they could be targeting USC big man Onyeka Okongwu, who would be the perfect fit for their current roster.
The reality though is it’snot easy to trade up in the NBA draft, especially when you’re trying to get into the top 10. Danny Ainge offered four first rounds picks to the Hornets in 2015 in an attempt to take Justise Winslow and Michael Jordan turned him down!
So if the Celtics are serious about moving into the top 10 to get someone like Okongwu, it’s hard to imagine them getting there by offering all three first-round picks and a combination of Romeo Langford and Carsen Edwards. The conversation would have to start with Robert Williams.
Pistons get: Robert Williams, Romeo Langford, No. 14
Celtics get: No. 7 (to take Okongwu)
Williams showed serious promise in the Celtics’ second-round series against the Raptors. His athleticism, shot-blocking and ability to finish at the rim with force changed the complexion of every minute he played, especially against Marc Gasol. He’s very much still a work in progress, but we’re starting to see Williams turn into the player Celtics fans hoped he’d become when Boston took him 27th overall in 2018.
It’d be a tough loss for the Celtics for sure. Okongwu would be the only player that’d make sense in this hypothetical trade. But that’s the price you have to pay to move up in the NBA Draft. You have to make it worth the other team’s while.
And a package centered around Williams may not even get a deal done. The Celtics’ best bet may just be taking a player like Saddiq Bey at No.14, trading 26 and 30 for cash and addressing the point guard and center spots in free agency. There’s still time for things to play out, but you have to think that if Boston wants to get into the top 10, they’ll least have to trade Rob Williams.