NBA: Celtics, 76ers complete swap of first, third draft picks
The Philadelphia 76ers obtained the top pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft from the Boston Celtics on Monday, both teams officially completing a deal agreed upon and revealed over the weekend.
The 76ers are expected to make point guard Markelle Fultz the fourth number one pick in club history and the second in a row after taking Australian Ben Simmons last year. The Aussie missed all of last season with a foot injury.
Boston received the 76ers’ third overall pick in the draft plus a future first-round pick from Philadelphia in exchange for making the move.
Terms of the deal were agreed upon Saturday night after Fultz conducted a workout for the 76ers.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of this trade, which puts us in the enviable position of selecting first overall in consecutive draft years,” 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said.
“History suggests that number one has the greatest odds of producing franchise-level talent and we are confident that this year’s draft class has that very potential. Thursday night will see us take another significant step toward building a successful and sustainable basketball program.”
Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals over 25 games last season for the University of Washington Huskies, who went 9-22.
Together with Simmons, Jahlil Okafor and 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year finalists Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, the 76ers will have a young core of talent that could provide a formidable base upon which to rebuild the team.
The 76ers have won only one playoff series since 2003 and managed only one winning campaign since 2005. They went 28-54 last season.
The Celtics already boast leading scorer Isaiah Thomas at point guard and they are set to obtain a top player plus gain another likely high pick in 2018 or 2019.
“We’re thrilled to be able to select what we expect be an impact player with the third pick in this year’s very talented draft class, while also adding a highly valuable future asset,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said.
Boston will receive the 2018 first-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers if that selection falls between the second to fifth picks. Otherwise, the Celtics will have a choice between the better 2019 first-round pick between Sacramento or Philadelphia.
In all, the Celtics could possibly own draft rights to seven first-round choices over the next three seasons.