What happens to Isaiah Thomas if the Celtics win the NBA draft lottery?

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What happens to Isaiah Thomas if the Celtics win the NBA draft lottery?

Post by bobheckler on Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:01 pm

http://www.sbnation.com/2017/3/30/15120940/isaiah-thomas-future-boston-celtics-nba-draft-lottery-2017



What happens to Isaiah Thomas if the Celtics win the NBA draft lottery?



Markelle Fultz, a point guard, is the best prospect. If the Celtics land him, how will Isaiah Thomas react?



by Tom Ziller@teamziller  


Mar 30, 2017, 11:01am EDT




Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images




The Boston Celtics, despite contending for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, have the best odds of winning the 2017 NBA draft lottery. Thanks to an infamous trade with the Nets four years ago, the Celtics have the right to swap picks with Brooklyn this year. The Brooklyn pick is guaranteed to be in the top four due to the structure of the lottery. The Boston pick will be around No. 27 or No. 28.

The swap is going to happen. It’s just a matter of determining how high a pick Boston will end up receiving. The Celtics will have a 25 percent chance of picking No. 1, a 21 percent chance of picking No. 2, an 18 percent of picking No. 3, and a 36 percent chance of picking No. 4.

Markelle Fultz — a point guard — is the consensus No. 1 overall pick at the moment as he’s been there for much of the past year. None of his rivals for the top spot made the Final Four. As scouts go back and look at his season in Seattle again, odds are a consensus builds around him before the lottery on May 16.


Fultz is seen as a franchise cornerstone, the type of point guard you expect to some day give a max contract and pencil in as one of your All-Stars as you’re competing for championships. He’s a John Wall, a Kyrie Irving. He might be better, but we need to see him in the NBA to know. You don’t pass him up because you have an All-Star point guard. You don’t pass up prospects like Fultz.

The Celtics, meanwhile, have an All-Star point guard named Isaiah Thomas.
He might make an All-NBA team and he’s probably going to be on a couple of MVP ballots. He’s also on the best contract in the NBA (non-rookie edition) and will be a free agent in 2018. Thomas is known for having a massive chip on his shoulder due to being told repeatedly he, at 5’8, doesn’t belong in the NBA.

What if Boston wins the No. 1 pick? What if it becomes clear in May that Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, will pick Fultz in June? What does that do to Isaiah amid the Celtics’ playoff run?

Perhaps nothing. Thomas is incredibly confident, and he performs well when challenged. Boston loves him. Brad Stevens has an amazing rapport with his players and should be able to keep the team focused on what could be a trip to the conference finals.

There’s also the matter of the Washington Huskies: Isaiah played there under Lorenzo Romar and maintains strong connections to the program. Fultz was Romar’s last big Huskie star before the coach was fired earlier this month.

It’s still weird. It still has to be unsettling.

And it could get even more weird and unsettling heading into a summer where Thomas should reasonably expect to be talking contract extension. Boston can use its cap space to pay and extend Thomas, but the Celtics are also chasing free agents or unbalanced trades for stars. That cap space is precious.

Imagine, then, that you are Isaiah Thomas. You are an NBA All-Star making $6 million, which is $20 million less than another NBA All-Star guard in the East, DeMar DeRozan. You are the best player on one of the two best teams in the East. You have become a hero in a basketball town who worships legitimate legends.


Imagine you are all that, and your team drafts another point guard No. 1 overall and withholds a big pay raise to go get another big-name player who will make at least three times your salary.

Isaiah Thomas is only human. That’s going to bug him.

It’s going to bug him if the Celtics are ejected from the NBA playoffs by the Cavaliers or Wizards and the resulting talk is all about how you can’t make the NBA Finals if Isaiah Thomas is your best player. (Those takes pretty much write themselves.)

It’s going to bug him when July comes and the headlines are about Boston chasing this free agent or that, when the headlines are about Fultz dominating Summer League. It’s going to bug him when every question on media day next fall is about whether he can play with Fultz, whether he feels disrespected by the draft choice or the lack of an extension, and whether he plans to re-sign with Boston in 2018.

It’s going to bug him to realize he’s the sixth-highest paid player on the Celtics. This stuff would bug anyone, but especially a guy who has been fighting to prove himself his entire adult life.

The Celtics could have the East's top seed AND the 1st overall pick

This is all a thought experiment, of course. The issue is avoided if the Celtics don’t win the No. 1 pick — there’s a 75 percent probability they will not — because Boston would then line up to take a wing like Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, or Jonathan Isaac. (Something tells me Danny Ainge isn’t enamored with Lonzo Ball.)

The issue could also be avoided if the Celtics decide to part with the pick to swing a deal for Jimmy Butler or Paul George, which is one of the directions Boston could go if they disappoint in the playoffs. (You could see an early exit go one of two ways: The Celtics decide an Isaiah-led team is too flawed so they rebuild younger, or the Celtics decide they need more star power now and trade away youth.)

But if the Celtics do win the No. 1 pick — and no team will have a better shot than them — what happens with Isaiah Thomas’s psyche and future is an incredible subplot to watch.


bob
MY NOTE:  In my opinion, and with much respect to The Bard, much ado about nothing here.  Who says Fultz has to start?  Jaylen Brown was the #3 player in the draft, is he starting?  Only when there are injuries.  Kevin McHale was the #3 pick, did he start in his rookie year?  I think a more reasonable question might be what happens with Bradley and/or Rozier.  There is a lot of redundancy in their games, Rozier's inability to shoot with an acceptable fg% is the biggest factor that is NOT making Bradley expendable.  Wouldn't it make more sense for Danny to move one or both of them to make room for Fultz?

"Isaiah Thomas is only human. That’s going to bug him."  If I can read IT at all the only effect drafting Fultz will have will be to make him put even more time in the gym, and that's a good thing.  He lives with a constant chip on his shoulder and Danny drafting a replacement will NOT make him curl up into a fetal ball or rant about any of that.  IF/WHEN it gets to the point where Fultz should start and IT should come off the bench, like what happened with Bradley and Ray Allen (although Ray Allen was 36 years old when that happened) then Trader Danny will deal with it just like he dealt with had to be done when he realized he could no longer back fill behind Pierce and KG and when he was confronted with Rondo wanting to be courted by every team in the league.

Did Bradley freak out when Danny drafted Rozier?  Or Smart? Does he think that Bradley is more confident in his abilities than IT? Just 4 days ago we saw IT take a layup right to Hassan Whiteside's chest and shoot it over his outstretched arms. NOBODY is more confident in his abilities than IT.

Finally, as we saw with the Jaylen Brown pick, Danny is not one to just go along with the herd. Even if we have the #1 pick and decide to keep it there is NO guarantee that consensus #1 pick Markelle Fultz will be the one in green next year.

The author described this as "a thought experiment".  I like that.  I'm a big fan of experimenting with thoughts.  Keep at it until you come up with one.



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bobheckler

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Re: What happens to Isaiah Thomas if the Celtics win the NBA draft lottery?

Post by mulcogiseng on Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:15 pm

I'm more concerned about whether or not this clown will ever get anything published again. This was pure tripe. He's like some of those tv shows that start with an interesting concept, then put all their marbles on some stupid outlandish non scientific theory, and then run with it. into the ground...all told, worth about a penny and a half.
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Re: What happens to Isaiah Thomas if the Celtics win the NBA draft lottery?

Post by NYCelt on Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:53 pm

What happens to Isaiah Thomas if the Celtics pick first?

He plays point guard for the Celtics.
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Re: What happens to Isaiah Thomas if the Celtics win the NBA draft lottery?

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