The Boston Celtics are no longer on the clock.
In Danny Ainge’s never-ending quest to acquire all of the picks, he will send the No. 1 pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the No. 3 selection and another future asset. Adrian Wojnarowski, as he is wont to do, has the details:
So, Markelle Fultz is definitely on his way to Philly, and Lavar Ball seems intent on “Eli Manning-ing” Lonzo to the Los Angeles Lakers. That leaves the C’s likely to take Kansas small forward Josh Jackson, someone they were reportedly considering at No. 1.
There are still plenty of different ways this can go, but Boston adding Jackson seems like the most likely case. Here’s what the depth chart would look like if it happens:
PG: Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart
SG: Avery Bradley, Terry Rozier, Gerald Green
SF: Jae Crowder, Josh Jackson, Jaylen Brown, James Young
PF: Jordan Mickey
C: Al Horford, Tyler Zeller
Free Agents: Kelly Olynyk (RFA), Amir Johnson, James Young, Jonas Jerebko, Gerald Green
Alright, so first of all, Jordan Mickey is not this team’s starting power forward. He’s just the only one on the roster, as it stands now, who is technically a PF and isn’t an impending free agent.
While free agency and potentially more trades will certainly change things, we’re looking at how things are right now. And with this particular roster, we would likely see a lot of lineups with two of Crowder, Jackson and Brown at the forward positions. Crowder and Brown played a total of 498 minutes together last year and had an average net rating of plus-6.1. Of duos that played at least 400 minutes, that was the team’s 12th-most efficient.
Jackson, much like Crowder, is someone who can impact the floor on both ends. His blend of size (6-foot-8), freakish athleticism and basketball IQ makes him a potentially elite defender.
If you’re going to be successful in the days of space-and-pace NBA, you need to be able to defend the perimeter. And lineups consisting of Bradley, Crowder and Jackson should be able to do that just about as well as anyone in the NBA.
Offensively, Jackson won’t be asked to do much right off the bat, which is good for his progression. What will be key for him as a rookie is shooting the ball. He should see plenty of open looks with Thomas running the offense, and while shooting has been the biggest concern for him, he knocked down a scorching 48.1 percent from three over his last 17 games at Kansas.
Ultimately, if the C’s draft Jackson, they’re adding another athletic 3-and-D guy to a roster already dripping with wing talent.
A power-forward overhaul in free agency is still a necessity, but there’s no question Boston is narrowing the gap with Cleveland in East.
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