Why Do Celtics Have 3 First Round NBA Draft Picks?

Getty Romeo Langford #0 of the Indiana Hoosiers prepares to shoot a free throw against the Purdue Boilermakers.

For a team that made the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Boston Celtics sure loaded up on first-round draft picks. They decided to go with Indiana guard Romeo Langford with the No. 14 one Thursday night.

The Hoosier averaged 16.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. However, he also was inefficient, shooting 27.2 percent from 3-point land. He missed several games due to injury last season.

After Langford, Boston gets selections at No. 20 and No. 22. How did such a strong team end up with so many options in the opening round? Let’s explain, plus take a stab at who the other picks will be.

Why the Celtics Have 3 First Round Picks

The No. 14 pick is the product of the trade with Philadelphia in 2017. According to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, Boston traded away the No. 1 pick to the 76ers in exchange for what ended up being the No. 14 one. It depended on how the Lakers did, as well.

Boston gets the No. 3 pick in Thursday’s draft from Philadelphia, plus either a first-rounder in 2018 and 2019. If the Los Angeles Lakers hold a pick between No. 2 and No. 5 next season, Boston gets that one. If not, Philadelphia will send Boston either its own first-rounder in 2019 or Sacramento’s first-rounder that year.

That No. 1 pick in 2017 ended up being Markelle Fultz, who has struggled to stay healthy throughout his NBA career. Since the Lakers earned the No. 10 pick in 2018, that pick reverted to Boston for 2019.

Sacramento performed too well to be in the lottery last season with a 39-43 mark.

The No. 20 pick is the product of a trade with the Clippers in 2016. It involved the Memphis Grizzlies, as well, writes Kevin O’Connor of NBC Sports Boston.

The Celtics traded picks No. 31 (Deyonta Davis) and 35 in the second round to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for a future protected first-round pick from the Clippers.

The Clippers pick is protected in the lottery (picks 1-14) in 2019 and 2020. If it’s not conveyed after 2020, then the Celtics will instead a receive 2022 second-round pick.

With Doc Rivers leading Los Angeles to the Western Conference playoffs last season, the pick reverted to Boston. The Celtics get the No. 22 selection after making the playoffs last year, so they were not eligible for the lottery.

What Will Boston Do with Picks No. 20 & No. 22?

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With Kyrie Irving and Al Horford more than likely out the door, Danny Ainge needs to boost shooting on the perimeter and size on the interior. Purdue’s Carsen Edwards would address the first concern.

The 6-footer is the best available point guard on ESPN’s Big Board. He can be automatic from 3-point land, which he demonstrated in the NCAA Tournament with a pair of 42-point explosions versus Villanova and Virginia.

Overall, he averaged 24.3 points. If he gets paired with a ball-handling guard, he can focus on providing instant offense.

On the inside, Bol Bol would be an interesting option. He shot 52 percent from three in limited action with Oregon, and his 7-foot-2 frame will disrupt shooters just like his father Manute did in the 1990s. He would replace Horford’s versatility on the perimeter, while he needs to add muscle to battle with bigs inside.

Between Edwards and Bol, Boston would get an infusion of scoring on the cheap.