Since Danny Ainge’s famous blockbuster trade with the Nets in 2013, the Celtics have made 27 draft picks over seven years. That equates to about four picks per draft.
Under Ainge, the Celtics made countless roster moves in order to gain more draft capital. In recent years, rarely have they traded picks away, because they like finding young talent and growing through the draft. However, that cushion of picks they had is now gone, and the C’s sent even more away in Friday’s Kemba Walker trade.
Along with Walker, Boston sent the 16th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and a second-round pick in 2025 for Al Horford, Moses Brown, and a 2023 second-round selection. Sure, the Celtics got an injury prone Walker off their books, but they had to jettison their top draft pick in order to do it.
You could say, “Well, they essentially drafted Moses Brown with the 16th pick,” and while he has some upside, he’s not a top-20 draft pick, not even in 2021. Brown originally went undrafted in 2019.
Now, the Celtics only have one pick in the second round of the upcoming 2021 draft, and the future is pretty bare. Boston made a couple of swaps with Charlotte, but in general, they really only have their own picks remaining.
Here’s a rundown of the Celtics’ own draft picks over the next seven years…
2021: 0 First Round, 1 Second Round
2022: 1 First Round, 2 Second Round
2023: 1 First Round, 1 Second Round
2024: 1 First Round, 0 Second Round
2025: 1 First Round, 0 Second Round
2026: 1 First Round, 1 Second Round
2027: 1 First Round, 0 Second Round
That’s it. The Celtics made 27 picks in the previous seven drafts, but only have 11 selections in the next seven.
That comfort zone the Celtics have been in for a while, always knowing they have draft picks to fall back on, is now gone. Brad Stevens has plenty on his plate as the new President of Basketball Operations, but this shouldn’t be ignored. Draft capital can be useful in many ways, but only if you have it in the first place.