Boston Celtics Right to Consider Packaging First-Round Picks to Move Up?

Nick FarnsworthAnalyst IJune 13, 2012

Danny Ainge isn't afraid to make moves for a possible advantage
Danny Ainge isn't afraid to make moves for a possible advantageElsa/Getty Images

The NBA Draft is just around the corner and the Celtics are in dire need of some young talent that can make an immediate impact on the team's production.

According to Sam Amico of, the Celtics may be considering packaging their two first-round picks in order to move up and select a player of higher talent. There are a few factors to consider in determining whether such a potential move would be a wise decision for the Boston Celtics. 

The Boston Celtics currently hold the No. 21 pick and No. 22 pick in the NBA draft, which would allow them to add two players with potential to be successful in the league at some point in their careers.

However, by packaging the two picks, they may be able to move up to the mid-teens, providing a player that would have more talent and an immediate impact on the team's success in the upcoming season. 

The Celtics would probably be able to package both picks to attain a player between the No. 13 and No. 16 selections in the upcoming draft. A look at the statistical breakdown of the data available for the historical performances of individual picks in the NBA draft from 1989-2008 provides a clearer view of the consequences this trade would have on the Celtics' chances of landing a valuable player. 

Historically, 10% of the No. 21 picks and none of the No. 22 picks have become Stars in the NBA, while 40% of the No. 21 Picks and 20% of the No. 22 picks have become Solid Starters in the league.

The No. 21 and No. 22 picks have yielded role players similarly at 20% and 15% respectively. The risk of drafting this low can be seen in data, as 15% of No. 21 picks and 65% of No. 22 picks become Deep Bench players, while 15% of No. 21 picks turn out to be busts. 

In trading up, on average, the Celtics would increase their odds to 15% of drafting a star, while keeping the chances of bringing in a solid player and role player fairly equal at 24% and 25% respectively. The risk is almost equivalent as 21% of picks in the range they could land become deep bench players, while 15% wind up being busts. 

Overall, it appears that, statistically speaking, the trade would not be a huge upgrade over the No. 21 pick the Celtics have, unless they reach the higher limits by landing the 13th or 14th pick. Ignoring the idea of drafting for need, it would be hard to recommend this deal, as the Celtics would be sacrificing another player in the draft for only a slight increase in their chancea to land a star. 

However, the Boston Celtics are very unlikely to have both of the rookies drafted find their way into the rotation, and they are in desperate need of immediate help at the 4 and 5 spot.

The NBA draft would leave the Celtics with very few strong big man choices in the current spots they hold, but in the range of pick No. 13 to No. 16, the C's could find players that could contribute right away.

Therefore, the Celtics would probably get themselves in a better position by moving up in the draft in order to get a more talented big, save on cap space, and avoid a roster spot being taken by a first-round pick they are unlikely to utilize. 

The trade becomes all the more attractive if they are capable of trading the two picks for one of the higher picks in the range in order to land a big man like Tyler Zeller or Arnett Moultrie that may be able to find their way into the lineup and contribute immediately.

Furthermore, they could be hoping that the closer they get to the No. 13 pick, the more likely it will be that Jared Sullinger or Perry Jones III may somehow slip down to their draft position.

For these reasons, it seems the best move may actually be to move up in this year's draft by packaging the two picks and hoping they can luck out in drafting a valuable big man that could pay dividends immediately.