Boston Celtics turn slow draft period in multiple post draft trades

Head coach Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Head coach Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

The NBA Draft is typically one of the most exciting times of the NBA offseason, as teams look to restock their depth charts with the next wave of talent. That wasn’t the case for the Boston Celtics this offseason however.

After sending their first round pick, which was the 16th overall, to the the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the Kemba Walker deal, Boston found themselves with only the 45th pick in the draft. While it isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering the amount of first round picks Boston has recently put to use over the past couple of seasons, it was always exciting to see who could come in and help out next season from the draft.

Instead, Boston used their only pick on Juhann Begarin, a French guard who is likely going to be stashed overseas for the foreseeable future. While it always wasn’t going to be the flashiest pick, Begarin is just 18, and has a ton of upside that could be reached in the future.

Rather than do anything during the draft, new general manager Brad Stevens decided to wait until after the draft was over to start making some moves. With free agency set to kick off next week, Stevens made a couple of moves to clear out some cap space, and put Boston’s numerous trade exceptions to use.

Brad Stevens is working on fixing the Boston Celtics

The rumblings that the C’s were looking to make a move during the draft turned into actuality last night when Stevens quickly reeled off two smaller, but important deals. The first was a three team deal that sent Tristan Thompson to the Sacramento Kings, Delon Wright to the Atlanta Hawks, and Kris Dunn and a 2023 second round pick to the Celtics.

Dunn has failed to live up to his potential so far, as the fifth overall pick in the 2016 Draft will already be heading to his fourth team. Dunn missed almost all of last season before returning right before the Hawks unexpected playoff run, but he didn’t factor much into the Hawks success. Dunn obviously has some untapped potential offensively, but he has relied on his solid defense to keep him in his previous teams rotations.

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On the other hand, unloading Thompson continued Boston’s work at creating some much needed cap space. Thompson failed to live up to his billing after signing with Boston last offseason, and after Al Horford was brought back into the fold, there just wasn’t any room to keep Thompson and his hefty salary around anymore.

Before Boston Celtics fans could realize what happened, Stevens quickly made another trade, this time snagging Josh Richardson away from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Moses Brown. Richardson’s salary fit right under the remaining part of the Gordon Hayward trade exception, allowing him to sneak onto the roster.

Richardson is unique in the sense that he plays like Marcus Smart, but fills the same position as Celtics free agent Evan Fournier. His presence on the roster increases the chances that neither of them will be on the Celtics roster by the start of the season, especially Fournier since he’s a free agent.

Richardson is a guy who would ideally by a three-and-d player, except he doesn’t shoot the three ball nearly well enough to fit that billing. After shooting a relatively solid 38 percent from three during the 2018-19 season with the Miami Heat, Richardson has regressed each season since, to the point where his percentage sat at just 33 this past season with the Mavs.

Despite his woes from three, Richardson is a solid scorer who will typically find a way to chip in around 10 points on a nightly basis. Not only that, but he plays a tough brand of defense, and his length on the defensive end will be a welcome sight to a Boston team that felt undersized at the guard position last season.

There have been some who have suggested Richardson may be given an opportunity to be the primary ballhandler for the C’s offense, which could be justified based on his solid 2018-19 season. Richardson struggled in off ball roles last season with Dallas, so maybe he could be a potential plug in at the position this upcoming season. Ultimately it’s more likely Boston finds a true point guard at some point over the next couple of weeks, but Richardson could be the go to guy on the second unit.

Some fans have clamored at Stevens for sending Brown to Dallas in this deal, especially considering he was just brought over from the Thunder last month in the Walker deal. But realistically, Brown already exists on this roster in the form of Rob Williams. Williams showed last season that when healthy, he has the potential to be a game changing center, and ultimately boxed Brown out of the roster.

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These two quick trades may seem rather insignificant, but it shows Stevens and the Boston Celtics front office is intent on fixing this team. Dunn and Richardson both help shore up the teams guard depth, and while they aren’t fantastic offensive players, they are solid defensively, which is just what Boston needs more of after last season.

Stevens was given a somewhat messy roster, but he has so far done a great job at creating some cap space while bringing in some potential contributors in the process. He’s building the foundation of the next Boston Celtics team, and while it may not look like much right now, that could be set to change once free agency kicks off next week.