This has been one of the most interesting NBA offseasons in recent memory. I think we’ve seen the end of the more exciting news, but teams are still adding pieces that will improve their teams for next year. Like the Nets, they traded for De’Angelo Russell, Timofey Mozgov, and DeMarre Carroll this offseason. They still have ways to go, but I think they are automatically a few wins better than last year, especially with the Eastern Conference being depleted of its All-Stars. The Lakers just signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a one-year deal, they are meeting with Rajon Rondo, and they traded for Brook Lopez. They are still in the West, but they definitely will be better than last year. The Sacremento Kings also made some moves, signing veteran players like George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter to deals so they can mentor their younger guys. What do all of these teams have in common?
Here is a list of the first-round picks Danny Ainge has locked up in his war chest right now. He holds one selection from each of these teams over the next two years. If I were Ainge and had intentions of moving any of these picks, I would be pretty damn scared right now. I feel like opposing GM’s hate Danny Ainge and his lust for picks (maybe that’s why he can’t close a deal for a superstar). Imagine being one of those GM’s, knowing Ainge has your pick, and that his fate is in your hands? This must be a dream come true. The Nets, Lakers, and Kings all know they aren’t winning a championship anytime soon. So why not sign a bunch of guys to bad contracts who will make you just good enough to be a fringe playoff team or right at the end of the lottery? I would do the same thing if I were in their shoes.
These three picks are arguably Ainge’s most valuable assets. As a C’s fan, watching the Nets, Lakers, and Kings add somewhat significant players scares the shit out of me. He’s going catch all sorts of criticism for overvaluing his picks if these teams don’t finish at least top five in the lottery.
Written By: Nick Cherico (@NickCherico2)