Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Why the Celtics Shouldn't Pick Markelle Fultz With the Number One Pick

            Just to clarify to all my readers, the Brooklyn Nets don't have the No.1 pick in this summer's NBA draft (My apologies for my mistake). For some reason, they gave away their first round pick and other picks and stuff to the Boston Celtics for some aging superstars. What this means is that Boston is in great position to compete in the Eastern Conference for years to come while the Nets are set to wallow in mediocrity for years to come. 'Smart' move, Brooklyn.
            Anyways, the Celtics are projected by many to pick Washington point guard Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 overall pick, which isn't a bad idea. After all, analysts are saying that Fultz is the best player in the draft and rightfully so. He makes his teammates better and has solid ball-handling and court vision. Fultz averaged 23.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 5.9 APG, and a three-point percentage of 41.3. However, I have a couple reasons why the Celtics should pass on taking Fultz with the No. 1 pick.
            For starters, they already have a great point guard in Isaiah Thomas. Thomas is a great leader for the Celtics and is already looking to prove himself as being the Celtics' version of Kobe Bryant. If this postseason is any indication, Thomas looks to be a franchise cornerstone for years to come. Yes, Thomas is undersized. But Boston already has their star point guard in Isaiah.
            There are some issues with Fultz's game as well. One gripe about Fultz is his lack of defensive focus. Granted, that was on a nine-win college team. But Fultz is chided for not having the mentality and intensity necessary to be consistent on defense. He's often criticized for being intense enough on the defensive end as well, so that could be an issue. Still, that same team had little offensive spacing, so that raises Fultz's already-high profile on offense. Another concern regarding Fultz is his free-throw shooting, which was a paltry 65% as a freshman. This suggests that he may be prone to being streaky. There's also some concern about Fultz maintaining his efficiency against better players, with his efficiency nosediving playing against top programs.
            So who would the Celtics go after in the draft? One option is Malik Monk from Kentucky. Like Fultz, he has great offensive efficiency as a jump shooter and can score a handful of points in a hurry. He also has ridiculous leaping ability and is athletic. However, he is prone to droughts when opponents take away his post-up opportunities. He is also undersized for a shooting guard and tends to not play with much intensity like Fultz. Another option is the No. 1 pick in CBS Sports's mock draft, Jayson Tatum of Duke. Tatum can score on any level given and is compared to Ron Artest during his good days. Boston could also trade the pick if they wanted to win now for an established superstar like Blake Griffin or, as the mock draft for CBS Sports would suggest, Jimmy Butler.
            Still, Fultz is a dynamic offensive weapon who could be a perennial All-Star as an offensive player. He could turn out to be a James Harden-like player: able to rack up points and be the center piece of an NBA offense. After all, this is a deep draft regarding point guards. Will the Celtics pick him with the first pick? Most likely. But a No. 1 overall pick isn't a guaranteed success (See Anthony Bennett). It'll be up to the Celtics to make the most of a golden opportunity in the NBA draft.

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