The NBA season is officially two months old and the Sacramento Kings look like a playoff team. That's one sentence NBA observers would have been shocked to read ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.
Over the past decade, Danny Ainge and the Celtics' front office have played their cards wisely when it comes to the future of their draft assets. They held onto them nearly all of them over the course of the rebuild, cashing them in for such players as JaysonTatum and JaylenBrown before wisely selling high on the final Brooklyn unprotected first round pick in 2018 as the centerpiece of a trade package for Kyrie Irving. The Cavs probably thought they were getting much higher than the No. 8 pick when they made that deal.
Boston's front office has maintained that patient philosophy over the past offseason upon completing the rebuild as well, standing pat this summer with a cupboard full of draft picks, highlighted by the Kings/Sixers top-1 protected first round pick. That selection was widely seen across the league as one of the top draft assets owned by a different team. In a stacked Western Conference, the Kings looked like a lock for a bottom-five finish, which would have allowed the C's to add a top prospect to their already loaded young core next summer or use it a trade chip.
Yet, as the 30-game mark of the regular season approaches, it's not yet clear whether the Kings pick will even be the highest draft pick the Celtics own in the 2019 NBA Draft.