NBA Notebook: What can Celtics learn from 2019 draft night trades?

(Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The 2020 NBA Draft is less than three weeks away and the Celtics are expected to be one of the busiest teams in the league on draft night with more first-round picks (three) than any other franchise. One of the more popular questions we have received here at BSJ is what type of trades will be available for Boston to make at draft night with their surplus of selections, whether it's moving up, moving down or moving out of a draft for a future selection or veteran. We've already explored some potential trading partners in the present for Boston, but to get a better sense of what type of deals and value might be on the table on November 18th, let's take a second look at notable draft deals from 2019 (one of the busier nights in recent draft history) and what teams ended up helping or hurting themselves from specific moves.

Hawks trade No. 8 (Jaxson Hayes), No. 17 (Nickel Alexander-Walker), No. 35 (Marcos Louzada Silva) to the Pelicans for No. 4 (DeAndre Hunter), No. 57 (Jordan Bone) and Solomon Hill

Analysis: Atlanta had a better stash of picks to offer last year to get them up to No. 4 overall but this is the kind of deal that the Celtics could try to pull off with all three of their first-round picks to get up into the No. 7-10 range in 2020. Hunter looks like the best player of the bunch at No. 4 as a wing that showed solid promise on a very young Hawks team. Hayes was a dynamic rim-runner for the Pelicans after year one but he has a long way to go on the defensive end. The same goes for Alexander-Walker, who really struggled with his shooting (36.8 percent) in year one as well. Silva was a draft-and-stash so the jury is still out on him for another year or two. Hunter didn’t look to have a ton of upside offensively but this is certainly not a deal the Hawks are regretting after a full season.

Winner one year later: Hawks but too early to tell for the long-term

Suns trade No. 6 (Jarrett Culver) to the Timberwolves for No. 11 (Cam Johnson) and Dario Saric

Analysis: This was a swap that was largely panned for Minnesota on draft day, especially after they took a sharpshooter (Johnson) at No. 11 that wasn’t projected to be taken until far later in the first round by most draft analysts. However, Johnson looked like a far better player than Culver in year one, providing a reliable 3-point shooting stroke (39 percent) off of the Suns' bench, which helped to lead to a bigger role during the Suns undefeated run in the Orlando bubble. On top of that, Phoenix got a starter-level player in Saric on the final year of his rookie deal who fit in nicely in the desert as a secondary scorer. Meanwhile, Culver’s rookie season in Minnesota was nothing short of a disaster. He shot under 30 percent from 3 and an ugly 46(!) percent from the FT line, which already makes him look like an overpaid player in the second year of his rookie deal. At age 21, Culver still has plenty of time to grow but the Suns clearly got the better bang for their buck in this deal.

Winner one year later: Suns

Suns trade T.J. Warren and No. 32 (KZ Okpala) to the Pacers for cash

Analysis: This was a surprising salary dump by Phoenix that opened up roughly $12 million of additional cap space that largely went to Ricky Rubio. Warren’s deal wasn’t necessarily viewed as a bad contract when it was moved and that’s certainly not the case after the 2019-20 season when he averaged a career-high 19.8 ppg while shooting 40.3 percent from 3-point range. He still is largely a one-way player, but the fact that the Pacers got an extra draft pick for taking him on makes this an easy win for the franchise. It also speaks to the challenge of getting rid of a mid-sized long-term contract, even if it’s for a decent player. There will be plenty of teams looking to dump salary for next season at the draft (including the Celtics) to get rid of a few unneeded contracts and only a handful of teams that could serve as dumping grounds. If this price was any indication, it’s going to be expensive for teams to do so with subpar players.

Winner one year later: Pacers

Celtics trade No. 20 (Matisse Thybulle) to the 76ers for No. 24 (Ty Jerome) and No. 33 (Carsen Edwards)

Analysis: It’s hard to fully analyze this trade just yet given the No. 24 overall selection was dealt again by the Celtics on draft night for a 2020 first-round selection (see: next trade). However, there’s no denying that Edwards struggled mightily in year one with the lowest shooting percentage in his draft class for any rookie that played over 150 minutes. Meanwhile, Thybulle was a useful player for the Sixers almost immediately out of the gate as a defensive-minded wing that could knock down 3s (35.7 percent) at a better clip than most expected. His offensive limitations became more glaring in the postseason, but his long-term projection as a defensive weapon makes him worth the price paid for the Sixers in this swap.

Winner one year later: Sixers

Celtics trade No. 24 (Ty Jerome) and Aron Baynes to the Suns for the Bucks’ 2020 first round pick (No. 30)

Analysis: This trade was influenced by a desire to open up max salary cap room for Kemba Walker from Boston’s standpoint