No, Danny Ainge’s Legacy Isn’t on the Line After Passing on Markelle Fultz


The Vertical’s Chris Mannix opined over the weekend that Danny Ainge‘s decision to trade the first overall pick, widely presumed to be Markelle Fultz, to Philadelphia puts the Celtics’ GM’s legacy on the line. Mannix is under the impression that Fultz is as close to a can’t-miss prospect as there is:

And yet – few think so. NBA executives seem sold on Fultz. “Flat-out stud,” one exec texted late Friday, when news first broke of Boston’s interest in trading the pick. “Transformative player,” texted another. The Vertical Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks – a longtime executive with the Nets – tweeted there was a “clear separation” between the first and third picks. DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony tweeted that there is a “big downgrade” going from first to third.

Mannix is not sold on Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum, and writes that Ainge has put all the “goodwill” he’s garnered in New England from assembling a title team and presiding over a rebuild “on the table” with the decision to forgo Fultz. He concludes:

Legacies are defined by deals like this. Ainge’s will be, too. His executive career is now intertwined with Fultz’s playing one, forever linked. The gambling executive just placed his biggest bet, against a player few around the league would bet against.

With all due respect to Mannix, who has roots in New England, it is farfetched to suggest that this move alone could come back to bite Ainge so hard that it define his whole executive legacy.

For one, Mannix neglected to note that sore knees kept Fultz out of six of Washington’s final eight games last year, and that he shot under 65% on his free throws. Furthermore, for Fultz to play a direct role in halting the Celtics’ advancement …read more

Source:: The Big Lead

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