Chad Ford posted his annual "tiers" column which is one of my favorite pre-draft preparation reads. He basically asks GMs to group the picks into tiers rather than a straight draft board which gives you a better feel for how the draft could shake out - not to mention an idea of the trade value of picks.
Obviously The Unibrow is number one and there's 4 other guys that round out the top 5. Then there's an additional 3 grouped in his Tier 3 and after that it gets really "flat." Meaning there's 10 guys that could go between 9 and 18.
To me, that speaks volumes about Danny's trade options. There's been rumors about the Celtics packaging our picks to move into the 15 to 17 range. I think if someone Danny really likes is there, he might consider it. But if there's really little difference between 9th pick and the 18th, then what's the point? There's a good chance that one of those guys could fall to you at 21 and you'll get two instead of one.
I'm participating in a mock draft where I was offered a trade of the 21, 22, and our 2nd rounder for the 10. My initial reaction was, "hey, that sounds like a steal since the C's were rumored to be looking in the late teens." But then I looked at the draft board and none of them really stood out to me. Unless Danny really wants to pair father with son and grab Austin Rivers, I'm not sure it would be worth it. Basically I'd rather roll the dice on two guys than use all our picks to take a guy that has a 10 pick swing in his value.
So if the Celtics keep the picks, they are looking at the following Tier 5 prospects (according to Ford's survey).
Tony Wroten Jr.
A few teams had Harkless, Melo and Moultrie in Tier 4, but not quite enough for them to make the cut. Wroten and Miller were borderline picks here. Both players dropped out of the top 30 on at least one NBA team's draft board.
He also notes elsewhere that Sullinger might land here as more GM's get a chance to look at his medical reports.
So you can see why guys like Harkless, Melo, Nicholson, and White keep showing up in mock drafts next to the C's picks. Also, if any of these guys goes before the 18th or 19th pick (some say Harkless could go way earlier than this), that means someone from the top tiers is falling down to our range. Something to watch on draft night.