CelticsBlog MailBag - NBA Draft Combine Edition Part 2

Joe Robbins

The NBA Draft Combine begin today in Chicago, so we're going to discuss a number of topics in the second part of our draft edition of the CelticsBlog mailbag. A few highlights will include Noah Vonleh's potential fit with the Celtics, draft needs, worst-case scenarios, and how the combine can change a player's draft stock.

Thank you all for your questions. The next set of questions will be posted on Thursday. I'm not sure if I'll have time for another one this week, but if you'd like to submit some more questions, click here to do so. Or, as always, tweet me @KevinOConnorNBA or comment below.

Here's part two of a three (or four) part series of CelticsBlog's NBA Draft Combine edition of the mailbag:

Q: Will the Celtics prioritize talent over need in this coming draft? Or both since they have two picks this year? -- celtic86

A: I think you should always prioritize talent. Now, within that scope, you will sometimes rank players based on team need. So, if Center X is ranked a 7, and Forward Y is ranked a 7, and your team needs a forward, you're obviously going to rank the forward ahead of the center, even if they are equal players. Or, even if the center is slightly better, the forward might get the edge. But if someone an 8 slips down to your spot, I think you've got to take them. At least that's my philosophy.

Q: Given that Vonleh has a very high ceiling, and may be one of the two or three best players available when the Celtics make their selection, do you think he is a viable selection given the current roster? Particularly, do you think he has the potential to play center for us, given the length of his arms and his current size/strength? - Jeff D, nivron, Bigbrotheryeti

A: I'd like to see Vonleh improve his skills on the low post, but he is certainly talented enough as a rebounding center. The question is his ability to score inside and defend. At Indiana, he was very inconsistent defensively and his post skills are underdeveloped. Right now, he plays like a stretch power forward. With that said, the potential is there for him to play center at some point in his career. I'm just not sure if the Celtics will want to wait for that time to come when they want to compete next season.

Q: What do teams appreciate the most out of a prospect: work ethic, athleticism, skill set, etc? -- athleticMachine

A: Teams look at everything, and I mean everything. Just this weekend, no NFL team signed Vic Hampton, Colt Lyerla, Loucheiz Purifoy, or Marcus Roberson, and all of them had the athleticism and skillset to be drafted, but they were lacking on the personality side of things. Everything is important.

Q: If the Celtics get the 1st pick, will the Celtics select Joel Embiid? Is Embiid the best fit for the celtics? -- Manlok6182006

A: Yes, it'd be surprising to me if they didn't pick Joel Embiid. He's one player that could work as both a rim protector and a go-to scorer. I don't think he'll be the "top scorer" on a team, but he could certainly be the second. And of course, I've praised his defense for months now because he has special potential on that end.

Q: Do you see anybody jumping up on the boards after the combine? If so who? -- cburns6895

A: It's hard to see anyone really jumping up the boards just because of the NBA Combine, but I suppose it could raise the interest in certain players. For example, Clemson wing K.J. McDaniels is a player that I'm very high on. I have him ranked as a borderline top 10 prospect even though most sites have him in the 20s. The main concerns I have with him are his high dribble and his inconsistent shooting. Now, just his morning, DraftExpress released a video of him training for the combine. From what I can see in the limited clips is a player that looks like is working to improve his dribble (tightening and speeding it up), and his pull up jumper. If he shows mild improvement this week, he might draw more interest from teams, but his stock won't really see a true bump until workouts begin.

Q: With the worst case pick for Celtics...who do you think Danny will take? - SHAQATTACK

A: Worst case as in 8th pick, I think it'll be Noah Vonleh. Worst case as in my nightmare scenario, probably Julius Randle.

Q: If the Celtics get the 6th pick, do you think Danny Ainge is gonna trade that pick along with the 17th for a top 3 pick? -- bob

A: I don't think that's possible. Any team that gets a top 3 pick will keep it unless they're offered something outrageous.

Q: I keep seeing all sorts of different ideas for whom the Celtics could draft (assuming they don't trade their pick), but very seldom do I see anyone bringing up Cleanthony Early. I think he would be a great fit for us at SF with his improved outside stroke, willingness to exploit mismatches inside, and his physical tools. How do you see him as a potential draft pick, and as a potential member of the Celtics? -- Bigbrotheryeti

A: I like Cleanthony Early but I definitely don't like him enough at the 17th pick, I currently have him ranked 36th on my board. That isn't a knock on Early; I just think a lot of other players ahead of him have more upside. He could certainly pan out to be a quality player, but if I'm the Celtics, I draft a guy that fills an immediate void for them with the 17th pick. Early is a tweener forward and they've got enough true power forwards on the roster, and what they need is a true wing scorer.

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