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Chad Ford: Celtics prefer 4 prospects past the top 4

He projects Aaron Gordon as the favorite.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

During his chat, Chad Ford shared his thoughts on the Celtics preferences heading into the draft.

Chat: Chat with Chad Ford - SportsNation - ESPN

Ainge went from hating the draft to loving it overnight LOL. If the Top 4 are all off the board (and by the way the Celtics are adamant that there isn't as much separation between the top 4 guys and the next 4 guys as we and others have suggested) then it's Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh and Julius Randle in some order. They also like Tyler Ennis and Gary Harris a lot too. Based on everything I've been able to gather all year, I'd say Gordon is probably the favorite though I know Smart has really grown on them and Ainge's son played against Vonleh in high school which gave Ainge a few extra scouting looks at him as well. But if I was going to pick one guy right now, I think it's Gordon.

It really isn't much of a stretch to take the next 4 guys on most mock drafts and say that is who the Celtics prefer.  With that said, Ford has historically been very plugged in with GMs around the league, including with Ainge.  So this is probably the list "in some order."

  • Aaron Gordon
  • Marcus Smart
  • Noah Vonleh
  • Julius Randle

Obviously the order is critical since only one of these guys is likely to be off the board when they pick.  Ford says he "thinks" Gordon is at the top of their list but that could be based on anything from the twinkle in Danny's eye to Gary Tanguay's gut.  Take it for what it is worth.

It is interesting that Dario Saric and Doug McDermott are absent from this list.  Read into that what you will.

I would say that we can rule out Ennis and Harris with the 6th pick, but either one could potentially be there with the 17th pick.  So file away that information for later.

How would you rank the Next Four? (a name that I just invented for the 4 players listed above)

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