The Boston Celtics were not participants in Tuesday night's lottery, but they've got to feel good about their two first round picks in the draft: 16 and 28. Looking back in draft history, the 16th pick (and its neighbor picks: 15 and 17) has produced some notable players. With the right fit and a little bit of luck, the Celtics can land a future franchise stud with their mid-first round selection.
15: Adreian Payne
16: Jusuf Nurkic
17: James Young
The Chicago Bulls drafted Nurkic and traded him draft night to the Nuggets with Gary Harris for Doug McDermott. Nurkic showed a lot of promise as a rim protector and interior scorer. He joined Marcus Smart on the All Rookie Second Team. Knowing that Boston can land a talent like Nurkic at this point in the draft is encouraging because Nurkic will have a bright future as an interior defender.
15: Giannis Antetokounmpo
16: Lucas Nogueira
17: Dennis Schroder
Nogueira hasn't had a notable career after his second season, but Giannis and Schroder have been two of the most exciting players in this draft class. Giannis is years away from reaching his apex, as is Schroder, but they are projected to be future stars, if not valuable secondary players.
15: Maurice Harkless
16: Royce White
17: Tyler Zeller
This class did not produce much talent in this area of the draft, but Zeller has played nicely for the Celtics, and Harkless is a decent role player for the Magic. While the Celtics are looking to find better options at their pick, ending up with a player like Zeller or Harkless would not be the end of the world.
15: Kawhi Leonard
16: Nikola Vucevic
17: Iman Shumpert
2011's mid-draft proved that talent can be found anywhere. Leonard, Vucevic, and Shumpert have all had promising starts to their careers, especially Leonard who has already won Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. Leonard's success is a testament to Popovich's ability to breed and develop talent, but it is hard to deny that Kawhi would be a star regardless of the team he ended up on.
15: Larry Sanders
16: Luke Babbitt
17: Kevin Seraphin
This trio may be a bit underwhelming, but Sanders was once a premier rim protector and Babbitt has the ability to be a 3-point specialist. This draft had Hassan Whiteside and Lance Stephenson selected in the second round, so talent can be found at any point in the draft.
Almost all of the players listed above are or have been projects. They all start off as raw talent. While the Celtics are looking to find a player to contribute next year, Brad Stevens certainly knows how to get the most out of his players. Realistically, it is rare to find someone at the 16th pick who can be a difference maker on day one. So the Celtics will need to find the best fit and the player that can develop sooner rather than later.
Like any other pick, it is all hit and miss. The Celtics can land the next Kawhi Leonard or the next Kevin Seraphin with their mid-draft selection. Over the past few years, a majority of the drafts had star talent at and around the 16th pick, so the Celtics are in a good position.
Justin's Mid-Draft Big Board
1) Kelly Oubre
Upside: Oubre offers a ton of upside with his shooting range and 7'2 wingspan. He is athletic and has a ton of defensive potential.
Downside: Scouts question his effort due to his string of lackluster performances at Kansas.
2) Myles Turner
Upside: HUGE frame with high shot blocking abilities. Averaged 4.7 blocks per 40 minutes at Texas and would fill the Celtics vacant spot as rim protector. He's also got decent range for a guy his size.
Downside: He is a bit awkward with his low post game and runs in a weird way. He definitely needs help developing his interior moves.
3) Devin Booker
Upside: Phenomenal shooter from behind the arc. He was one of the highest scorers on Kentucky and has decent size. His shot does not need much work.
Downside: Could be a liability on defense.
4) Bobby Portis
Upside: Portis is very physical and fights for every loose ball and rebound. He can shoot from 20 feet out and has a nice low post game.
Downside: Portis does not have a crazy amount of athleticism, but he does not need much for his trade (being a bully on the boards.)
5) Willie Trill Cauley-Stein (he is this low because he most likely will not be available this late)
Upside: Exceptional rim protector and shot blocker. Would be a perfect fit defensively on the Celtics.
Downside: We haven't seen much of his offensive skills, so that could prove to be a weakness. From what he has shown, he can be a pretty decent scorer around the basket.