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CelticsBlog MailBag Answers: 2015 NBA Draft Edition Part 1

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Here's Part 1 of the CelticsBlog NBA Draft Mailbag. In this edition we're looking at trade up scenarios, among other subjects. Stay tuned for Part 2 later this week.

If the Celtics trade with the Knicks for the fourth pick of the draft would it be better to go with the best available player or the player that fits the teams needs? - Austin G

Hey Austin, anytime a team trades up they're usually trading for a specific player. So, that might be team needs or the best player available. Maybe the Celtics have Justise Winslow or Willie Cauley-Stein at #1 or #2 on their own board, making him a "value pick" at #4. Regardless, it's unlikely they move up that far.

What do you think the chances are that the Celtics stay pat with the picks they have and not signing any big name players to a max contract(I.E.: waiting for the big TV money to roll in next year before making big moves)? - Bryan

Bryan, I'll be surprised if they don't do anything this summer, because almost everyone will have money in 2016, including the Celtics regardless of what they do now.

If we can move up, how about Hezonja? If not what about Portis? - Duncan1

Hey Duncan, I think Mario Hezonja has star potential. He is such an outstanding shooter and what he does in limited minutes overseas is impressive. So many players would curl up into a fetal position and complain when they only get to play 5 minutes per game, but Hezonja comes out and just balls hard. He might have character problems, but I don't care about that if he's surrounded by a good group of guys in the locker room. As for Bobby Portis, he'd be a nice fit for his two-way potential. But I think they can do better.

Kevin. I haven't been a big fan of WCS until recently the defense is what has sold me. What is a realistic deal from Boston's standpoint and the other team's standpoint to get him? - andygonzalez

Andy, I outlined a handful of ideas in this article here. I think it would take a significant package to move up to #6. Maybe #16, Kelly Olynyk, and future draft picks. The Kings want to win now, but they also need more than one player. I'm not sure what's going on in that front office with all the changes. But it does seem like a chaotic situation Danny Ainge could take advantage of.

If the Celtics do trade up, which players do you think jump directly into the starting line up? -MikeJelly

Mike, Willie Cauley-Stein would receive a good dose of minutes right off the bat on this roster. I could see him and Tyler Zeller both playing about 24 minutes per game. I'm not sure how many other players we can realistically expect to play right away if they trade up, because it all depends on what they do in free agency and the trading market. I would expect players like Justise Winslow, Stanley Johnson, and Frank Kaminsky to all receive minutes too.

Based on league perspective, what is our best trade asset, rookie scale talent (Young, Sully, Olynyk, etc.), the plethora of draft picks, or out TPE/cap space?- scootoro

Scoot, I think the draft picks are by far the best assets. As Danny Ainge has said: "Draft picks are always tradable, players aren't." Even after a player is drafted, and before they sign their contract, they count as $0 in trades. So even if the Celtics pick a player on June 25, it doesn't mean he'll be in uniform for the Celtics this October.

What do you the Celtics do with Gerald Wallace and that huge contract? Do you think the 2016 1st round pick from the Nets will play a part in the decision for Gerald Wallace? - Mike Hawk

Mike, I wouldn't use the stretch provision on him unless it were necessary to sign a player, because he'll have value during the season as an expiring contract that another team might desire in a salary dump. As for which players will be available, that remains to be seen. I don't think it's necessary to include the Brooklyn 2016 first with Wallace since he only has one year remaining.

Is Willie Cauley-Stein the best defensive prospect we will see in a decade or is that praise too high? -- Apogeeified

It's hard to say if he's the best, but he's certainly the most unique. It's rare for a player to be as long, as athletic, as agile, as bouncy, as quick, and as tall as Cauley-Stein is. Some people have balked at the Tyson Chandler comparison, because Chandler was a yearly Defensive Player of the Year candidate, but Chandler was never as quick as Cauley-Stein already is. I think he's a $100 million player, just like Larry Bird does.

A lot of pundits (iirc including you) have the Celtics taking Robert Upshaw with the Clippers pick. Given that the league now is desperate to find the next Rudy Gobert, which teams do you see making the gamble to pick him earlier in the first round? - JC

IIRC you would be correct. I'd even consider him at #16, despite the risks. But I'd feel a lot more comfortable picking him in the 20s. I think the Mavericks have a good culture for him and they need to replace Tyson Chandler. Memphis also, as a backup to Marc Gasol or the starter if he leaves. The Lakers, definitely, since they need to hit a homerun. And of course the Celtics. I find it interesting that Chad Ford has recently dropped him down his board, which makes me wonder if teams are starting to become even more fearful of his addiction.

Can you explain the "Best Player Available" rationale so even I can understand it? How does Ainge, or any GM, justify it? -- H-daddy

Talent wins, it's as simple as that. But consider that "BPA" is different for every single team, because every team has different philosophies. Stan Van Gundy recently had a pretty good explanation for his drafting style. He said that he grades players by tiers. So, if their pick is up at #8 and two of their "Tier 2" players are available, the deciding factor might be "need." This is also my drafting philosophy, because I think need is important when it comes to deciding between two equally talented players.

When is the release of your 2015 NBA Draft Guide and anticipated arrival to the home? -- curtjester1

Hey Curt, my Draft Guide is a PDF/eBook download. It's something you can use on your laptop, tablet, or desktop. But I actually had two people last year who printed out my 2014 Guide at a library, which I thought was really cool. Here are some more details:

Click below to pre-order now using PayPal.

Kevin O'Connor's 2015 NBA Draft Guide is the most comprehensive draft resource on the market. It features full-page scouting reports with professional level analysis of Kevin's top 60 prospects. Also included in the eBook/PDF are in-depth team-by-team previews, essays on the draft, a full top 100 list, and a unique two-in-one mock draft.

The guide cost $10, but you can pay more more if you'd like. Every dollar is truly appreciated. PayPal and most credit cards are accepted. To PayPal directly, my address is

If you pre-order now, you'll automatically get a free download of my 2014 guide, which features full scouting reports of my top prospects from last year. Once the 2015 NBA Draft Guide is released on June 12, you'll receive an email to download the guide. If it doesn't download immediately, please send me an email and I will process it to you by the end of the day.

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