The top high school basketball prospect in the country, Marvin Bagley III, has officially announced his intended reclassification into the 2017 graduating class (pending review of his high school transcript). The decision enables him to play at the collegiate level in the upcoming year- which he will take advantage of at Duke University- and makes him eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft.
Said Bagley, discussing the appeal of “the brotherhood” that drew him to Duke (per ESPN):
"That's what Coach K preached to me and my family on my visit," Bagley said. "You know, I just had a good feeling there ever since they first offered me a scholarship in ninth grade. I've always liked Duke. It's a special place. And you have to be special to be a part of it. So I'm just blessed. I thank God every day for allowing me to see schools like that and just be in a position to go to a place like that. So I'm very thankful."
Bagley, a long, skilled forward, is likely the front runner to be taken with the first overall pick next summer, a reality not lost on the Boston Celtics, whom are hoping to make two selections in the top five via draft picks owed to them by Brooklyn and Philadelphia (by way of Los Angeles).
It’s unlikely that Boston will wind up with the number one pick for a second consecutive year, but even if they don’t, Bagley’s presence could push one, or multiple, similarly intriguing prospects to them into the 2-5 range.
There is a lot more scouting to be done before a clear picture of the top of the 2018 draft comes into focus, but a handful of very big, very talented players should be available in Bagley, Michael Porter Jr., Luca Doncic, DeAndre Ayton, and Mohamed Bamba. If the Celtics can land even one of those players, they’ll be happy. Nabbing two would be a dream.
For now it’s best to keep it as such. There is a world in which the Nets, Lakers, and Kings all exceed expectations this year, and the Celtics are left without a crack at the upper echelon of talent. They’ve positioned themselves well to attempt to avoid that scenario, but it’s always best not to count your chickens before they’ve hatched.