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SB Nation Mock Expansion Draft: Celtics protected players

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And who would they leave available for the draft?

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Three Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The folks at SBNation decided to do a fun thought experiment today. Inspired by Adam Silver’s recent remarks about expansion to Seattle being “inevitable,” they thought it would be fun to see how an expansion draft might work if it happened this year.

Granted, that’s impossible because there’s no way the Seattle team would be ready for this upcoming season, so this is purely a hypothetical. Still, it is interesting to see what players each team would protect and which ones it would leave available for selection.

The Celtics roster presented me with a considerable challenge. They have no bad contracts, a deep team (at least in theory), and a lot of young players that are hard to pick between.

We were allowed to protect 8 players. I narrowed my list down thusly.

Obvious choices: Isaiah Thomas, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum

Pretty self explanatory.

Value contract: Jae Crowder

For all the grief he gets in some corners, he’s an amazing value for the kind of skill he brings in relation to his contract. Note that this leaves me with only 2 choices left and a lot of good players to pick from.

Highest upside youth: Marcus Smart and Ante Zizic

Smart’s jumper is going to be an issue until it isn’t. He’s also going to be a restricted free agent at the end of the year. But man, if he can just get a little better on offense, he’s going to be a long term keeper.

Ante didn’t look great at the start of Summer League, but he picked up steam and he has some great tools that the Celtics need.

Hardest to leave off: Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier

Morris has the same kind of value contract that Crowder does and he may well end up being the long term keeper if he fits better on the roster moving forward. But I stuck with the guy that got us here instead.

Rozier may end up being better than Zizic or even Smart, but I feel like both have a higher upside than Terry so I reluctantly left Rozier to be available. Yes, this brought about sarcastic remarks from the other “GMs” about “untouchable Terry Rozier.” Ha ha, very droll.

The rest: Aron Baynes, Guerschon Yabusele, Daniel Theis, Abdel Nader, Semi Ojeleye, Shane Larkin

I like each of these players but none of them enough to bump off the players above them on the list.

So how did I do? What would you have done differently? Tell us in the comments below and stay tuned for the results of the mock expansion draft on SBNation.com