We polled CelticsBlog staffers to give their opinions on what they think the Celtics’ personal big board might look like, asking everyone to pretend they are Danny Ainge. Everyone
logged out of their Janos burner accounts gave their best impressions and made their picks. We compiled the results into one single big board, which we will be updating each day between now and the draft.
Alex Kungu and I (Sam Sheehan) will be discussing the picks and what we think the implications and thinking might be with each selection, including some additional thoughts from other CelticsBlog staffers.
Here are the final names on our big board.
#27 Josh Okogie
Sam Sheehan: We’ll kick off this final day with the money spot. The all-important 27th pick. People are going to think that I manipulated our board to make the results come out like this, but I swear that I didn’t. It’s JOSH OKOGIE (!!!) from Georgia Tech. I’m going to drop all kayfabe and come clean.
This is my guy.
This is who I endorse that the Celtics come home with on Draft Night. 6’4” with a 7’0” wing span, Okogie is LONG and has all the requisite Celtics skills. He’s a good shooter who has the weakness of a low release point, but also defends at a very high level. He’s strong and long and can survive weak-side switches, is a big time plus rebounder, and can even score off the bounce if needed. On top of all of this, he is incredibly cool and would fit in seamlessly with guys like Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. His handles aren’t good enough to be a primary ball handler, but at this point in the draft, for what is needed in today’s NBA, Okogie is absolutely my guy. I would be shocked if he was still available here, though.
Alex Kungu: Okogie has been a popular name and one the Celtics probably have high on their board. I’ve been very big on the role guys played during college and whether that is something that could be sustained in the pros and I think the way Okogie was used is translatable to the league. He’s an above average shooter (38%) on a decent attempts (4.2), he made a slight bump in his creation for others and has been a willing passer, and I like that he knows how to operate and score off-ball. He brings some of the best qualities of Smart and Rozier packaged at once. Like you, I think my concern would be that he isn’t available. We could take solace in the fact that he doesn’t have a green room invite which could mean that he could fall in their range. With that being said, I’m not sure he’s a trade up player. I think the tier of Okogie/Melton/Brown/Evans is so close in potential role and ability to that role that even if you think Okogie is the best of the group, it’s not by a wide enough margin to move up for.
SS: I agree about not necessarily moving up for him, as much as it breaks my heart. There’s just such a mix of intriguing wings at the bottom of the first round that it seems a bit silly to move up for one of them, unless you are absolutely positive about them becoming that transcendent player. What I like so much about Okogie is that he projects as a high floor guy that is unlikely to totally fail, but he also has significant upside. Throughout these previews, we’ve beaten to death our thoughts on the Celtics drafting wings and how it might be difficult for those guys to get playing time. Okogie is a natural 2 guard, and while he will primarily be playing behind Hayward and Brown, there’s also a path to him seeing serious minutes as soon as 2019 with the Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart situations still up in the air. I would argue that, besides the big position, SG has the most clear path to playing time and role of any position. Add into that Okogie profiles as EXACTLY the player that Brad Stevens wants in his system, and I’m head over heels.
AK: Yeah, there’s no doubt he profiles as the perfect Celtic as is with the potential for a higher ceiling mostly just being the cherry on the top. Being a self-creator and a lead ball-handler is probably something he’ll never be able to do, but neither are skills he needs to be great in Boston. The Atlanta connection with Jaylen Brown is also pretty cool as well, he’ll have an instant connection with the coolest member of the Celtics. I’m going to be really upset if he ends playing for the Sixers.
SS: Oh no. Oh no why did you say that? Now I want to do the Justise Winslow package just to trade up and save him from that fate. (Actually, that would be a really good fit for him, too.) All joking aside, I really think Okogie is the best “realistic” prospect who could possibly fall to the Celtics without a trade up. I could absolutely see him developing into a really solid rotation piece for them, and his versatility and low rookie scale contact mean that he could be an invaluable piece for later iterations of this Celtics team, who will likely become more and more cash strapped.