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.
#30 De’Anthony Melton
SS: Closing out our big board, we have a prospect I think we put a little too low in De’Anthony Melton. It might seem hyperbolic, but Melton is my favorite prospect to ever miss a season due to an FBI investigation. Melton was sidelined due to the NCAA investigation into improper benefits, something that makes me angry on his behalf, but that’s neither hear nor there. Melton has a chance to be the less strong Marcus Smart. He was an abysmal shooter at school, but he was young enough that I’m not totally writing him off as not improvable. Melton had a more impressive jumpshot at the combine and I wonder if his stock might have risen had he played his second year. He and Bruce Brown actually profile pretty similarly to one another, but I think once Melton hits the weight room and starts putting on muscle, he’ll become a fearsome fore. The elite guard rebounding he brings is also something that I really like. Do you think Melton could improve meaningfully as a shooter at the next level?
AK: I’m not a shot doctor, but I’ve seen Melton working with Drew Hanlen who has had success in helping Bradley Beal, Joel Embiid, and Jayson Tatum work on their jumpers. His form looked solid at workouts and even after a shaky combine where he looked rusty from not playing organizer basketball for a year, I think there’s a lot to like with him. He isn’t a green room invite though so there’s a possibility that he’s a guy who will be available for Boston without any trade up.
SS: I have to say that I really like Melton’s passing flashes that he showed in his first year. Because of his unique position sitting for a year, he needs to be projected a little more than some of the other prospects. As much as I like Melton, he’s someone who the workouts are going to be very important for, so teams can get a feel for where he is. If they think that some of the rust he showed at the combine was due to not playing for a year, they might swoop on him. Similar to Brown, Melton is someone who’s jump shot will ultimately determine where he falls. He doesn’t have Browns switch-ability, but has a more advanced lateral quickness and is more of a pure guard defender.
This big board was a compilation of all the CelticsBlog staff weighing in with their own Celtics-centric boards. Here, Alex and I take a look at players of note that we didn’t get to in the overall big board.
During the 2015 Draft, most of us were quite upset with the Rozier pick because he was pegged as more of a high-ceiling/low-floor player that could be available in the 2nd round and the C’s supposedly had a chance to add players that could provide more immediate impact. In 2018, the Celtics find themselves in a similar situation where there’s going to be a lot of these low-ceiling/high-floor players that can give them immediate impact, but the alternative route is swinging on a more developmental but higher ceiling player. I think this draft is littered with extremely valuable international guys and it wouldn’t surprise me if the C’s were targeting one of these four prospects all along.
Issuf Sanon (6’4.25, 6’5.5 wingpsan)
19 year old combo guard who’s an electric 3-level scorer. Great first step with an ability to score in isolation, can finish at the rim with either hand, advanced in the PnR. Great instincts as a passer and is someone who could project to be a lead guard. Defensively he has great instincts and showed some potential as a weak side and transition shot-blocker. Moves feet well, will probably be able to switch across the perimeter when he gets bigger, but will be able to come into the league and instantly defend if he isn’t draft and stashed. Most of his weaknesses are youth-related (Physicality, decision-making), and is someone I’m very confident in as a legitimate NBA player.
Isaac Bonga (6’8.75, 6’11.75 wingspan)
Intriguing prospect from Germany who despite his size has grown up playing as a lead guard his entire career. Good athlete who can get to the rim at will, make the right reads, and is a willing defender. The big problem for Bonga is he can’t shot at all, but he had some big strides in his FT% (up to 90) that are at least an indicator that he could potentially be a passable shooter. At only 18 years old, Bonga is the perfect prospect to stash for a year and allow him to work on his jumper and overall body (only 179ibs) before bringing him back over.
Goga Bitadze (6’11, 7’2 wingspan)
Bitadze is a big Georgian center with a nice feel on the block, a solid pick and pop game, and is super active on the glass. Defensively he’s a strong rim protector who lead his league in blocks per game and has had some good moments as a post-defender. The next-step for him will be to get bigger so he can battle down low more, get more comfortable shooting the three, and take more pride on defending the perimeter. He’s a candidate for the “buy a second round pick and stash him.”
Kostas Antetokounmpo (6’9.5, 6’11.5 wingspan)
This is the younger brother of Giannis, and he is every bit as physically imposing as Giannis was when he came out of the draft. He’s a very functional athlete who can run the floor, be a lob target, and has some tools to be a 5-position defender. There was some talk that after the coaching switch in Daytona he wasn’t used in a way that he was originally promised, but he’s still a super raw athlete with a developing jumpshot and minimal ball-skills. He is a prime stash candidate because I think the biggest thing he needs is just more experience. I think with a player like him, it’s important to kind of have a vision of how you want him to play and stick to that vision.
Rodions Kurucs (6’10)
Lativan big that can play either forward position. Capable, but not great shooter, can attack in straight line with a developing handle. Like potential to eventually become a knockdown shooter who can shoot in different situations while being able to hold his own defensively. Needs to get a stronger frame. Problem with him was Barcelona doesn’t like losing players to the NBA and they buried him on the bench. That means if you draft him you want to get him over asap and start working with him.
We got to a lot of the players I wanted to talk about, but I wanted bring up some possible round two targets for the Celtics just in case they do end up buying into the second round.
Shake Milton, Southern Methodist University
There will probably be better players on the board than Shake when the Celtics pick, but I Semi’s former teammate is a massive guard with good length, decent shooting percentages and ability as a secondary play maker. He has the profile of a the type of versatile guy the Celtics are always looking into.
Mitchell Robinson, Chalmette High School
Robinson is the biggest wildcard in this draft because of a weird situation where he opted out of school and instead trained for a draft after being billed as a five star recruit. Robinson is a rim-running-and-protecting center who could be exactly what the Celtics need. If his skill aren’t there, he could also be a wasted pick.
Jarred Vanderbilt, Kentucky University
I had Vanderbilt 21st on my board, almost entirely as an upside pick. He’s an energetic, small-ball four who rebounds like a 5. I’m not sure if the shooting ever gets there and he’s an injury risk, but he’s the kind of second round big swing that could really pay off.
Thanks to everyone for reading the Big Board this year. I hope it was as much fun for you all to read as it was for Alex, the rest of the staff, and I to put together. As always, every opinion I have on here is absolute gospel and will definitely come true. If anything I said in here turns out to be wrong, I was being ironic.