‘Tis the season to talk about the NBA Draft. Even though I’m a big proponent in trading up or trading out, I know that doesn’t always work out. I’m also clueless when it comes to the draft on most years and especially so this year. So I’m simply going to report to you what smarter draft people than me are saying. Blame them if they are wrong.
The Ringer - Kevin O’Connor
14 - Precious Achiuwa
The Celtics struggled to stop Adebayo in the East finals; a versatile big like Achiuwa could be what they need in those future battles. He’s also an energetic lob threat who could run the pick-and-roll with any of Boston’s shot creators.
26 - Leandro Bolmaro - draft and stash guy
30 - Killian Tillie - lottery talent with long list of injuries
The Athletic - Sam Vecenie
14 - Kira Lewis Jr.
He averaged 18.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. He also hit 36.6 percent of his 3-point attempts and snatched 1.8 steals for the second-straight season. That makes him one of three high-major players in the last three decades to hit those numbers. He was remarkably productive for having played the majority of his sophomore season at 18 years old.
26 - Leandro Bolmaro - I’m seeing a trend here
30 - Robert Woodard - Project wing with great size and shooting potential
47 - Skylar Mays - LSU guard (that’s all I’ve got)
Bleacher Report - Jonathan Wasserman
14 - Precious Achiuwa
The Celtics could look at Achiuwa to inject their frontcourt with athleticism and defensive versatility. Despite lacking polish offensively, defensive versatility could be his NBA moneymaker, though flashes of face-up moves and spot-up threes indicate he has more scoring potential to reach.
26 - Zeke Nnaji - good rebounding center
30 - Tre Jones - point guard from Duke
ESPN - Jonathan Givony
14 - Killian Hayes
Hayes’ positional size, passing creativity and off-the-dribble shooting potential give him significant upside to grow into considering he just turned 19. He also is experienced and productive for his age, having already played 72 pro games in Europe. With Kemba Walker on the wrong side of 30, the Celtics could look at adding some backcourt talent, which is considered the strength of this draft class.
26 - Robert Woodard II - 3&D wing
30 - Udoka Azubuike - ginormous
Jeff’s random thoughts and observations:
- Seems like a lot of people have the Celtics targeting bigs like Precious or Nnaji. Makes sense as a position of need. There’s a smattering of guards as well. Again, that makes sense from a need perspective unless a can’t-miss wing falls into their laps.
- If you are looking for a Danny Ainge archetype, look for some combination of these qualities: ranked highly in high school but struggled in college, good defense, shot is a work in progress, either a hard nosed worker or an athletic freak. I’d keep an eye on names like Cole Anthony, Obi Toppin, Saddiq Bey, Desmond Bane, Jaden McDaniels.
- If the Celtics keep the 26th pick, taking a draft-and-stash guy like Bolmaro makes a ton of sense strategically. There’s even a chance that they decide to take him at #14 depending on how highly they value his long term upside and the cost savings of punting on that salary slot.
- Seems like a logical year for teams to trade down and pick up more assets (bites at the apple). Which makes it more likely that Ainge will find a trade partner if he wants to consolidate his picks and move up. Depends on who’s there, but I’m eyeing Onyeka Okongwu, Devin Vassell, or Tyrese Haliburton in the 8-10 range.
- Who are your favorite players you want to see in Boston next year? Or do you want to trade all the picks and get out of this draft if at all possible?