It is time again for our look around the mock drafts. We are now 9 days from the draft and so things are becoming a bit clearer. I do expect a several trades on draft night which will make all of these mocks way off. But for right now, here is where the experts see the Celtics pick falling out. I include info on the Hawks and Grizzlies' picks because who they pick affects who is there for the Celtics to pick. Links are given to the mocks and links to player evaluations are given where available on the sites. Only a few mocks include the second round and where given, our second round pick is also included.
Draft Express sees Boston going with Joakim Noah with the 5th pick with the Hawks taking Brandon Wright and Grizzlies going with Al Horford. They have the Celtics taking Marco Belinelli with the 32nd pick.
SI.com has the Celtics taking Corey Brewer at 5 with B Wright and Horford going 3 and 4. Here is what they have to say about the pick: "Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge understands offense, and he's unlikely to pass up a player with Brewer's expansive offensive repertoire and vast potential. Brewer is a quick, rangy player who should be able to contribute right away on both ends of the court. The potential is there for Brewer to become a major offensive force one day."
Fox Sports puts Jeff Green at 5 with the Celtics and B Wright going to the Hawks at 3 while Horford goes to the Grizzlies at 4. Their reasoning is as follows: "The Celtics were hoping for Oden or Durant. Instead, Danny Ainge will add the versatile Hoyas forward — who is multi-dimensional. We're going with Jeff Green with the slight nod over Al Thornton."
CBS Sportsline puts Yi in Boston with Horford going to Atlanta and Brewer going to Memphis. "More Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol than Yao Ming, Jianlian is shooting up draft boards. It's possible he could be selected as high as the third overall pick."
The Sporting News puts Jeff Green in Boston while Horford goes to Atlanta and B Wright to Memphis. "Needs: PG, C. With Sebastian Telfair having screwed up his chance in Boston, the Celtics are left with Rajon Rondo and Delonte West at point guard, and neither is really a point guard. They have Paul Pierce at shooting guard, and Al Jefferson had a breakthrough year at power forward. A center would be nice--turns out Theo Ratliff and Michael Olowokandi weren't the answer--but the Celtics will be looking for trades this summer and need to simply stockpile talent. The Pick: Jeff Green, SF, Georgetown. The Celtics have pooh-poohed the point guards in the draft class, so unless it was a smokescreen, they have no intention of picking Conley here. Yi Jianlian has been discussed, but the Celtics are in good shape at power forward. They could use a versatile forward. That's Green, who is a terrific passer on the wing with an improving jump shot."
The Inside Hoops mock has us taking Noah while Atlanta takes B Wright and Memphis takes Al Horford. "Big athletic smart player who hustles, passes extremely well and defends hard. His offense is still in development. Noah likely would have been taken first in last year's Draft had he declared."
Pro Basketball News has the Celtics going with Yi Jianlian with Atlanta taking Mike Conley and Memphis taking B wright. They put Alando Tucker from Wisconsin at the 32nd pick.
College Hoops.net has Boston taking Yi Jianlian with the 5th pick and Atlanta taking B Wright 3rd and Memphis taking Horford 4th. They have us taking Petteri Koponen with the 32nd pick. This would be a great pick for us if he is available there.
RealGM has Brandon Wright going to Boston at 5 with Atlanta taking Conley and Memphis taking Horford. They have Boston taking Aaron Gray with the 32nd pick.
MSNBC has Boston taking Al Horford while Atlanta takes B Wright and Memphis goes with Yi. "Did you see the nice runner down the lane in the title game? He can also hit a fadeaway jumper and he gives the effort on defense. Character counts for something, too. The Celtics have a lot of good young players, but none of this caliber."
NBC Sports also puts Al Horford in Boston with the 5th pick. The Hawks take Yi at 3 and Memphis takes B Wright at 4. "The bad news just keeps building up for the Celtics. After missing out on their shot at Oden, the draft's next best center, Roy Hibbert, pulls out. Horford, though, could still be a good fit in Boston. He and Al Jefferson would make for a very strong 1-2 punch inside, much like the one Horford and Joakim Noah formed at Florida. Given Danny Ainge's apparent affection for Durant, another Florida product, Corey Brewer, could also be an option to add to the athletic core Ainge has built. Either way, the sting of losing the lottery will likely last a while in Beantown."
Fanball has Horford going to Boston at 5 while Conley goes to Atlanta and B Wright to the Grizzlies. "Although the Celtics front office staffers will likely still have tears in their eyes while making this pick, there is still talent to be had at No. 5. The Celtics are pretty much full to the brim from point guard to small forward, meaning help in the frontcourt must be on its way. Jianlian and Spencer Hawes are both 7-foot options the team could consider, and with Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins both undersized centers at 6-foot-10, neither Jianlian nor Hawes would be a surprise. But Horford's strength and athleticism would be the strongest complement to Al-Jeff and Perkins, so I expect the Celtcis to go that route."
Yahoo Sports has Boston taking B Wright with the 5th pick and the Hawks taking Yi while Memphis takes Brewer. "Brandan Wright, 6-10 forward, North Carolina. Doc Rivers will be gone by the All-Star break, but Wright, with those condor arms, is a long, fluid offensive talent who will block shots and score around the basket. He isn't Durant, but he'll be a major scorer in the pros."
ISN puts Yi in Boston, Horford in Atlanta and Conley in Memphis. Here is what they have to say about the pick: "It’s been said that Boston has already expressed interest in Yi and with Horford gone to the Hawks, it makes sense. I really don’t think the Celtics go with Corey Brewer here even though it’s been rumored that they might, which should send off the alarms in Paul Pierce’s head."
The Hoopsworld mock draft gives 5 different opinions. Greg White has Boston taking Yi while Atlanta takes Horford and Memphis goes with B Wright. Pree Bhattacharya also has the Celtics taking Yi while Atlanta takes B Wright and Memphis takes Horford. Joel Brigham says that the Celtics take Horford while Atlanta takes B Wright and Memphis takes Noah. Tommy Beer has the Celtics taking Brewer with Wright going to Atlanta and Horford to Memphis. Steve Kyler has the order the same with Wright, Horford and Brewer.
Celtics Nation has Boston taking Noah with Wright going to Atlanta and Horford going to Memphis. They have a very good eplanation for the pick also:
"If Danny Ainge ultimately decides to keep this pick, he would be wise to pass on players such as Mike Conley Jr., Corey Brewer, and Yi Jianlian. Each is intriguing, and a case can be made for selecting any of them with this pick. Conley is gong to be a great point guard, but Boston appears committed to Rajon Rondo and Delonte West. Brewer defends at an NBA level, but the Celtics are flooded with wing players. Jianlian is an Ainge favorite, but Al Jefferson is the lock at power forward. There are also plenty of detractors when it comes to Noah - his offensive game is limited, and his body doesn't appear equipped to bang with the NBA's big boys. Besides, he plays power forward, Jefferson's position.
So, why take Noah? The Celtics would be getting last season's Number 1 overall selection, which is where Noah would have been taken had he come out following his 2006 season at Florida. Boston needs a mature player on a young team, and Noah is definitely mature for his age. But those are just for starters. Noah is smart, unselfish, and passionate. He would provide the Celtics with an infectious spark, one that could carry over to the rest of the team. Those intangibles aside, Noah is hardly an unskilled banger with little or no upside. He is long, he runs the court extremely well, and he knows how to succeed on the basketball court. He'll add the requisite 20 pounds of muscle, just like some of the other guys coming out. But bottom line, Noah has the heart and head to be truly special in this league. You can't say that about Brandon Wright, but you can bank on it with Joakim Noah. He will play hard. He will find a way to win. He should have been the Number 1 selection in the 2006 NBA Draft, but he opted to return to college and help his teammates repeat as national champions. And it was his decision that affected the rest of his teammates. He was the unquestioned leader of that 2006 championship team. He proved his leadership mettle by coming back, accepting a slightly reduced role in Florida's offense and helping the Gators repeat as national champs. Noah is the pick at Number 5, should Ainge decide to keep it. If so, we'll be thanking him for years to come."
Ryen Russillo picks Jeff Green for Boston with Wright going to Atlanta and Horford going to Memphis. Here is his reasoning: "This pick is still very much for sale but if there is nothing out there that makes sense through a trade Green would provide help sooner than Yi Jianlian. Green is as well rounded a player as there is in this draft and his measurements give him an edge over the other small forwards. If Chris Wallace, the current Celtics GM, does land the job as the man in charge of the Memphis Grizzlies you would have to think that gives the Celtics some advantage as to how things are going to break at pick #5. Horford is more of a possibility as the draft nears, and if that is the case Boston should hold onto the pick."
CB32's mock has Yi coming to Boston with B Wright to the Hawks and Horford to Memphis. Here is his reasoning: "If reports hold up as true about Danny Ainge being enamored with Yi, then this is likely the pick. It’s tough to see them going any other way, if they do keep this pick, considering the fact that other than Yi, the best prospects left on the board are swingmen. Boston is loaded with swingmen in Pierce, Szczerbiak, Gomes, West, Allen, and they already have their up-and-comer in Gerald Green. Yi would compliment Al Jefferson nicely and help them spread the floor."
The MVN mock has the Celtics taking Al Horford and Atlanta taking Yi while Memphis takes Conley. This mock was put together by each team's bloggers on the MVN network.
Hoopshype has the Noah going to the Celtics at 5 with Wright going to Atlanta and Horford going to Memphis. They have us taking Alando Tucker from Wisconsin in the second round.
Dime's Mock puts Brewer in Boston, Conley in Atlanta and Horford in Memphis. Here is the blurb that accompanies their pick: "Gerald Green can jump, but he’s not an NBA starting wing yet. Wally Szczerbiak makes starter money, but he’s probably better coming off the bench. Brewer is a do-it-all type who already might be better than any of the current C’s defensively, and doesn’t demand shots, so he won’t butt heads with Paul Pierce."
Scout.com has the Celtics picking Brewer at 5 while Atlanta picks Wright at 3 and Memphis goes with Yi at 4.
Finally, Chad Ford posted his newest mock this morning. He has the Celtics taking Brewer, Atlanta taking Horford, and Memphis taking Conley. Chad's take on the three picks are very interesting. First, his take on Atlanta's pick
The Hawks drafted a power forward with the No. 5 pick in 2006 -- Shelden Williams. Recent Atlanta draft picks Marvin Williams (2005, No. 2 overall) and Josh Smith (2004, No. 17) also share time at power forward.
And what we're hearing this year? Another power forward with the No. 3 pick.
The Hawks do need rebounding and Horford is the No. 3 player on our Top 100, so why am I scratching my head? Because if it's true that the Hawks are taking Horford, it continues Atlanta's strange pattern of taking players that duplicate each other.
But many scouts believe Horford is the third-best player in the draft, and he would be a big upgrade over Shelden Williams.
One alternative theory on Horford has to be sprung: Perhaps the Hawks are bluffing in an effort to get Memphis and Milwaukee, both of which love Horford, to try to trade up.
Next, his take on Memphis' pick - We can't count out the possible influence of Chris Wallace moving from Boston to Memphis:
The skinny: Horford is at the top of Jerry West's wish list. But I'm hearing that if Horford is gone, West's list narrows down to Joakim Noah and Mike Conley.
The Grizzlies love Noah's energy and bravado, but think Conley could be the second coming of Tony Parker.
It's possible all this will change now that the team has hired Chris Wallace as general manager to replace West after the draft. Wallace was previously in Boston, and the Celtics were high on Yi Jianlian, Jeff Green and Corey Brewer. It will be interesting to see who's calling the shots.
Finally, how he sees Boston's pick:
The skinny: I still think the odds are in favor of Danny Ainge's trading the pick in an attempt to pick up a veteran.
If that doesn't work out, he'll decide between Corey Brewer, Yi Jianlian and Jeff Green. I've had Yi here for a month, but from what I hear, Ainge is nervous that Yi might be more "workout wonder" than legit player.
It seems like Brewer is the surest thing here. And if the Celtics do end up trading Paul Pierce, Brewer can step right in.
Summary: Out of 29 mock drafts, there are 6 different players projected to go to Boston with the 5th pick. Several also point out that Boston is most likely to trade their pick. 5 mocks have us taking Noah, 6 mocks have us taking Brewer, 3 mocks have us taking Green, 8 mocks still believe we will take Yi, only 2mocks feel that we will take Brandon Wright, and 5 mocks have us taking Horford. Like I said in a previous article, this is a very inexact science. No one really knows who each team will take until the pick is made because teams try to play their cards very close to their vest and many send out smoke screens for that purpose. Only 4 mocks include the 2nd round and there are 4 different players projected to be picked with the 32nd pick.
I think that I prefer Al Horford. I love him, and I think he's the pick, but I also think that he will be gone by #5 so if he's not avaliable I'd go with either Noah or Brewer. I didn't consider Jeff Green but for what I've read he seems a very good player.
I agree that Doc will probably be gone by the break. He has run out of excuses and if the team doesn't improve considerably, they need to get a new coach I would like to get Horford but I believe Atlanta will take him and if not, Memphis. I like Noah because we need size and I think he is going to be very good. Yi scares me a bit but if Danny takes him it is because of his extensive scouting and so that is ok.