There are a lot of mock drafts out there and everyone of them has their opinion as to who the Celtics should take or who they will take. The truth is, though, that none of them know. With the draft in just days I thought it would be fun to go around the Mock Drafts and see just who they are projecting the Celtics to pick.
First up is CBS Sports who have 3 "experts" presenting their take on the upcoming draft. And they each pick a different player for the Celtics.
Brian Levenson projects the Celtics to pick Lance Stephenson, a 6'5" shooting guard from Cincinnati. Here are his comments on the pick:
I still think this is a perfect fit. The Celtics can provide Stephenson with the guidance and leadership that he needs and can put him in a situation where he can develop. Rondo can teach him how to break into the NBA and gain respect through his play and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce can teach him the mental and physical preparation needed to be successful in the NBA.
On the same site, Dave DelGrande picks Avery Bradley, a 6'2" shooting guard out of Texas. Here are his comments and reasoning:
The future of the Celtics will revolve around their backcourt, led by Rajon Rondo. With Ray Allen approaching his personal finish line, the time seems right to begin the search for Rondo's sidekick.
Finally on CBS Sports, Johnathan Feigen projects the Celtics to take Daniel Orton, a 6'10" power forward out of Kentucky. Here is his take on Orton:
The Celtics can afford to gamble on upside. They have not drafted a player contributing to their current team since 2007, so with a relatively early pick they will be ready to draft long-term potential.
CollegeHoops.net projects the Celtics to take Larry Sanders, a 6'9" power forward out of Virginia Commonwealth. This is also one of the sites that also give the second round and they project the Celtics to take Antonie Diot, a European player, with the 52nd pick.
Hoopsworld's mock draft has the Celtics taking Solomon Alabi, a 7'1" center from Florida State. They have the Celtics picking Dexter Pittman, a 6'10", 310 lb center out of Texas with their 52nd pick.
Draft Express, one of the more authoritative sites on the draft also have the Celtics picking Solomon Alabi out of Florida State. But, Draft Express projects that the Celtics will take Derrick Caracter, a 6'9" power forward/center out of UTEP with their second pick.
Hoopshype's mock draft has the Celtics taking Hassan Whiteside, a 7'0" center out of Marshall. Here is what they have to say about Whiteside:
Raw young big man with exceptionally rare physical tools. Has great size, solid athleticism, and freakishly long arms. Led the NCAA in shot-blocking as a freshman. Very productive rebounder. Shows intriguing skills offensively, both facing and with his back to the basket. Feel for the game, fundamentals leave a lot to be desired. Poor passer whose thin frame makes him a project on both ends of the court. Has serious off court red flags he must overcome.
NBC Sports' mock draft shows the Celtics taking Paul George, a 6'7" forward out of Fresno St. Here is their reasoning for this pick:
Tony Allen is probably not the answer for the Celtics' bench and knee surgeries are surely going to cut his career short. The Celtics are also old, and could lose Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to free agency. They could get a steal by taking George here, but we've also seen mocks that have him going as high as No. 11. He started out as a relative unknown this year, but is quickly gaining fans in the NBA. He's an athletic power dunker who can contribute in almost any fantasy-scoring category, and averaged nearly 17 points and seven boards for Fresno. He's our favorite sleeper in the draft, and we doubt we're alone in that thinking.
About.com projects that the Celtics will take Damion Jones, a small forward out of Texas. They describe him as
a talented wing player who can defend multiple positions; a nice luxury with the Celtics possibly losing Ray Allen to free agency.
They also have the Celtics taking AJ Ogilvy, a center out of Vanderbilt with their 52nd pick.
SI.com predicts that the Celtics will take Quincy Poindexter, a 6'6" small forward out of Washington. Here is what they have to say about him:
He needed all four years at Washington to improve his shooting and develop as an aggressive defender. Pondexter is a good athlete who attacks the offensive board, and his college experience will enable him to fit in nicely with the Celtics as they begin their transition from old to young.
Dime's mock draft is the first one that projects that the Celtics will pick a point guard and has the Celtics picking Eric Bledsoe, a point guard out of Kentucky as they feel that one of the main needs of the Celtics is a back up for Rajon Rondo. Inside Hoops joins Hoopshype in saying that the Celtics will pick Hassan Whiteside out of Marshall.
The Sporting News becomes the 3rd mock draft to predict that the Celtics will take Hassan Whiteside from Marshall. However they also suggest that Solomon Alabi or Daniel Orton might also be considered.
FanHouse joins Dime in predicting that the Celtics will take Eric Bledsoe, the 6'1" PG out of Kentucky.
Bledsoe, the best player available, could fit as a part of a three-guard rotation in Boston, potentially replacing Ray Allen at the off-guard and spelling Rondo at lead. The key here is in Bledsoe's potential as a floor-spacing shooter and scorer. The Celtics under Rondo become much more easily defended when Allen isn't hitting his jumpers.
The Celtics need some depth in their backcourt. Eric Bledsoe and Jordan Crawford would be possibilities, but the Celtics worked out Dominique Jones and really liked him. There's a chance they could trade down, but if not they will likely take Jones.
And finally, Chad Ford's mock draft on ESPN has the Celtics taking Solomon Alabi, the 7'1" center out of Florida State. Here is Ford's analysis of the pick:
Analysis: Alabi may seem like a bit of a reach to some, but he appears to be one of the hotter names in the draft at the moment. The Raptors, Celtics, Spurs, Thunder, Heat and Blazers are all showing interest. Those are all teams with historically good draft track records, so watch carefully. Alabi measured as one of the tallest and longest players in the draft, and he showed a nice skill game and a terrific motor in the drills.
Some scouts are comparing him to Dikembe Mutombo. I don't think Alabi has the same sort of rebounding and shot-blocking ability, but he does have a similar demeanor and presence on the court.
NBAdraftnet has a list of the players who have worked out for each team. They list the following for the Celtics: Jordan Crawford SG, Anthony Gurley PG, Jordan Eglseder C, Avery Bradley SG, Dominique Jones SG, Marqus Blakely G/F, and Ryan Thompson SG. I have also seen that with Danny being on the road with team in the Finals, he attended workouts with other teams so this isn't a complete list in the least.
So, what does all this mean? the "experts" see the Celtics as having several needs from point guard to shooting guard to small forward to power forward to center. Most see the Celtics taking a big man but there are some who feel they will take a wing or a point guard. And the bottom line is that no one really knows anything beyond the first pick. The consensus is that the Celtics will get a player who can help them right away with with the 19th pick as this is a fairly deep draft.
I don’t mean exactly who, so much as how many. Danny has done pretty well over the years in the draft and I think it would foolish not to give him whatever picks can be acquired. In years past there have been few roster slots available but surely that has changed with only six players under contract right now (5 if Sheed retires). In addition the cumulative age of this year’s rotation left the valiant Green literally staggering to the finish line. The clock is ticking on the expiration date of the aging stars and it is time to infuse some new, young blood.
Maneuvering has been seriously limited by the Luxury Cap but buying draft picks is not restricted, nor do those expenditures incur the dollar-for-dollar matching that salaries do. True, drafted players have to be paid, and first-rounder’s are guaranteed for two years, but in the late-first range that appears available the cost is very comparable to the vet minimums which have been the only possibilities (beyond the MLE and LLE) in recent years. While Doc has been loath to play youth (and endure their mistakes of inexperience), can anyone really argue that a rookie with a regular season of experience under his belt is going to be any more prone to miscues than say Shelden floating up an inbounds pass to no one in particular, or Nate jacking up a 1-on-3 bomb with 13 seconds left in a quarter and an unlit shot clock, or Scal bouncing an inbounds pass toward the zig when his teammate just zagged? Will the youth’s shot attempt be any more hurried (and errant) than Tony’s bricklaying from anywhere outside 15 feet; or his percentage outside dip any lower than Sheed’s looong stretch in the 20’s or his insistence to persist remain undiminished; or will his dunk attempts be blocked by rims, flat-footed bigs, or even guards more often than Davis, Williams, or all-too-often our leg-weary stars?
No it’s time to bring in new recruits, and play them! Play them enough to work out the nervous. Play them enough to give the oldsters significant rest game to game throughout the season. Play them enough to reach the playoffs with battle-tested novices no longer dewy-eyed and hungry for more. So what are we talking about?
Memphis, Washington, Chicago, Minnesota, Portland, and even the Lakers are rumored to be sellers. Toronto, Orlando, and San Antonio reportedly are already looking to buy. Wyc, open the checkbook and give Danny some more picks with which to work. Don’t make him choose between near-ready role players and high-risk high-reward potential. Get some of both. Rather than just #’s 19 and 52, let’s arm Ainge with those plus two or three more of the #’s 18, 26, 27, 28, 29, 33, and 35 rumored to be available. Shoot, make it five more and stash a couple in Europe.
One final note, if Sheed really is going to retire, there are a few options that might allow him to give the Celtics a nice boost going out the door. Several teams are still looking to shave salary either to be bigger players in the free agent market or to position themselves below the Luxury Cap and get the league distribution as well avoid the tax. A trade obliging one of these clubs might pick up a useful piece as well as a draft-pick sweetener. For instance would Chicago deal Hinrich and a pick for a soon-to-retire Sheed and maybe Scalabrine (and when they waive you, come right back and join the staff as an assistant coach) signed to a non-guaranteed contract allowing the Bulls to shave $9M off their commitments and leave them able to sign two max/near-max free agents. Hinrich would be an expensive solution to backing up Rondo and Ray but the contract expires conveniently enough in 2012 along with Garnett’s (and perhaps extensions for Allen and Pierce?) A more onerous contract, at least longer, would be that of DeSagana Diop who would provide the length and strength lacking when Perk is out (as he may well be most of the year). Once again would Charlotte add a pick for the salary relief? How bad does Miami want to get out from under the contract of Michael Beasley and add a third big name? Golden State has been rumored to be eager to be free of the contract of Brandan Wright ($3.4); would a sign and trade of Anthony Morrow (for say $4M) fill out a deal for Sheed? Would it be worth a pick as well? Personally I think each of these options has merit.
Bottom line is that I would wish for roster slots 11-15 to all be filled by draft picks. The hope would be that by year’s end two or three of them would have played their way into meaningful minutes allowing our aging stars to morph into half-time guns going at full speed during their reduced minutes. I have no idea what five players those might be but I am certain that Danny has put in hundreds of hours weighing the options. If next year’s team is to be stronger rather than another day older and deeper in debt, some inventive machinations are called for. Wyc, pony up the dough to buy picks. Sheed do the Celtics right the way your year-long semi-retirement did not. Danny, use your normal inventiveness to take full advantage of these windfalls. [Discuss on CG Forums!]
The Celtics are the most storied franchise in NBA history. The 17 banners hanging from the rafters attest to this. 1981-1986 were very good years for the Celtics and for Celtics fans. In Larry Bird's second season, the Celtics won the championship. And with Kevin McHale and Robert Parish joining him, the Celtics dominated as they won again in 1984 and 1986.
On June 8, 1986, the Celtics beat the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. They were on top of the NBA world. They were World Champions and owned the 2nd pick in the draft that season thanks to the trade of Gerald Henderson to Seattle. I remember being so excited about that draft. The Celtics had never had a pick that high as long as I was following them. A little more than a week after the Celtics won their 16th championship, they selected Maryland star Len Bias with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.
I remember being so excited. Len Bias was an exciting player and the talk was that he could be even better than Michael Jordan. The sky was the limit. The Big 3 were getting older and Bias would come in and be able to contribute right away and then would be the anchor of the next championship. It was an exciting time to be a Celtics fan. They were champions once again and they had just drafted one of the most exciting young players ever to come out of college.
On the morning of June 19, less than 48 hours after he was introduced by NBA commissioner David Stern as the Celtics pick, Bias was dead of heart failure brought on by cocaine use. He was just 22 years old. The basketball world would never get to see what he could do at the next level. He would be remembered only by what he had accomplished at Maryland, where he transformed himself from an athletic freshman who could do little more than dunk into one of the most explosive offensive players in Atlantic Coast Conference history.
Bias had spent hours working on that picture-perfect jumper and building that power-forward physique. By the time he was finished playing for Lefty Driesell at Maryland, Bias had become the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,149 points, a record that stood until 2002 when it was broken by Juan Dixon.
Though we will never know what kind of player Len Bias might have been if he had he lived and played out a full career in the NBA, those who played against him in college and those who would have played a part in his life as a Celtic feel that he would have developed into one of the most dynamic NBA stars of his era, maybe in league history.
The Big Three were aging and the Celtics looked at Bias as the link to the future of the 30-year Celtics dynasty that began with Bill Russell in 1956 and continued to the glory days of the 80's culminating with the 16th championship in 1986. It was even felt that Bias could have been the rival that Michael Jordan never really found during his career. Bias was a better outside shooter than Jordan. He didn't handle the ball as well, but he was bigger and tougher and every bit as athletic, perhaps even more so.
As a rookie in Boston, Bias would have assumed the role of the team's sixth man, a much vaunted tradition in Boston. He would have provided young legs and instant offense off the bench to back up a starting lineup that featured Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish in the front court and Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge in the back court. It is widely believed that had Bias lived he would have been able to prolong the careers of the Celtics Hall of Fame starting five and because he was so talented, he would have worked his way into the starting lineup before long, continuing the dominating play that people had come to expect from the Celtics.
As a Celtics fan, I have never gotten over this tragedy. I remember the elation I felt when I saw the Celtics make that pick. And I remember all too well the heartbreak of hearing the news that Bias had died. Not much is said these days about Len Bias but every year as the draft nears, thoughts of Len Bias and the senseless tragedy that took his life always come back to haunt me. I have to admit that even now, whenever it gets close to the draft, or when I see videos of him in college, I get tears in my eyes, thinking of what might have been.
I remember... and it still hurts even 24 years later.