The NBA Draft is a week away and seeing as the Celtics are going into it with four draft picks, they’ll undoubtedly be very busy that night.
Will the Celtics make all four picks for themselves? That remains to be seen. There have been reports that the C’s are looking to move up in the draft. If that’s the case, they may need to part with some of their later draft picks to do it.
There’s also a chance they package a player or two, and draft picks, for proven talent to make an even deeper playoff push for the upcoming season.
But if the price isn’t right, the Celtics could make their picks and wait to see what happens in free agency. Here are some options for them at picks No. 28, No. 33, and No. 45.
No. 28 – RJ Hunter, SG, Georgia State: Hunter is considered by many to be the best pure shooter in the draft, but not too long ago that didn’t matter much to NBA teams. Now? Oh, it matters. Take a look at this year’s NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors. That team thrived off of its lethal backcourt of deadeye shooters in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Now, obviously, those are lofty expectations for Hunter, but he has the range, the body type of an NBA shooting guard (though he could bulk up a bit) and the basketball smarts to make it happen. NBA teams are looking to stretch the floor more than ever, and Hunter would allow the Celtics to do that. The C’s may need to slide up a few spots to nab him.
No. 33 – Chris McCullough, PF, Syracuse: McCullough has a real chance of sliding out of the first round, and if that happens, he could be an exceptional value pick for the Celtics at No. 33. So why might McCullough slide? Well, he played just half of one season at Syracuse after tearing his ACL, and he hasn’t been able to take part in any type of workouts leading up to the draft. Still, at 6-foot-10, 220 pounds, McCullough has tons of potential and an all-around game suitable for the new NBA. It’s hard to believe he’d help the Celtics much early on, but he could be a building block.
No. 45 – Mouhammadou Jaiteh, C, France: Before you scoff at finding talent this far down the draft, know that this year’s Sixth Man of the Year, Toronto’s Lou Williams, was the 45th pick in 2005. Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas was the very last pick in 2011, too. The 20-year-old Jaiteh, being a 6-foot-11, 247-pound center from France is clearly a project pick. But if you’re gonna take a project big man, the risk isn’t so bad at this point in the draft compared to the first round (see: Melo, Fab).