Around this time in June or likewise in April before the NFL Draft, everybody suddenly becomes an expert like ESPN’s Mel Kiper or Chad Ford. When it comes to the NBA Draft, the only source I trust is nbadraft.net since that’s basically the only thing they do all year.
On Thursday night, the Celtics have the 21st and 22nd selections along with the 51st pick in the second round. I’ll focus on the first round picks and use the website’s projections to make my opinion clear on whether I think they will be a boom or bust. I’ll focus on picks 17-26, assuming Boston doesn’t trade up or down:
17. Kendall Marshall (North Carolina, point guard)
His injury might have cost the Tar Heels a shot at a title in April. An excellent passer, he could be a perfect backup point guard behind Rajon Rondo, something the Celtics have lacked for years.
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19. Andrew Nicholson (St. Bonaventure, center/power forward)
Good size and post moves, he led the Bonnies to their first NCAA tournament berth in 12 years. The senior is experienced and mature, two assets for the C’s would like if they want to make another run.
22. Jared Sullinger (Ohio State, power forward)
He wasn’t invited to the draft, showing how far his stock has dropped since he was a projected lottery pick after his freshman season. There are also worries about his back. However, if his medicals check out I would take him in a heartbeat. Tough, dependable with a polished inside game that the Celtics severely lack.
24. Festus Ezeli (Vanderbilt, center)
It’s easy to make fun (I do my share) of Vanderbilt since they almost always get bounced in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but Ezeli could be a hidden gem. A senior who is smart and a great defender would definitely have a spot on the Celtics, who desperately need size inside and a defensive presence to go with Kevin Garnett (assuming he returns).
26. Will Barton (Memphis, swingman)
The Tigers dropped off big time since John Calipari and Derrick Rose left but believe me when I tell you that Barton can play. He could potentially be a steal late in the first round although he might be a reach where the Celts pick. If Boston picks him, the first stop should be the North End to put some weight on his skinny frame.
18. Marquis Teague (Kentucky, point guard)
The freshman led the Wildcats to the NCAA title in his only collegiate season but he looks like Brandon Knight (Pistons) 2.0: A point guard that should have stayed in college another year to develop some more.
20. Terrence Jones (Kentucky, power forward)
He underachieved in college so I don’t know how you can expect him to suddenly explode in the NBA. Talented but wildly inconsistent, he would not be a good fit here at all.
21. Perry Jones (Baylor, forward)
Much like Terrence (not related), he has all the skills but if you watched Baylor in any important game this season, particularly the NCAA tournament, he was mostly invisible. No thanks.
23. Quincy Miller (Baylor, forward)
I would say basically the same things about Perry’s college teammate. No type of consistency from this guy who is so athletic and capable of dominating when he wants to.
25. Fab Melo (Syracuse, center)
I don’t think the new Webster’s Dictionaries have been published yet for 2012 but if they have, I’m pretty sure there would be a picture of Melo’s goofy face under the word “bust.” He is a potential game-changer defensively but lazy habits on and off the court probably doom any impact he will have in the NBA unless he grows up in a hurry.