The C’s Brooklyn pick: Five potential candidates
The Celtics' Brooklyn pick: Five potential candidates
The Brooklyn Nets are a scrappy team, but on far too many nights their lack of overall talent trumps their valiant efforts.
That’s why they have lost six games decided by five points or less.
But in the NBA, nobody is feeling sorry for the Nets and their struggles – especially the Celtics.
In next June’s NBA draft, the Celtics will have the right to swap their first-round pick for the one that belongs to Brooklyn which should be a top-five selection.
And unlike this most recent NBA draft, this year’s collection of prospects has a bit more quality depth with the possibility of finding a core player for a future title contender, a lot more likely this year than last summer’s draft.
That’s great news for the Celtics, who used their first-round pick from Brooklyn in last June’s NBA draft to select Jaylen Brown.
The rookie has shown flashes of being an impact performer, often saving his best performances for games against the better teams. His career-high 19 points came in his first NBA start against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers last month.
But the Celtics, while fielding a roster with more talent than the previous season, still lack that superstar talent even with the addition of four-time All-Star Al Horford.
Here’s a look at five potential prospects who could change that. Each bring a different skill to the game that could indeed be beneficial on the Celtics’ roster.
Bam Adebayo, F, Kentucky
Summary: Adebayo is well known among recruiting circles and NBA executives, but the average basketball fan has no idea who this guy is. That’s because his game is mostly about force with a dash of flash mixed in on powerful, backboard-rattling dunks. He is a 6-10, 260-pound banger whose success on the floor lies in the fact that he’s extremely athletic and plays with a high motor all the time. The pick that Boston has the right to swap from Brooklyn would likely have to fall outside of the top five for them to serious consider taking Adebayo. But for a Celtics team that has plenty of scorers, adding a legit physical, rebounding presence to the mix of one of the NBA’s worst rebounding teams, isn’t a bad idea, either.
Josh Jackson, F, Kansas
Summary: Jackson has done nothing to diminish his potential to be a solid NBA prospect, averaging 14.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists while filling in the stat sheet with 1.7 steels, 1.5 blocks. He is a tremendous athlete who plays with a high level of toughness which bodes well coming into the NBA where he’ll likely spend some time playing some 4 (power forward) in small-ball lineups. A talented player that would certainly add to Boston’s youthful depth, he provides many of the same talents and skills Boston has in their lottery pick from a year ago, Jaylen Brown.
Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
Summary: A foot sprain delayed his debut for Duke, but it didn’t take long for Tatum to live up to the hype. Tatum, who averages 15 points, 7.0 rebounds on 40 percent shooting from 3-point range this season, is a bit of a throwback when you consider he does most of his scoring with a mid-range game that would mesh well with Boston’s roster which is filled with players who excel at rolling to the basket and those who look for the 3-point shot. Having a player like Tatum, who excels at the mid-range game, would be a major boost to the Celtics.
Lonzo Ball, 6-6, G, UCLA
Summary: There may not be another player in college basketball hotter than Ball is right now. He has the kind of swagger you would expect from a great player who is getting it done on a nightly basis for one of the hottest teams in college basketball. What separates Ball from a lot of point guards is his 6-foot-6 frame and amazing court vision. Just imagine a taller, better-shooting version of Rajon Rondo. The biggest knocks on Ball have to do with his defense, his funky shot mechanics and his pick-and-roll play (specifically, does he get the most out of pick-and-roll switches when he has a big man trying to guard him).
Markell Fultz, G, Washington
Summary: It’s still early, but Fultz looks and plays like the No. 1 pick in June’s NBA draft. The 18-year-old is off to a red-hot start with the Huskies, averaging 22.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. Aside from having great size (6-4) for a point guard, Fultz has huge hands and great ball-handling skills to accompany a perimeter game that allows him to play either guard position and be effective. But he has his flaws as well. At times, he won’t be as locked in defensively as he needs to be and he tends to run hot and cold when it comes to shooting. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine the Celtics passing on Fultz if he’s on the draft board when it’s their time to pick in June.