Five possibilities with Celtics' Brooklyn pick
Five possibilities with Celtics' Brooklyn pick
The Celtics have lost two in a row, fallen to the ninth spot in the East and are frankly, feeling pretty crappy right about now.
But they must remember … they do have Brooklyn’s first round pick this year which barring a basketball miracle, will be a top-five pick.
It’s a no-brainer that if the Celtics are fortunate enough to wind up with the number one overall pick, they’ll take LSU’s Ben Simmons.
Beyond the 6-foot-10 freshman sensation, there’s really no clear-cut star in the making to come out of this draft class.
But there’s still talent out there, and the Celtics will be in position to pounce on it.
So who should they target?
Here’s a look at five possible players not named Ben Simmons, who would be good fits for Boston with the pick they will get from Brooklyn:
5. Jaylen Brown, 6-7, 225, SF, Cal, Freshman
Stats: 14.8 points, 5.9 rebounds. Shoots 47.9 percent from the field, 28.8 percent on 3s.
The skinny: One of the few college freshman with an NBA-body, Brown can score in a multitude of ways. But he’s most comfortable attacking the rim and finishing around the basket. He has to become a more consistent perimeter shooter, but he has all the physical tools to become a high-impact NBA player sooner rather than later. Because of his size, strength and suspect shooting touch, he will remind many of a bigger version of Marcus Smart. But Smart came into the league as an elite defender. Brown isn’t bad, but he doesn’t come into the league with a defense-first reputation like Smart did.
4. Buddy Hield, 6-4, 215, SG, Oklahoma, Senior
Stats: 26.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists. Shoots 51.4 percent from the field, 51.5 percent on 3s.
The skinny: You would be hard-pressed to find another player who has improved his draft stock this year more than Hield. The big knock on him is that he will be a bit undersized in the NBA, but with small-ball lineups being the way teams are going now, adding guys who can shoot the ball regardless of their height, is at a higher premium than past years. Already loaded with guards, Hield doesn’t seem a natural fit for Boston. But for a team that desperately needs more shooters, Hield has to be a consideration if the Celtics are picking somewhere close to the middle of the lottery (top 14).
3. Kris Dunn, 6-4, 220, PG, Providence, Junior
Stats: 17.2 points, 6.7 assists, 6.2 rebounds. Shoots 46.4 percent from the field, 36.8 percent on 3s.
The skinny: Practically in the Celtics’ backyard, Dunn surprised many when he decided to return to Providence after being a virtual lock to be a first-round pick last year. The move paid off, because Dunn is now a virtual lock to be in the lottery (top 14 picks). He is an above-average athlete with great speed. And defensively, he has great instincts which has allowed him to average 2.9 steals per game this season. But he can be a bit turnover-prone, has had some injury issues in the past with his shoulder, and doesn’t shoot the ball particularly well from the free throw line (he’s at 68.1 percent this year, down from 68.6 last season). But if the Celtics make some moves and clear out a couple of guards between now and the draft via trade, Dunn becomes a lot more attractive than he is currently when you put his game up against the depth that exists now in the Celtics backcourt.
2. Dragan Bender, 7-0, 215, PF/C, Croatia (Maccabi Tel Aviv)
Stats: 3.9 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists. Shoots 43.4 percent from the field, 43.8 percent on 3s.
The skinny: Only 18 years old, the 7-footer would be a little bit of a reach for Boston if the Celtics are selecting in the top-5, but Bender might be worth the gamble in what’s shaping up to be an extremely unpredictable draft beyond Ben Simmons. The Celtics enough youth on their team as things stand now. But Bender has been a dominant player within every age group he has played and that gives some hope to whatever team that drafts him that he could become the next Kristaps Porzingis who is the front-runner for this year’s Rookie of the Year award.
1. Brandon Ingram, 6-9, 195, SF, Duke, Freshman
Stats: 16.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists. Shoots 48.1 percent from the field, 40.4 percent on 3s.
The skinny: This draft could be Greg Oden-Kevin Durant, the sequel with Ben Simmons the runaway pick for the No. 1 pick but the No. 2 guy, Durant, winds up having a better pro career. And Ingram has a Durant-like game being 6-9 with a sick, off-the-chain wingspan of 7-3. That allows him to shoot over similar-sized defenders which he loves to do. His lithe frame makes the need to add strength even more important than it is for most NBA rookies. Because of the aforementioned length, he covers a lot of ground with very few steps required so keeping him out of the paint will be a challenge for players at this level. He would be an ideal player for the Celtics as they are currently constructed, to build around. He has a lot of tough-minded veterans on the roster now, but his talent would give the Celtics a legit superstar-in-the-making who poses a matchup problem who in time should become a consistent matchup problem for opponents. It’s hard to imagine Ingram slipping any further than the No. 3 pick in the draft.