Top 5 shooters in the NBA Draft
5. Corey Hawkins, G, UC-Davis
Summary: His father Hersey Hawkins was an exceptional shooter and Corey has shown he too has a sweet stroke from beyond the 3-point line. A career 41.3-percent shooter on 3s at UC-Davis, Hawkins led the nation this past season by connecting on a staggering 48.8 percent of his 3s. The challenge he’ll have at the next level is showing he can still manage to get off similar shots and knock them down against what will on most nights be bigger, longer defenders than he dealt with in college. Only 6-foot-2, Hawkins does not have ideal size to play shooting guard and lacks the freakish wingspan teams would want in an undersized combo guard. Still, as an explosive scorer from 3-point range, off the dribble or in catch-and-shoot situations, Hawkins will have a chance to play in the NBA.
CHANCES HE’LL BE A CELTIC: Unlikely. Hawkins’ shooting skills certainly make him an attractive target, but Boston’s depth and versatility in the backcourt might prove prohibitive to his chances at cracking a rotation that’s very deep. Although the Celtics have a pair of second-round picks (No. 33 and 45), selecting Hawkins at either spot would be a reach.
EXPECTED DRAFT POSITION: Late second round to undrafted.
4. Tyler Harvey, G, Eastern Washington
Summary: One of the nation’s best scorers this past season, Harvey is the rare talent with deep, long-range shooting ability, who takes a ton of shots and, for the most part, is efficient in getting his points. If all you had to focus on was his offensive game, he would be all set. But the rest of his game raises lots of questions about what he’ll do at the next level. He has below-average athleticism, which shows in his defensive, termed by one NBA executive to CSNNE.com at the pre-draft combine in May as “a hot mess.” Throw in the fact that he’s not a great passer or rebounder for his size and position, and you start to understand why NBA teams are unsure as to what to make of him and his chances of being a successful NBA player.
CHANCES HE'LL BE A CELTIC: A lot will depend on what the Celtics’ options are with their second-round picks (No. 33 and No. 45). The 33rd overall pick would be too high for a player with Harvey’s limitations. Taking him with the 45th pick would be a bit of a reach as well, even if Harvey’s strength – shooting 3s – would address one of Boston’s biggest weaknesses.
EXPECTED DRAFT POSITION: Second round.
3. Devin Booker, G, Kentucky
Summary: Despite a star-studded (and very crowded) roster at Kentucky, Booker didn’t waste any time distinguishing himself as one of the Wildcats best shooters and one of the best in the country. Only 18 years old, Booker is a great catch-and-shoot player, which allows him the ability to fit into just about any system. He’s more likely to get blown by defensively than blow you away with his athleticism. But he’s an extremely bright player, despite his youth and understands how to free himself up to be an effective scorer.
CHANCES HE’LL BE A CELTIC: Not great. As we get closer to the draft, the chances of Boston landing him decrease. He began the draft process as a mid-first rounder but has impressed executives to the point where he’s a sure lottery (top 14) pick. Hard to imagine Boston trying to move up in the draft and to select Booker a year after drafting James Young, who plays the same position and is also a teenager.
EXPECTED DRAFT POSITION: Lottery (top 14).
2. D’Angelo Russell, G, Ohio State
Summary: Russell is hands-down the most complete guard in this draft. He has tremendous size for the position (6-5), great point guard instincts and just an unteachable feel for the game that makes him a player that’s as close to a can’t-miss prospect as you’ll find in this draft. Still, the part of his game that gets very little attention or praise, is his shooting. He shot 41 percent as a freshman from 3-point range. And keep in mind, he did this with most his oppoents' attention defensively paid to him. Russell is the kind of point guard that NBA teams are looking for: a playmaker with the size to play both guard positions and the ability to shoot.
CHANCES HE’LL BE A CELTIC: Highly unlikely. It’s hard to imagine Russell will fall any lower than No. 4. Boston coming up with enough assets to entice a top 4 team in to give that pick up is just not realistic.
EXPECTED DRAFT POSITION: Top 4.
1. R.J. Hunter, G, Georgia State
Summary: The NCAA Tournament was a coming-out party to get a glimpse at a player who has been on the NBA radar for a couple of seasons. Hunter has a quick, deadly accurate release that makes him a threat to score whenever he has the ball. And unlike a decent number of shooters in this draft, Hunter already has NBA range, so there won’t be as big an adjustment curve along those lines. His ball-handling skills stand out as an area he has to continue to work at, but his shot-making and an improved in-between game offensively will keep him in the NBA for many, many years to come.
CHANCES HE’LL BE A CELTIC: Decent. He has seen his stock rise in recent weeks to where he’ll be a possible option for the Celtics to choose with their No. 16 pick. Boston has lots of guards on their roster already, but no one comes close to shooting the ball as well as Hunter does. And as we pointed out earlier, the Celtics don’t need to add shot-takers; they need shot-makers. And in this draft, Hunter is arguably the best of the lot at that particular skill.
EXPECTED DRAFT POSITION: Middle-to-late teens in the first round.