For the second year in a row, the Boston Celtics find themselves holding tight to the 14th overall pick, the last pick in the lottery - and they didn’t have to suck to get it.
A previous trade included the Celtics acquiring the Memphis Grizzlies’ top-6 protected pick in this year’s draft, a pick that will now be conveyed to Boston after Thursday night’s lottery drawing which included the Grizzlies being slotted with the 14th overall pick.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will have the top overall pick, followed by Golden State, Charlotte and Chicago rounding out the top four selections.
Knowing that the 14th pick belongs to the Celtics, who should they target?
Because there is no consensus top overall pick, there’s not a lot of clarity as you get deeper into the draft.
However, there are a handful of players who may be around when the Celtics pick at No. 14 who could potentially help them in some capacity next season or at the very least, provide them some much-needed depth.
1. Jaden McDaniels, 6-11, F, Washington
While McDaniels’ lithe frame (he reportedly weighs 185 pounds) certainly raises some concerns about his strength and durability at the next level, he has shown the potential to be a good finisher at the rim with a nice mid-range game. Boston is always looking to add versatility and depth, two traits McDaniels would be expected to provide.
2. Devin Vassell, 6-7, SG, Florida State
Shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range each of the last two seasons, his near 7-foot wingspan will allow him to display the kind of defensive versatility that everyone knows Brad Stevens absolutely loves to have on the floor all the time.
3. Precious Achiuwa, 6-9, F, Memphis
Tremendous upside as a “small-ball” center who isn’t bulky but deceptively stronger than he looks; excellent nose for the ball as a rebounder, shot-blocker. His offensive game is very much a work in progress but on this Celtics roster, that won’t be something they’ll look to get from him early on.
4. Aaron Nesmith, 6-6, SG/SF, Vanderbilt
One of the best pure shooters in this year’s draft, above-average catch-and-shoot player with a quick release. Athleticism isn’t great which could be a problem defensively. However, surrounding him with players who can attack the rim should create open looks that he is more than capable of knocking down consistently.
5. Theo Maledon, 6-5, PG, International
Maledon is a solid playmaker who isn’t going to wow you with his athleticism or passing or shot-making. His best skill is his consistency when it comes to running a team effectively while also being a solid defender. He is an ideal NBA backup with the upside and size to potentially grow into a role-playing starter.
Draft-and-stash is always an option, but it’s unlikely Boston would use their lottery pick when they have two others (No. 26 and No. 30) in the first round, too.