BOSTON -- For years, we’ve seen the Celtics come into the draft lottery with a favorable chance of coming away with the top overall pick, only to leave dejected at the missed opportunity to add a no-brainer, franchise-caliber talent.
While the Celts certainly would have loved to have once again had a lottery (top-14) pick in June, they knew going in that coming away with what would have been a top-3 pick for the third straight year -- and mind you, all of the picks would have come from another team, meaning Boston didn’t have to suck as a team to land it -- was a long shot. A 2.87 percent chance of happening long shot.
The pick they had their eyes on belonged to the Los Angeles Lakers, which -- had L.A. gotten one of top five picks -- would have come to Boston courtesy of the trade with Philadelphia last year that landed the Celtics the No. 3 pick (Jayson Tatum) in 2017. Instead, the Sixers keep it.
By not getting the Lakers pick this year, Boston will get the first-round pick from Sacramento or Philadelphia next year, whichever is better (let’s just call it the Kings pick to save space, shall we?).
However, if the Kings’ pick is the top overall selection they keep it, which would then mean Boston would wind up with Philly’s first-rounder next year. That will probably be somewhere in the 20s.
So Boston -- for now -- will go into this June’s draft with only its own first-rounder, the 27th overall selection.
While it’s unlikely to find a franchise-caliber talent this deep into the draft, there’s still the potential for Boston to land a player who can come in and contribute in some capacity sooner rather than later.
Here’s a look at three players who may be around near the end of the first round and appear to be good fits for the Celtics:
JONTAY PORTER, F, MISSOURI
While he has spent most of his hoops career in the shadow of his highly acclaimed brother Michael, Jontay showcased this past season that he too has NBA-caliber potential. He has a high basketball I.Q., has a fairly versatile skillset and surprises opponents with better athleticism than advertised. Has the potential to be one of the late-round steals of this draft because there’s a lot to his game that folks haven’t seen or ignored because of his brother Michael who is likely to be among the top 10 players selected in this draft.
JEVON CARTER, G WEST VIRGINIA
The 22-year-old Carter is considered old by NBA first-round standards, but is as physically tough as you’ll find among this year’s draft entrants. His calling card is gritty, physical defense which as you can imagine, would be an ideal addition for the Celtics. At this point, being selected late in the first round might be a bit of a stretch for Carter. But if he can wow teams in workouts which is possible, and the Celtics believe they won’t re-sign Marcus Smart this summer, Carter could evolve into a player they consider at this point in the draft.
CHIMEZIE METU, PF/C, USC
It might be a reach for him late in the first round, but Metu has strengths that would fit in well with the Celtics. He is one of the better rim-runners in this draft at his position, and has shown the ability to impact games as a scorer or facilitator and has a quick first-step which would allow him to beat players off the dribble which would only add to a Celtics roster full of versatile talent.