Prototypical Celtics: Do C's add another wing to a crowded field?
A reminder about the ground rules: With the Celtics currently sitting at picks Nos. 14, 20, and 22, we’re putting an emphasis on players that could be landed at those spots. We’re eliminating players that should be ticketed for the high lottery (sorry, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Jarrett Culver) but will include players that might be available to Boston if the Celtics wanted to bundle picks and move up.
WING NEED LEVEL: LOW
Things can change in a hurry but the Celtics are in line to bring back Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Semi Ojeleye. What’s more, they have Bird Rights with unrestricted free agent Marcus Morris, meaning the Celtics can splurge to keep him in green depending on how the roster takes shape this summer (though they’d have to be willing to pay him market value, which could jump up as teams strike out on initial targets).
WHAT DO CELTICS SEEK IN A WING?
Jayson Tatum — 3rd, 2017
Semi Ojeleye — 37th, 2017
Jaylen Brown — 3rd, 2016
James Young — 17th, 2014
What exactly do the Celtics look for in a wing? Start with versatility. Celtics coach Brad Stevens likes to mix and match at the wing spots and his perimeter defenders must have an ability to switch and defend multiple positions in order to maximize Boston’s defensive versatility.
Offensive skill sets can vary, from 3-and-D guys such as Ojeleye to more explosive players Tatum and Brown. Shooting is ideal — or teams have to at least respect that a Boston wing is going to shoot the ball.
TYLER HERRO, KENTUCKY
We know for sure that the Celtics aren’t afraid to use a pick in the teens on a 6-foot-6 Kentucky wing with big scoring potential. Alas, James Young’s three seasons with shooting splits of 36.7 FG% and 27.6 3PT% still scar Boston fans who had high hopes for the smooth lefty. Herro, who reportedly "blew away" the Celtics in a workout on Wednesday, didn’t put up eye-popping numbers in his lone season at Kentucky (14 points per game, 35.5 3PT%) but he’s got a stroke and range that will translate in the NBA.
ADMIRAL SCHOFIELD, TENNESSEE
If his Semi Ojeleye-like “bodybuilder” frame wasn’t enough, Schofield said all the right things during his Boston workout. Like when he noted how he wanted to be, "an All-Star in my role. My biggest thing is not coming in trying to score or be a superstar, I just want to help the organization and the team win. That’s my biggest thing, I’m a winner.” That will be music to Stevens’ ears and Schofield’s 3-and-D potential will be intriguing deeper in the draft. What’s more, his workouts with Ojeleye could be the stuff of legend.
MATISSE THYBULLE, WASHINGTON
A defensive maven with an inconsistent shot? Is this Marcus Smart, version 2.0? The 6-foot-5 Thybulle was a defensive bully last season, registering an absurd 3.5 steals and 2.3 blocks per game in his senior year at Washington. The Huskies had a defensive rating of 88 while he was on the floor. The idea of a Smart/Thybulle combo on the perimeter could leave opposing ball-handlers weeping. While his offensive stats dipped his senior year, Thybulle showed potential by shooting 37.9 percent beyond the arc his first three seasons and could be really intriguing for Boston with its late first-round picks. Watch Thybulle's highlight reel here.
NICKEIL ALEXANDER-WALKER, VIRGINIA TECH
You’ll hear two common nuggets about Alexander-Walker: He’s ambidextrous and he’s the cousin of Clippers rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Here’s the rest of the story: He’s a smooth, high-basketball IQ wing who shot 37.4 percent beyond the 3-point arc at Virginia Tech and likes to create for others (four assists per game). If that wasn’t enough for the Celtics to take notice, they'll likely perk up a bit more after Alexander-Walker tied the team’s end-of-workout sprint record after a highly competitive session with some of his primary wing competition.
LU DORT (ARIZONA STATE)
A common comparison for Dort: Marcus Smart. And he didn’t shy away from it when he visited Boston for a recent workout. "I watched him a lot,” said Dort. "I like how competitive and how hard he plays. He’s actually like a big dog on the court and will never back down from anybody.” Dort wants to have a similar impact on opposing players. "Whenever I step on the court,” said Dort, "I want players to feel me.”