Prototypical Celtics: More wings that could intrigue C's on draft night
Our 2019 Prototypical Celtics series rolls on with a look at another handful of wings that might intrigue the Celtics in the 2019 NBA Draft. Hop HERE for Part 1 of the wings, HERE for ball-handlers, and HERE for big men.
A reminder about our 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?
Some notable recent picks on the 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 like Ojeleye to more explosive players like Tatum and Brown. Shooting is ideal — or teams have to at least respect that a Boston wing is going to shoot the ball.
KEVIN PORTER JR. (USC)
Based on skill alone, Porter Jr. should seemingly be a lock for the lottery. But he missed time in his lone season at USC due to injury and also got suspended for an off-court incident. The Celtics like to probe college squads for info about any character issues and won’t be scared off by those sort of concerns. Robert Williams had similar injury/character concerns when he slid to Boston at 27 last year.
As Austin Ainge noted after Porter’s recent workout in Boston: "He’s really talented, still young, has some growing up to do, but the upside is legit.”
DARIUS BAZLEY, PRINCETON HIGH SCHOOL
The Celtics didn’t shy from prep-to-pro types back when the league allowed it (drafting Al Jefferson, Gerald Green out of high school). Bazley has been in Boston’s backyard at times this past season, inking a $1 million internship with New Balance while waiting to become eligible for the 2019 draft. He’s raw and has no college résumé to gauge. But a year after Mitchell Robinson emerged as a second-round steal for the Knicks, teams could be willing to roll the dice on this soon-to-be 19-year-old mystery box.
SEKOU DOUMBOUYA, FRANCE
The Celtics used a mid first-round pick to select a French forward in 2016 when they landed Guerschon Yabusele at 16. Doumbouya is widely regarded as a top-10 talent so Boston might have to splurge to move up for a chance a a player that oozes with potential. He’s exactly the versatile defender that coach Brad Stevens craves and would add another dash of youthful athleticism to Boston’s roster.
BRANDON CLARKE, GONZAGA
The Celtics are no stranger to using a lottery pick on a Gonzaga junior with Canadian roots (Kelly Olynyk, 2013). Clarke, however, is a much different player than floor-stretching Olynyk. Even at 6-8, Clarke might classify closer to a big than a wing, but he possesses the defensive versatility that could leave him guarding wings more often at the NBA level. Clarke blocked a staggering 3.1 shots per game last season. Much has been made about his age — Clarke will turn 23 before the start of training camp — and his lack of a jumper but he plays with elite level grit and athleticism.
NASSIR LITTLE, NORTH CAROLINA
Danny Ainge has often eyed former top high school recruits whose stock might have slipped a bit with humdrum freshman seasons (Avery Bradley jumps to mind). Little had serious buzz coming out of high school but played just 18.2 minutes per game during his freshman season at North Carolina and his stat line (9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 26.9 3-PT %) certainly doesn’t leap off the page. Still, Little has an NBA-ready frame and has the defensive versatility to carve out a role if the Celtics were to snag him.