Five picks who could contribute to Celtics right away
Five draft picks who could contribute right away
By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSN Celtics Insider
BOSTON – There’s no amount of forecasting that can be done that will accurately predict the direction of the Celtics on draft night when it’s time for them to make the third overall selection.
There are a host of factors that will come into play, among them being whether they are willing to take a young player who will need time to develop, or go with a more ready-to-go player whose upside may not be as great.
Most Celtics fans will choose Door No. 2 and go with a player who has the greatest chance of making an immediate impact.
And while there is a considerable amount of uncertainty with any draft prospect, here’s a look at five players who seem most poised to contribute sooner rather than later if the Celtics decide to take them at No. 3:
5. Marquese Chriss, Washington
Just 18 years old (he’ll be 19 next month), Chriss is the youngest player on this list. What sets him apart from a lot of the younger players in this draft, is the wide range of skills he has shown right now that would allow him to impact games in a multitude of ways. That’s why he has been one of the biggest risers in this year’s draft, going from a likely first-round pick drafted outside of the lottery (top 14), to a player who seems all but a lock at this moment to be among the top 10 selections, who is projected to go as high as No. 3 to Boston. Unlike a lot of the top prospects, Chriss has not been among the best players in his age group for years and because of that, the expectations he has been straddled with leading up to workouts and interviews with teams has been greater than what he’s accustomed to. But to his credit, he has been impressive on all fronts which shows promise that he could come in and make an immediate impact on a Celtics team that could use a player with his across-the-board talent.
4. Jaylen Brown, California
It seems no matter where he falls in the top 10, Brown will be viewed as the “safe pick” in this draft. He has an NBA-ready body, great quickness at attacking the rim and does a good job of rebounding the ball. But his lack of having a reliable perimeter game raises some concerns about whether he can step in and provide help immediately at the offensive end of the floor. However, those who have scouted him have told CSNNE.com that the concerns about his perimeter shooting aren’t as grave as some might believe. “You have to remember that a lot of these kids go to college and have that one thing that they do really well,” a league executive told CSNNE.com. “They don’t stay in school long enough to develop other parts of their game. So when they start getting ready for the draft, you hear about all these weaknesses when the truth is, those weaknesses are weak because they didn’t stay in college long enough to shore up those parts of their game. Jaylen’s a smart player. He’ll figure out what he has to do to be successful.”
3. Kris Dunn, Providence College
Dunn is one of the oldest players in the draft at 22, and is arguably the most ready to step in and contribute right away. Of course for him a lot will have to do with being with a franchise that will afford him an opportunity to see significant minutes immediately. Unfortunately for Dunn and the Celtics, the two just don’t seem to be a nice fit which is why Dunn isn’t at the top of this list. He has shown himself to be a willing passer, he has elite defensive skills and instincts which are the kind of traits that the Celtics would love to keep adding on to their roster. But unless Boston plans to trade some of its perimeter guys, there just doesn’t seem to be a place or clear pathway for Dunn to get on the floor quickly.
2. Jamal Murray, Kentucky
Murray looked to be too good to be true when he shot better than 40 percent on 3s as a freshman for Kentucky, but it’s hard to not be wowed after he made 79 of a 100 3s at his individual workout for the Celtics this week. Murray is a top 10 lock at this point and has done enough to where Boston has to lump him into their list of seven or eight players to consider drafting with the No. 3 pick. He is a lethal 3-point shooter, but can also score coming off screens at a high clip in addition to attacking the rim at times. One can argue that he is the most complete scoring guard in this year’s draft. Of course there are legitimate concerns about him defensively, in part because he’s a fairly average player athletically and doesn’t play with the same level of confidence defensively that he displays when on offense.
1. Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Hield is an example of a player whose greatest strength – making shots – just so happens to be the Celtics’ biggest weakness. Hield was far and away the most accomplished scorer coming into this draft from the college ranks. He began to show more variety and efficiency to his game as a senior, but the bulk of his scoring will come from the perimeter and beyond the 3-point line. He definitely fills a need for the Celtics if they were to select him. But Hield has his flaws, too. While he is a great shooter, for the Celtics he must improve at creating space for himself with the dribble. In addition, his lack of lateral quickness will make it difficult for him to defend smaller players on switches or when teams go with a smaller lineup. And while Murray’s long-term impact appears to be greater than that of Hield, there is a greater sense that the 22-year-old Hield can come in and make his presence felt immediately, more so than the 19-year-old Murray.