Tonight Adam Silver will be on stage announcing that the Philadelphia 76ers will be taking Ben Simmons with the first overall selection of the 2016 NBA Draft. As a surprise to nobody, Brandon Ingram will follow that choice by joining a steady rebuild in Los Angeles, hoping to turn around a franchise that is captivated by the shadows of four of the greatest ten players in NBA history.
What happens next could potentially influence the rest of the draft for the remaining teams. Congratulations to Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Lakers, your work here is done. Those two teams have already secured the two best players in this draft and can only make another big splash via trade. With the Boston Celtics picking third, it leaves the entire first round on hinges and creates a situation that considers the Celtics the linchpin of the 2016 NBA Draft.
Once the Celtics make their selection, or trade the third overall pick, the dominoes will fall.
The Boston Celtics have eight (!!) total picks in this years draft and have given no spoilers as to what they plan to do with any of them. Now, obviously a playoff team isn’t going to draft eight different rookies to their roster, so it’s expected they’ll package together picks to move up, or else trade for a franchise cornerstone piece. However, the most intriguing pick is obviously the third overall slot they acquired from the Brooklyn Nets.
In my opinion, there a several things that the Celtics could and should do with that pick. Here is a list of scenarios I’d be considering if I was Danny Ainge:
If They Keep The Pick:
Just so there isn’t confusion or a reason for you to blow up my Twitter mentions, this is from the perspective that the Celtics will simply add a player to the roster they currently have.
For example, Kris Dunn is a STUD, but he doesn’t make much sense on the Celtics current roster. If the Celtics take Dunn, they’ll have to juggle their guards. Depending on what they can get for Thomas, Bradley, Smart, etc. will determine how great of a pick that would be.
Celtics Rookie Rank: 1. Marquese Chriss, Forward, Washington
6’9″, 225 lbs, 7’1″ wingspan, Freshman
24.9 minutes, 13.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 56.1 eFG%, 35.0 3P%, 68.5 FT%
Strengths: Best athlete in the class… above average shooter… natural scorer… elite body control on drives… excellent hands… scores well from the post… plus rebounder…athleticism shows flashy highlights on both ends… mismatch due to speed/size combination… quick release.
Weaknesses: Not a great defender… poor creator and passer… can get lazy… awful body language… fouls often.
Summary: Chriss is an athletic freak-show that allows the Celtics an opportunity to go for a homerun with the third overall pick. He could be the future of the team as he has a niche to score the basketball. With the correct development, Chriss could turn into a monster when improving his ballhandling and defensive issues. The Celtics two biggest needs are shooting and athleticism and there isn’t a better athlete in the class that can provide both.
Celtics Rookie Rank: 2. Jaylen Brown, Forward, California
6’7″, 222 lbs, 7’1″ wingspan, Freshman
27.6 minutes 14.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 47.1 eFG%, 29.4 3P%, 65.4 FT%
Strengths: Explosive athlete… bulldog build… lockdown defender… versatile defender…strong rebounder… strong ballhandler… playmaker… strong slasher to the rim… finishes well and creatively… crafty scoring… knows his body.
Weaknesses: Shot selection… poor shooting… basketball awareness… goofy shooting form… high turnover kid.
Summary: While it’s been reported that Jaylen Brown needs to improve as a shooter, he made 76/100 threes in his workout with the Celtics. The poor shooting percentages could have been a result from the poor shot selection, or else he has already started to put in the work on his shot. Brown is a hard-working bulldog that brings athleticism, defense, and offensive creativity to a roster that needs some of each. He’d fit in great alongside Smart and Crowder.
Celtics Rookie Rank: 3. Dragan Bender, Croatia
7’1″, 216 lbs, 7’2″ wingspan, 18-years-old
12.1 minutes, 4.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 56.0 eFG%, 41.4 3P%, 76.0 FG%
Strengths: Elite shooter for his size… smart basketball player… potential to become a fantastic rim protector… switches well on defense… closes out on smaller players well… good rim runner… fluid with the ball.
Weaknesses: Too thin to play with current body in the NBA… didn’t play a ton for his team… not overly athletic… overpowered easy when opponents attack his chest.
Summary: While playing in a goofy role overseas, Bender has shown potential to translate well to the NBA. He is a great floor spacer as he can pull bigs out to the three-point line as he has proven he can shoot at a high rate. His defensive potential brings another element the Celtics desperately need, rim protection. While the Celtics would have to wait at least 2-3 years to see his potential, I think I’d rather gamble on the naturally athletic forwards with size in Chriss and Brown.
Celtics Rookie Rank: 4. Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
6’4″, 214 lbs, 6’9″ wingspan, Senior
35.4 minutes, 25.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 62.8 eFG%, 46.5 3P%, 88.0 FT%
Strengths: Best shooter in the class… scores the ball well with creativity… flashed NBA scoring moves at Oklahoma… showed patterns of improvement… plus ball handler… high basketball IQ… clutch… great rebounding for size… underrated creator… fantastic free throw shooter… tremendous work ethic.
Weaknesses: Needs to improve his finishing at the rim… needs to reconsider his shot selection… doesn’t have great NBA size… not explosive… poor defender.
Summary: Hield is a shooting specialist and will have trouble defending NBA players. While he was a transcendent offensive player this last year at college, scoring doesn’t always translate to the NBA. I think Hield is the best shooter in the class and could solely be taken by the Celtics for that reason, but I don’t think it’ll be at three.
Trading the Pick:
If they were to select a player — especially Kris Dunn — there is a high chance that it is traded to a team for a better player.
With the team coming off a 48-win season and on the edge of title contention, Danny Ainge has made it clear that he’d prefer to add a player who can immediately improve the roster and improve the core of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder. Trading the pick for a superstar, All-Star, or potential star isn’t a guarantee, but it is a dream among the streets of Boston.
Here is a list of trades the Celtics could offer that the other team would have to at least think about:
Philadelphia: Jahlil Okafor
Boston: 2016 3rd (Kris Dunn)
Philadelphia: Nerlens Noel
Boston: 2016 3rd (Kris Dunn)
Chicago: Jimmy Butler, 2016 14th
Boston: Avery Bradley, Terry Rozier, 2016 3rd, 2016 16th, 2016 23rd
Milwaukee: Jabari Parker
Boston: 2016 3rd, 2016 23rd
Sacramento: DeMarcus Cousins
Boston: Marcus Smart, Amir Johnson, RJ Hunter, 2016 3rd, 2016 16th, 2017 Brooklyn
Utah: Gordon Hayward:
Boston: Avery Bradley, 2016 3rd, 2016 35th