On the eve of the draft there is a lot of speculation involving trades and attempts by Boston to move up in the draft to get a higher profile prospect. While there is no way of knowing if any change in draft position will happen until it happens, let’s assume the Celtics are just picking 58th, and that’s it. Contrary to what Luke Cyphers says at ESPN.com (note: ESPN Insider) I believe (in a naive-huge-college-basketball-fan sort of way) that there is value in this pick. Previously, Zach talked about two guys that I had on my list of players that the Celtics could steal at 58: Jeff Adrien and Lester Hudson. As Zach spoke about in depth, Adrien is a work horse who is a bigger strong, but shorter power forward and Hudson is a dynamic scorer who fills up the box score, but is old and short for a rookie combo guard.
Obviously anyone taken with the 58th pick is not a complete player, considering they would go much higher if they were, but I still believe there are even more serviceable players that could play for an NBA team out there. Aside from the guys the Celtics brought in to work out, I have narrowed my wish list to four players: Tyrese Rice, Jack McClinton, Tony Gaffney and Garrett Siler.
Tyrese Rice, PG, Boston College: This is an obvious homer-pick for me and I have to get that out of the way first before my friends comment and rat me out for it. I’m from the Boston area and Boston College is my alma mater so please, hear me out before you skip to the next guy. Rice is a strong, heady player that works very hard. Listed at 6’1″ (although standing next to him on the court in BC’s rec plex, he really doesn’t seem taller than 6’0″), Rice is a quick, strong, and fearless guard. He absorbs contact and finishes incredibly well and has an underrated jump shot. When he came in as a freshmen, his jump shot was his strongest asset but teams soon found that they could easily defend it by how low his release is. With the right tutelage, Rice could develop into an Eddie House type guard only with serious dribbling, finishing, distributing, and defensive ability. We’re not going to have Eddie House forever, so attempting to replace him with this pick is not a bad idea.
Jack McClinton, PG, University of Miami: Speaking of drafting an Eddie House replacement, I give you a possible and potential carbon-copy. McClinton is a 6’1″ shooting guard disguised as a point guard, although with decent enough ball-handling and quickness to bring the ball up the floor forwards instead of backwards. The biggest strength of McClinton’s, like House, is his three point shooting. If left alone, McClinton is sure to hit any shot, whether from deep or mid-range as he has such a sweet stroke. Last season, he shot 45% from three and that’s with the opposition’s best guy guarding him. The latest ESPN Mock Draft has McClinton going 52nd to the Pacers while acknowledging that this may be a little high for him. There is a good chance he will fall to Celtics and I think if that were the case, they would be hard pressed not to take him.
Tony Gaffney, F, University of Massachusetts-Amherst: UMASS hasn’t been a household name in college basketball since the Marcus Camby controversy. But, they have had serviceable players that I’ve thought could be role players in the NBA: Rashaun Freeman and Stephane Lasme. Neither has really panned out in the basketball world but were really exciting to watch in college. Gaffney is another former UMASS player who was really exciting to watch in college and someone who I think could be a role player in the NBA. After KG went down, the C’s really lacked front court athleticism on both the offensive end in the ability to finish alley-oop dunks and long, shot blocking ability. Gaffney satisfies both of these elements. Draft Scouts have pegged Gaffney as a Chris Anderson clone which, if true, would save the Celtics money and courtship attmepts trying to sign the Birdman in free agency. While I doubt Gaffney would make an immediate impact in the same vein as Chris Anderson, I do believe that down the road he could be a cheap alternative. The fact that he played locally doesn’t hurt either, I mean remember how excited you were when the Celtics took Troy Bell with the 16th pick…
Garrett Siler, C, Augusta State University: Little is known about Siler other than he is huge and raw. Clearly not ready for the NBA next year, but I see a lot of potential, however I’m a sucker for Shaq-like big men (I still can’t wait to see Sofoklis Schortsanitis and Nathan Jawai play in the NBA). Here is a list of Siler’s strengths from TheDraftReview.com :
• Soft touch around basket
• Solid runner of floor
• Timing on shot blocking
• Keeps ball high
• High Character
• Finishes through contact
• Upper Body Strength
• Gets good position
• Solid back to basket moves
• Soft Hands
After reading that laundry list, the real question is not why? but why not? It’s really never bad practice to gamble on a “high character” guy.
So there you have it. Four guys I think could make an impact in the NBA. Will the Celtics draft any of these guys and if so, will they even make the roster? I have no idea. Each one of these players would be considered a gamble, however, picking any of them 58th is a win-win; either they pan out or you cut them and you have an open roster spot. All in all if they need an open roster spot for a veteran free agent, look for them to trade or sell the pick, or for the pick not to make the team, but those of us who live in the college basketball dream world can’t wait to see how the C’s go with this one.