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Drafting Some Needs

 

The Celtics offseason situation would be pretty daunting for any GM. Forget the fact they have a popular head coach in limbo, with just five players under contract (assuming Pierce opts in which is no sure thing, and Sheed is retiring) the Celtics already have 55 million dollars committed for next year between those players. Then you factor in one of those guys could be out well into next season (Kendrick Perkins). Yikes.

So the Celtics are over the cap, have several holes to fill and still want to compete for a Championship next year? That’s a challenge if I ever saw one, and there are a very limited number of chips that Danny Ainge holds to improve the team, one of the biggest coming tonight with the NBA Draft.

With that in mind, let’s just say Danny Ainge has several places he could turn with the 19th pick in the draft this evening. Trading up, trading down, it’s all on the table. The key thing to remember is that Ainge needs bodies, so no matter what moves he makes tonight, expect 2-3 new Celtics to be introduced when all is said and done this evening.

Still it’s tough to hypothesize which way Ainge could turn. Still with the knowledge of the free agents available, it’s safe to make a few educated guesses on what way the C’s will turn with their picks this evening.

1) The Celtics really need a young big
If you asked me last month, I would have told you the frontcourt would have been an area of strength for this team entering the offseason. Fast forward to now, with Rasheed Wallace likely out of the picture and your starting center potentially out until December, there are some pressing issues to say the least.

Size, rebounding and athleticism was this team’s achilles heel against Los Angeles and it is something that needs to be addressed. Zach took a look earlier this week at the big man free agent market and it’s slim pickings for the amount of dough the C’s are able to spend. With Perkins and Big Baby looming as free agents after next season, Boston needs to lock up a younger guy, someone who can help this team continue to contend next year in what will likely be this team’s last hurrah.

That need to help now makes me believe the younger raw centers that this draft is full of with guys like Daniel Orton, Solomon Albai and Hassan Whiteside, I expect the C’s to stay away from them. Too much risk, not enough of a chance they will help right away. If they do grab one of these guys that are likely projects….it will be a bit disconcerting, perhaps signaling the team is looking more towards the long term future instead of trying to make one more run right now. Let’s just say I’m hoping it’s not the case. If the C’s trade down though, it’s possible they would take a risk on one of those centers, but not at 19.

There are though plenty of polished big men (not centers) that should be hanging around for Ainge with the 19th pick or if he trades down. Guys like Damian James, Craig Brackens, Larry Sanders, and you never know, maybe a guy like Cole Aldrich or Patrick Patterson falls to them somehow.

No matter what, Ainge should have options in the late 1st round/early 2nd round of this draft, if he is in fact trading down. And who could blame him if he does that? He has a strong track record picking up seasoned NBA ready picks in latter stages of the NBA Draft throughout his tenure with the C’s with more hits (Ryan Gomes, Leon Powe, Glen Davis, Delonte West, Tony Allen) than misses (J.R. Giddens, Gabe Pruitt, Marcus Banks). Ainge needs a couple hits tomorrow night and needs it in a big way.

2) The Draft is Deep at the 2/3 Spot, but so is the Free Agency Class
The backup swingman position should be priority 1A entering this offseason as far as I’m concerned. You need a guy that can play 25-30 minutes, help spread the floor with the second team, and keep the onus off of Ray Allen’s (he’ll be back barring another team grossly overpaying him) and Paul Pierce’s minutes all regular season long and into the postseason.

One of the main problems for this team in Game 7 is both of those guys ran out of gas, since Doc had no one he could trust to put in for either guy for an extended period. You can’t blame for Rivers for that, but it definitely came back to burn him as the team collapsed offensively until it was too late.

So why not turn to a younger guy in the draft to step into that role? It’s certainly possible and Ainge will have options again in what is a very deep draft. If Ainge does in fact make a deal to pick up an additional pick at the end of the 1st round or beginning of the 2nd round, there are more than enough candidates to give the C’s great value at his spot, with plenty of experienced college guys capable of helping now.

Names like Quincy Pondexter, Darington Hobson, James Anderson, Jordan Crawford are just a few of the guys that have the potential of dropping into the bottom third of the 1st round.

That being said, I could see the team filling this role in free agency, where there are a number of attractive candidates available for some, if not all of the mid level exception type money. Mike Miller. Kyle Korver. Raja Bell. John Salmons. Rasual Butler.

We’ll have more in-depth profiles on who fits later next week, but you clearly have better options there than you do in the big man free agent class, so it might be wiser to spend limited resources there. Clearly, a lot depends on the futures of Pierce, and both Allens, but even if all of them come back, there’s still a need for immediate help.

3) The team needs a backup point guard….it’s just not the highest priority right now
Pretty self explanatory there. If the Celtics do move down and pick up multiple picks, I wouldn’t put it past Danny to take a flier on a guy in the 2nd round, or if someone like Eric Bledsoe falls to him somehow. Don’t count on it though, with the Celtics having other needs looming larger.

Prediction: Celtics trade down for two picks in 25-40 range (as rumored) and C’s pick up a swingman that can shoot and larger power forward than can score. If he holds on to 19, he goes with a polished power forward. Whatever happens though, I wouldn’t count on Danny standing pat. He has too many needs not to do something.

Now it’s time for you guys to make some predictions. What will Ainge do? Who are some names you think the C’s could be eyeing? Any sleepers?

  • steve

    I like Damian James from what I’ve heard. Mature player with no reported issues. Also a good motor and likes to rebound. A scoring forward that can also rebound, that would be nice. So many of these young big men scare me with their downside looming. We’ve shown even Baby can play center they just need help from an athletic forward that can rebound.

  • JP

    I think they should take Whiteside if he’s there at 19. Go look at the game film on this kid…a 7 foot freak athlete with an underrated outside shot, and the longest wingspan I’ve ever seen. He would be awesome with Rondo throwing him some alley-oops, and he averaged 5.4 blocked shots a game in college. Everything I’ve seen on him says he could be another Marcus Camby, but he looks much more mobile and has a much better shooting touch to me. He looks more like a cross between Dwight Howard and KG.

  • Ian

    DRAFT JON SCHEYER WITH THE 52nd PICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Josh A

    Anyone have any updates on Perk trade rumors?

  • Cptn Bubbles

    I do blame Doc for not using the bench more. It’s not like the bench didn’t win a finals game for us. We’re not talking about playing the bench huge minutes, but some minutes were definitely needed. Doc gambled on the starters playing as hard as they possibly could for far too long & lost. When you are playing with max energy & intensity you’ve got to give them a break. Don’t make excuses. Don’t pass the buck. Learn from it & develop your bench during the regular season.

    We don’t need Perk for the start of the season, but we definitely need Perk for the post season. You are not going to defend Dwight with a rook. KG can’t handle him. Sheed is gone. We’ve got to keep the guys who have proven themselves in the post season. Too much change & gambling on theoretical guys is reckless. We thought Quis was going to be big…..post season=zero. Look at Philly thinking Elton Brand would be great=no post season. We’ve got guys who are battle tested & proven. Keep them. The bench is what needs to change & get better. Strengthen the bench.

    If Paul & Ray stay then you’ve got to go bigs all the way in the draft or trade the picks for bigs. We need rebounding & defense #1 post game #2. We don’t need another big who wants to stand outside & shoot jump shots. We need bigs with some height. You’ve got to plan ahead. If we face the lake again you need a big who is big enough to block out Bynum, Gasol, or Odom…. probably 6’10″ or taller. Paul Pierce size is not going to get it done. Brendan Haywood would be perfect or get someone his size. We are NOT going to win getting pounded on the boards.

  • mike

    take patterson, he was a big timer before the youngens got to kentucky, he can spell kg and perk along with baby…and he worked hard on his range before last year, so he’d probably fit nicely into the offense…

  • mike

    filling out the roster shouldn’t be a huge deal…shelden or scal could/should take vet minimum…wasn’t this shelden’s first post season? with the experience he could provide some of the rebounding we need at a low cost, if nothing else, another big body…

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    I love all the commenters here, but you can’t seriously say a dude that played at Marshall looks like a combination of Howard and KG. That’s the same thing as saying he looks like the greatest front court player in the history of earth.

  • Banner18?

    I like Hassan Whiteside at 19. He’s young and is a legit 7 seven footer. He would provide the Celtics with a much needed burst of athleticism and size off the bench. Anyone coming into a proven winning team with vets like KG Ray and PP will learn fast. He fits our needs and has considerable upside as well.

  • Josh A

    @Zach, How do you like Joe Johnson and Monta Ellis replacing Pierce and Allen. Great scoring punch and young talent to go with rondo. We could develop a Suns type of Offense

  • Zack

    I actually LOL’d @ Zach
    If he was the greatest front court player on earth then he most likely wouldn’t be there at 19

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    There’s no question you can have Monta Ellis and #6 right now. But to me it’s not worth it–not even close. Ellis is owed $44 million over the next FOUR seasons. There might not be a worse contract in the league. He’s under-sized for the two spot, selfish, etc.

    Take a pass.

  • mike

    how about
    rondo, ray, pp, KG, shelden to start the year with mike miller, baby, patterson, nate, scal, a young rookie swing man, 2 minimum roster fillertype (TA,daniels,sweetney etc) perk on IR, then ading sheed late in the year for the stretch run….

  • Josh A

    Come on Zach! That’s right Lowe

  • Cptn Bubbles

    You can never under estimate TEAM CHEMISTRY & HEART. When something works & the guys mesh & it PRODUCES 1 Championship & 1 as close as you can be to another Championship you don’t mess with the major pieces. All I heard was just how big Antawn Jamison was going to be for the Cavs. How did that work out for them???

  • Jeff

    If I’m Danny I do the deal with Memphis, get the 2 picks, then send the lower pick along with Sheed’s contract to Cleveland for Moon and West. Then I would buyout West’s contract since he only has $500,000 guaranteed.

    Then you can use the other pick or both on a bigman in the draft, and it saves them cap space.

    I’d say try to get Moon and Hickson but I don’t see them parting with Hickson.

    He could also try to get Parker instead, but I don’t know if CLE would do it. They are trying to get back into the draft so…

    Or do the trade with CLE for Moon and West, with Perk and Davis then send Sheed and Wests deal to be bought out, along with a player who they prearrange to draft for MIN for Big Al.

    Then we can still use our other pick on a big and we’ve got Moon, TA, as wings, Al and KG and our Draft pick as bigs along with the guy we’ve got in Greece. We can use the MLE on a combo of a big and Wing or just all on a big like Haywood. Livingston should be target 1 for backup PG at vet’s min, and if we’re looking for someone more pricey then get Foye with most of the MLE and the rest aim for Barnes cheap.

    I don’t like giving up Perk or Davis, but I don’t know what else they can do to get an impact guy for the frontcourt. Sheed can “retire” get bought out and come back late in the season if he wants too.

    He was solid in the playoffs.

    Honestly I don’t know what the heck Danny is gonna do.

  • Jay P

    @mike

    There are so many things wrong with that I don’t even know where to begin.

    So I’m not going to bother, and just say no, and please lay off the pipe.

  • Jay P

    @Jeff

    We need to stop with the “buy out and come back” talk about Sheed. His body gave up on him in the playoffs, he can’t do it again.

    Think about it this way, he played an entire regular, practicing every day, and still wasn’t in good enough shape to make it through the playoffs. How the hell do you expect him to be any better next year when he’s not playing and practicing every, and will most likely not even be in half as good shape as he was this past year?

    I have the guy credit, he really gave everything he had in that play off run. But a career of being out of shape, and not working hard to keep your body going, has caught up with him. He simply does not have enough left to do anything on a Basketball court anymore.

  • mike

    @Jay P

    certainly not a perfect line up, but short of blowing it up there’s not much wiggle room…if the big 3 remain that’s what’s going to go down with the roster…

  • mike

    @jay P
    what would you suggest?

  • Jay P

    @mike

    Shelden has no business on a starting line up, ever, and there are better minimum contracts then Scal, he should not be signed.

    Depending how the draft ends up, let’s say they keep the 19th pick, and Crawford is available there:

    Rondo, Ray, Paul, Perk, KG

    TA, Crawford, Erden, Davis, +minimum contracts (I’d like to see them grab Ben Wallace for some cheap rebounding/defense.)

    If Nate would take a minimum contract, definitely sign him, if not, let him walk. And I don’t see him taking a minimum deal.

    TA showed capable enough to spell Rondo at point for short minutes. If there’s issues there, maybe you make something happen by trade deadline to bring in a real back up PG.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Whiteside 7′ 235=very good.

    Conference=cupcake= easier to get stats & vids playing against Rio Gran, W. Carolina, E. Carolina, App St, Brescia, Salem International etc.

    They did play 4 decent teams:

    When they played UNC (who did not make the big tourney this yr) he was 3-8 with 4 rebounds in 23 min.
    –WVa (made tourney, did well but not very tall team) 6-12 6rebs in 39 min. vs tallest guy on WVa was 6’9
    –Houston (made tourney got beat by MD 89-77 first game) 4-12 5 turnovers in 25min
    –UTEP (made tourney got beat by Butler 77-59) 7-19 14rebounds(good) 4 turnovers

    He is 21yrs old & just finished his freshman yr.??? Why wasn’t he playing at 18? They are talking about maturity/motivation issues.

    He only avg’d 26min per game. What were they saving him for???

    I’ve got serious doubts, but I hope Danny worked him out.

  • mike

    @ jay p
    so you are starting baby at center half the year i guess? i threw scal to fill the roster out…need 13 guys…he could just as easily be “insert players name here”

  • Jay P

    @Cptn

    I was high on Whiteside at first, because his offensive game has a ridiculous upside, and he’s a capable defender/shot blocker. He has great form, and insanely high release on his jump shot, as he gains confidence, he could have a great mid range/turnaround game.

    The guys got so much potential, but I’m not sure he has the drive to ever put it together. He played in a weak conference, and still didn’t have dominant numbers. Maybe he was just bored, but doesn’t that say something itself?

    I want a guy with a killer instinct, who would take a weak conference and just set out to embarrass people every night.

    To me, he and Erden are similar, athletically gifted, really big upside, even bigger questions about motivation/desire/maturity.

    So why waste another pick on Whiteside? Now that it’s looking more and more like Erden will finally be in a C’s uniform this year, I just can’t bring himself to justify using another pick on a second project big man.

  • Jay P

    @Mike

    Start the year with Davis or Wallace at center, or move KG to Center and play Davis at PF.

    Erden I’d considering giving a run to at the starting spot, there’s no way he’s ready for it I realize, but ya never know, there might be something to the whole “throw him in the deep end yell START KICKING, he might just learn to swim” type philosophy.

  • Josh A

    WOA! you guys need to listen to me. How bout the Celtics go for Lemarcus Aldridge?

  • mike

    @jay p….
    with any scenario, if they are keeping the big 3 together the idea is to get to the playoffs then do damage, just like this year, i think we agree…i’d rather see patterson, you like crawford…i just think the talented big is harder to come by….if baby becomes more consistent you can survive until perk comes back…

  • mike

    @josh A…
    you mean the big man we could have (or brandon roy) instead of dainge trading for that POS telfair?

  • Jay P

    Telfair trade didn’t happen… Telfair trade didn’t happen… Telfair trade didn’t happen.

    I’m hoping if I repeat it enough it will become true, and Brandon Roy will suddenly appear in a Celtics uniform, where he should have been all along.

    Sigh…

  • JP

    @Zach Lowe

    Maybe I should have phrased it better. Whiteside has more of a skill set that is a combination of KG’s mobility, plays long and rebounds like KG (instead of boxing out like Perkins), and likes to play 15 feet from the rim on offense ala KG. Also, he has the leaping ability, shot-blocking (5.5 a game is ridiculous), wingspan, and lack of any offensive moves on the inside like Dwight Howard. There is enough upside there to warrant a pick at 19, although I am hearing that he’s a headcase so that is something to consider…not like the Celtics haven’t dealt with headcases in the past.

  • Brian

    i can see the celtics trading down a couple picks and getting damian james, then get two guards like jon schyer in the second round

  • Jay P

    @Brian

    Interesting, that’s not too shabby if they pull it off, I’d be very pleased with those picks.

  • Jeff

    @JP

    I’m just saying if they are looking for a late season roster addition.

    He COULD come back if he wanted to. I’m not saying he WILL or MUST or that it would make a difference. He COULD come back just to play 12 minutes a game in the playoffs, and get under Howard and Gasoft’s skin, but it’s not imperative that he does.

    Thant’s all I was saying.

  • lakershater13

    San Antonio looks to get a young center every year. Splitter is ready to come over and play in the nba. He is 6-11 and the spanish league mvp. Could offer the spurs perk for him.

    My guess is the spurs would rather keep the unproven player but perk is from texas and the spurs play defense.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    @Jay P Although Danny is 0-3 lately & he did not pick Mario Chalmers when I distinctly remember yelling at the tv screen over & over for Danny to draft him, he does seem to see things which others don’t (best ex Rajon). If there is something legit there in Whiteside then I hope we take him. In the end, we are all on the same team here, & we all want the same thing, another championship. I’m just praying that guys come back & Danny gets it right just like he did with Rajon. I’ll also take a miraculous, Pau-like trade if we can get it.

  • Jay P

    The Draft is fickle, no one can be perfect and hit a home run every time.

    We don’t need a home run in this draft. Rondo was a home run, to get a perennial all-star, MVP candidate type which Rondo has become where they drafted him, is honestly probably a once in a decade type steal.

    But a couple smart deals for some reliable role players/future starters and potential all stars is what we need.

  • Ivan

    I think the Celtics should take the trade with Memphis and pick up Solomon Alabi with the 25th pick and pick up a swingman like james anderson, jordan crawford with the 28th pick. If lance stephenson is avail he is a possibility. In the second round, my sleeper pick is sherrod collins. He will serve as a great backup PG to Rajon Rondo.

  • Ivan

    Also, the Celtics should try and sign Al Harrington to play the point forward off the bench. They should also sign Z Illgaukas to play Center.

  • mike

    i think we all agree whoever it is that gets the call tonight needs to pan out…

  • mike

    also, no thanks on harrington (unless its the vet minimum) and just no on Z, i’d rather have the shaqtus lodged in the paint…

  • Jeff

    Harrington would be a decent option but only for cheap. He doesn’t play that much D and isn’t a great rebounder but he can score in the post at least!

    Also, what about that Earl Barron guy from NY? Isn’t he a FA? He was lighting it up at the end of last season! Could he be snagged while NY is focusing on Lebron and Co.?

    Also what about getting Hakim Warrick for the bench?

    He would be a good scorer to come off and does pretty well rebounding too.

    Johan Petro might be a good defensive option off the bench and maybe even Drew Gooden?

    We really just need a couple of solid guys who can hold it together so that we can rely on depth.

    Big man by commitee type deal.

    3 guys who can play 15-20 serviceable minutes with KG and Davis and then when Perk gets back we’re golden.

    2 FA bigs and one drafted guy. Maybe Whiteside, although he’s a bit soft in the middle from what I hear. He rely’s too much on length.

  • Demetri

    i don’t get why people want to go forward and build around rondo. make the deal w/ memphis get the best big and wing players available at 25 and 28. screw the allens (one will be to expensive and the other is no spring chicken) and robinson and the rest of the guys doc didn’t trust enough to play when it mattered. don’t go anywhere near damion james he’s the next eric williams.

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