In honor of Father’s Day Week, we’re about to get sensible and practical about who the Celtics will take with the 25th pick in this year’s draft. Not to burst anyone’s parade, but a lot of the 2011 draftees who’ve been touted in the comments here are probably not going to fall to the Celtics. Kenneth Faried? Unlikely. Bismack Biyombo? Almost certainly not. Tristan Thompson? Nah. The Morris twins? Marshon Brooks? Donatas Motiejunas? Possible, but things would have to get pretty weird.
But the Celtics, of course, have made their draft bacon over the last few years by cherry-picking rotation players out of the lower tiers. Glen Davis, Semih Erden, and famously Rajon Rondo all fall into this category. Meanwhile, everyone has conveniently forgotten about Gabe Pruitt, avid food photographer J.R. Giddens, and the smiling gentledude above. That’s what’s so great about the 25th pick: it’s no fun drafting a player who’s definitely going to be good. So boring. Where’s the tension, right? Luckily, there are plenty of players who might be good to be had at the end of the first round this year.
Below are the draftees who A) are of potential value to the Celtics and B) have a reasonable chance at falling to 25. They’re casually organized by gettability, with the players least likely to be on the board at 25 going first.
This gangly Montenegrin was the tallest guy at the NBA combine, making him of instant interest to the Celtics. He’s not just tall, either: he comes with actual post moves and a pretty fantastic jump shot. Lower down on his resume is his extreme slowness, which makes him a suspect defender, especially within a team defense like Boston’s. But only a couple of mocks have him reaching the Celtics, anyway: Chad Ford has him going as high as 14, and Philly is apparently also interested two picks later.
Boring, but not the bad kind of boring. Harris lacks a distinct skill, but he does everything reasonably well, and could back up multiple positions. That’s right: he’s a dreaded “tweener,” like about nine other guys in the first round. He’s relevant to the Celtics because he’s a solid rebounder and one of the draft’s youngest players; he was born the week Honey, I Blew Up The Kid came out. That means he’s got plenty of time to develop as the C’s rebuild, or possibly just flame out and team up with Gob to start up Gobias Industries.
Those are the two guys who might, but are sort of unlikely to, fall into the Celtics’ sweaty clutches. Everyone after this should be up for grabby-grabs. Picture the jump as the ever-blurry dividing line between fantasy and reality.
Honeycutt gets a bump here as the only player in this draft I have actually seen play in person. And from my first-hand experience, I can offer you the insider info that Tyler Honeycutt is a very skinny em-effer. He’s basically a praying mantis who takes spin classes and is fine just having soup for lunch. But despite this, he can do a lot of things very well: nice looking shot, smart with the ball, jumps really high, and he’s an excellent rebounder for a stick bug. But he is very, very skinny, and he doesn’t fill any of the serious need positions for the Celtics.
There’s some chatter out there that Danny Ainge promised Reggie Jackson that he’d draft him if he fell to 25. That is total bullpucky. Ainge does like Jackson, but while he’s a terrific athlete and scorer at the rim, there’s actually quite a bit against his playing for the Celtics: he’s not really a great distributor, which they could use in the second unit, and they’d would probably have to unload Avery Bradley, who’s not at the peak of his value right now (maybe) (hopefully) (oh my god, is Bradley at the peak of his value?!?). The thing that encourages me most about Jackson is how crazily he elevated his play between his sophomore and junior years. His shooting has dramatically improved. If he finds room in his heart to get just a little bit better from outside, he’ll be a legitimate offensive threat and a defender to match. He also famously hit three home runs in one game.
Upside project raw undeveloped potential, etc. This guy is the devil you know. It could be a while, or very likely never, but Jeremy Tyler could be a star. He’s personally my top pick among these likely candidates. I think the Celtics should start getting ready to rebuild, and that means at the 25th pick you go for the player with the highest ceiling. It doesn’t hurt that he’s freaking huge and the Celtics could use help underneath.
The uncertainty with Tyler comes down to his personality. Read the absolute hell out of this. At best, he’s a head case, and at worst, he’s a sociopath. It’s possible that he’ll work hard and fit right in with this team as a harmless lunatic. It’s also possible that he’ll shut everyone out and be physically torn in half by Kevin Garnett during a charity visit to the Perkins School for the Blind. Roll them dice, Danny!
Nikola Mirotic, PF
While we discuss rebuilding, why not take a look at a guy who some people say is one of the draft’s top five players, but will not be playing in America for, like, two years! Mirotic is also from Montenegro (Nikola is a Montenegrin name, we learned together today), and like Vucevic he’s a big guy who plays mediocre defense but can shoot. Except he’s a much better shooter, and apparently a very developed basketball player already: he’s performed well on Real Madrid against probably the best international competition there is. Seems like a guy the Celtics might want to develop, but do they want to deprive the Spurs of the pleasure of stashing a boring player overseas?
Justin Harper and JaJuan Johnson, SF/PF
6’9″, 228 (Harper), 6’10″, 220 (Johnson)
I pair these two because they’re very similar in their deficiencies: they’re offensively-inclined PFs in college, but it’s not clear at what position either of them would play in Major League Basketball. They both would have trouble with both traditional power forwards and small forwards on defense. The tweener alarm has been pulled on these guys, and it’s not a drill. Their offensive games are what separate them: Harper is a very good shooter, while Johnson runs faster and jumps higher. Johnson’s also a little taller and probably a better rebounder, so maybe of more use to the Celtics for those reasons.
Davis Bertans, SF
Latvian. Might be the best shooter in the draft. Looks like Ron Weasley’s six-year-old brother. You want to guess whether or not he’s good at rebounding? He’s not. You were right. Still, shooting is always valuable, and at his height no NBA small forward is stopping his jumper from going up. He’s been called the poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki, but that’s not really fair: Dirk belongs to even the poorest among us now.
Trey Thompkins, PF
An efficient scorer and decent rebounder, so he’s on the watch list. Can actually create a little offense, which would be a refreshing change of pace from a bench player. He’s not of much use on defense, but apparently he’s getting better in this area. Highest body fat percentage in the combine, hilariously.
Jon Leuer, PF
Leuer’s a big dude who can dribble and shoot. He’s got post moves for days and is efficient with his attempts, which is among the best things you can be as a basketball player. But while he puts balls in the air effectively, he does not bring them back down very well: for his size, he’s pretty awful on the boards. But he has his supporters: Brendan, for example, is in love with him and wants to kiss him and marry him. Leuer’s also of particular interest today because he was one of the biggest sleepers on John Hollinger’s Draft Rater, landing at 14th overall. You guys all love John Hollinger, right?
Jimmy Butler, SF:
Good team player without any outstanding physical qualities. I mostly include him here because he’s Brendan’s favorite pick among the last ten, so he’ll most likely be around to explain himself at some point.
GUYS LIKELY TO BE AVAILABLE BUT WHOM PERSONALLY I FIND UNDESIRABLE:
Darius Morris: A pass-first point guard with no jump shot? Sure, we can always squeeze in one more! NO WE CAN’T.
Kyle Singler: Can’t discount the sense of revulsion I feel at the mention of his name.
Chandler Parsons: 6’10″ small forward whose most marketable asset is his “intangibles.” I’ll take tangibles, ah-thank you!
Iman Shumpert: See Darius Morris, except without the passing.
Travis Leslie: “Freak” athlete, we’ve been burned before.
Josh Selby: Can’t score, defend, or pass.
Nolan Smith: Also went to Duke.
Cast your vote below!