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Ford’s Mock 4.0: Celtics Take Shabazz Muhammad

 

In 21 days the Celtics will take their first step towards the 2013-2014 by participating in the annual tradition known as the NBA Draft.  A ceremony marked by over-analyzation, second-guessing, grief and jubilation.  The Celtics are in the rare place with their roster where they can go almost anywhere with their pick and make a solid selection (unless they end up selecting a underwhelming veteran shooting guard).

ESPN’s Chad Ford has four (so far) iterations of the NBA Draft and has the Celtics taking a center, a point guard, and a small forward.  The latest version of the ESPN Mock Draft (Insider) has the Celtics selecting UCLA small forward Shabazz Muhammad.  Muhammad’s claims to fame have included being the number one high school prospect for his age group, potentially lying about his age in order to beat up on younger players, and being apart of an underwhelming UCLA program in disarray.

Here’s Ford’s reasoning for picking Muhammad:

 Muhammad might be the most difficult player in the draft to place right now. After coming in with enormous hype, scouts are obsessed right now with the weaknesses in his game. Can he shoot off the bounce? Can he go right? Does he have the athleticism to defend? Is he a selfish player?

Muhammad is working hard to answer his critics and these workouts will go a long way to determining where he ultimately lands. But with Paul Pierce‘s run with the Celtics nearing an end, Muhammad might be worth the risk here if the Celtics’ preferred target, Schroeder, already is off the board.

Picking Muhammad here has a similar feel to picking Avery Bradley a few years ago.  A once top high school recruit falls to the late first round due to various question marks.  While the question marks existed for Bradley, everyone could at least agree that he would be an eventual defense dynamo.  It seems no one can agree on Muhammad.

Picking Muhammad is not without risk, but it isn’t anything more than the risk associated with picking this late in the first round.  In Ford’s fourth, there isn’t a player on the board worth taking over Muhammad save for maybe a young international prospect.  The Celtics unfortunately do not have the luxury of picking a future superstar from Whoknowswhere and stashing him away.  They need a guy who can sop up a few minutes next year (a “few” turns into a “lot” if Paul Pierce leaves).

The only other player available I’d consider taking is Tony Mitchell.  Similar to Muhammad, Mitchell came into College with a lot of hype and left in relative obscurity.  The biggest difference is his measureables.  Mitchell is a freak athlete with great length, rebounding ability, and defensive potential.  A BIG small forward that would look good behind Paul Pierce and Jeff Green next season.

What about you?  Any favorites?

(Please note that if anyone is looking for the C’s to pick one of the older big men, I promise to deconstruct that pick in a funny way!)

  • hax

    We already have the SF position lodged with Jeff Green and Paul Pierce. If we start both, pierce has to play SG, making avery bradley a bench player, and valuable trade bait. So Shabazz coming off the bench to back-up Jeff Green for 10 mins a game. I guess Danny would be conceding that we can't get a starter at this part of the draft then if he did this.

    • Wes

      But if they go small he can back up PP… and JG can go big at the 4. Its all on how you use Jeff. They cant play PP 35+ min a game. He really needs to be at 30 or less to last into the playoffs. So getting a good SF is not a bad idea if he is the best player on the board.

  • Rav

    I like Shabazz. Was able to watch him in person a few times and he looks to have a professional-level focus and drive. He was underwhelming at UCLA, but still put up solid numbers in his freshman year. Age is unimportant – being older affects physical maturity (which doesn't matter for Shabazz as he has had an NBA body for a while now), but mental maturity as well as on-court skill can be bolstered at any age. I highly doubt he'll finish his career as only the 16th-best player among those who have declared for the draft this year.

  • mcoyness

    can we draft peyton siva in the round 2?

    • Wes

      Only if they trade down or receive a second round pick through another trade. There only pick at this point is the 16th.

  • Joe

    I think we should draft Dieng (Louisville). He has a lot of useful skills that would make him a good center to learn under KG. He's young and can develop into a good frontcourt mate for Jared Sullinger. Also, he adds athleticism, defense, and shotblocking. IF we developed him like OKC did Ibaka, he could be a great talent.

    • http://CelticsHub.com Brendan Jackson

      Dieng is exactly (to the day!) four months younger than Ibaka. He's just not that young. He had a great run to the national title, I just don't think there's that much room for improvement. I like that he works hard and looks the part of a great defensive player but he just very raw offensively. Too raw for my taste.

      (Sorry, none of that was funny)

      • Nosebleed

        Yes, but unlike Muhammad, Dieng and Whithey actually played well last year. Shabazz Muhammad wasn't even the best player named Shabazz in college basketball last year! Shabazz Napier at UConn was better. Muhammad was absolutely mediocre in scoring efficiency, terrible at producing assists, steals, blocks, and rebounds. Draft players that are good at playing basketball not combines.

        • http://CelticsHub.com Brendan Jackson

          I totally agree. The draft is such a hard game to play. How do you know you're getting a good four year player like Draymond Green versus a bad four year player like Jimmer Fredette.

          I'm not saying I want Muhammad, but I am saying I don't want a 23 year old rookie who's still developing.

    • hax

      Rondo-Pierce-Green-Garnett-Dieng /w Bass/Bradley traded for a 1st round draft pick next year's draft(which will replace pierce/garnett).
      After a decent Center like Roy Hibbert pushed the Heat to 7, we really need to take that advantage back.

      • IRS

        Roy Hibbert is not a "decent" center. He is one of the best two players in the league at contesting shots at the rim (albeit not to be confused with blocking shots, or cutting off driving and passing angles like Garnett does), and has an excellent low post game. To get the next Roy Hibbert where the Celtics are picking would be a near miracle.

        As far as beating the heat goes, I would love to have a dominant, physical center to force them to match up. But I am not certain that mediocre size is better than good talent against the Heat, and it is actively worse against most other teams in the league. Not to mention that as urgently as other teams are trying to beat the Heat with size, the Heat will be looking for larger bodies to avoid scares like that against the Pacers–beware of fighting yesterday's battle today.

  • hydrofluoric

    I don't know jack about any draft players, but I do know we should be drafting for talent and not need.

  • Mark

    Tony Mitchell has the makings of a far more athletic Shane Battier. I don't feel his ceiling is going to be high enough to justify picking him #16.

    For me, Shabazz is an intriguing player. The kid is a scorer that does a lot of other things, like rebounding, very well. Imagine his defensive ability at the SG position because of his length? Yes, I believe he'll be a SG. His age doesn't concern me at all and from what I gather the lie is a reflection on his father more so than him. What I love is his killer instinct which is a trait very few guys coming into the league have. Lastly, people will obsess about his poor freshman season (based on the hype). I wouldn't considering what a mess UCLA is.

    I've wanted to see four guys in a Celtic uniform the last five years over everyone that's been drafted in the timeframe. They were not all possible but here : Paul George, Hibbert, Drummond and Harrison Barnes. I'll now add Shabazz to the list.

  • Your Idol

    You gotta be smoking some serious crack cocaine if you think Bazz will drop that far. I can see him going as early as #5 to Phoenix. Ryan McDonough likes him.

  • I_Love_Green

    Damn I really miss our squad being in the finals. 08 and 10 playoffs were so fucking awesome, especially 08.

  • hax

    nbadraft.net has him falling to 19th. Mark made a good point. Shabazz is 6'6, and can play SG instead of a small SF. Avery Bradley has had a few years in college & NBA after being the nation's #1 high school prospect to develop. His defense is usually good, not so much in the play-offs. His offense is really poor right now. He even gets a good cut to the basket for a 50-50 chance of making a lay-up, or gets an open 3 and misses. Rondo-Muhammed-Pierce-Bass-Garnett.

  • Celtic4life

    Man I thought we’d get clippers pick THIS year not when the jetsons took place ! But I wouldn’t mind any of the mentioned picks shabazz would be a gamble but could be a nice fit to complement Jeff , or even plumlee to beat up people in the paint (we’ve needed a big SO bad) , even Schroeder we can put 2 guards in and kill anybody with speed . Eh we’ll prob keep it boring and get the shooting sf from … Greece? Damn Danny’s got a tough job but I got confidence that we’ll be back where we need to be in a few years. (18)

  • Celtic4life

    Ooooh forgot to mention I like jamaal Franklin outta sdsu str8 rim attacker and nice soft touch will develop into a solid sg . (Cool dude too) celtics? He’ll be a Jeff green type with good outside game (greens is alright too)

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