Kevin Love’s visit to Boston has Celtics fans in an understandable frenzy, but we still have no reason to believe the Timberwolves are going to move him for some platter involving Jared Sullinger and draft picks. If we assume the Celtics aren’t going to get Kevin Love, Boston will have to make the sixth pick in the draft.
Chris Mannix and Chad Ford both believe the Celtics are zeroing in on Arizona forward Aaron Gordon with that pick. Here’s Mannix in his latest mock:
Several league sources believe that Celtics GM Danny Ainge is locked in on Gordon. While Gordon’s shooting is a concern, he is a strong rebounder and shot blocker who can defend either forward spot and has been compared to Shawn Marion.
This would be an interesting pick. Gordon’s shot probably precludes him from being a small forward, and Boston’s glut of power forwards complicates matters. With Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk already in place, at least one — and maybe two — of the talented young players would have to come off the bench, since none of them are traditional centers.
But Gordon’s reputation as a defender might help shed some light on Ainge’s thinking. A combination of Olynyk and Gordon would give the Celtics an intriguing duo. Olynyk will never be an elite (or possibly even above average) defender, but he showed signs of improvement in every facet of his game as the season stretched on.
Gordon, meanwhile, is a monster defensively, and using his athleticism in pick-and-rolls with Rondo would give the Celtics interesting opportunities both around the rim with Gordon and stretching the floor with Olynyk.
Gordon is also, apparently, extremely smart. Jay King from MassLive has some quotes from Gordon’s teammate Nick Johnson.
“His basketball IQ, picking up plays, picking up rotations on defense and stuff like that, he does that very quickly,” Johnson said after a pre-draft workout Monday with the Celtics. “If you would come to our practice, you would see that very quickly.”
Johnson added: “It was great playing with him. He’s the youngest player in the draft but you wouldn’t know it by talking to him, by listening to him talk and watching him work out. He’s got so much room for improvement but I know he’s going to make those leaps because he’s a great kid and he works his heart out.”
I have converted to Gordon’s camp. He isn’t perfect, but his ceiling is extremely high and his entertainment value is even higher. If Boston comes up empty on Kevin Love, picking up Gordon wouldn’t be a bad fall-back plan.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.