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Name: Ricky Ledo
Position: Shooting guard
Stats: 6’6″, 195 lbs.
Ledo is one of the biggest question marks in this year’s draft because he didn’t play a single collegiate game in 2012-13. After bouncing around New England high schools, the Rhode Island native graduated from South Kent School in Connecticut, which also produced current NBA players Andray Blatche, Maurice Harkless, Isaiah Thomas and Dorell Wright. Ledo was selected to the McDonald’s All-American Game and was ranked #21 in his class by ESPN. He committed to play at Providence, but was ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA and never suited up for the Friars. Nevertheless, he decided to declare for this week’s draft and is projected to go late in the first round.
According to scouts, Ledo has maturity concerns to go with the academic ones that plagued him in high school and college. That, along with the fact that he hasn’t played a competitive game in over a year, means that his stock has taken a big hit. What no one questions, however, is his talent. Ledo is a lights-out shooter and scorer, and he comes into the draft after a pretty strong showing at the combine, where he was outsanding on the first day before coming down to earth somewhat on day two. At 6’6″, Ledo also possesses the elite size that the Celtics current backcourt rotation lacks.
On paper, the Celtics have more pressing needs at positions other than shooting guard, but that could change if, as has been suggested, Courtney Lee is on the trading block. If that is the case, Danny Ainge may see Ledo as an attractive long-term project. With Doc Rivers gone, the maturity issue comes into play as well. Ledo’s development would depend in large part on having a head coach able to mold him into a productive NBA player who can leave his past troubles behind.
Ledo is unlikely to be selected in the first half of the first round, since teams that are looking to win right away will not have the patience to groom him. That means that he’ll almost surely be available when the Celtics get on the clock at number 16. Taking him there looks like something of a hit-or-miss affair. If Ledo can’t break away from his past issues, the Celtics would have wasted a valuable pick, but if he fulfils his potential, in a few years we could look back at him as an historic steal.