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Over the last few weeks, we’ve been covering prospects that may be available for the Celtics to select in tonight’s NBA draft. With the Celtics future up in the air, the team is looking to add talent that can blossom into an NBA player for the team, or develop into an asset the team can use in a trade.
The Celtics own the NBA’s 16th pick. Let’s quickly recap who we believe could be available for the Celtics when they draft:
Dieng is an athletic 6’11″ center from Louisville who hustles on defense and has a decent stroke from mid-range. The knock on Dieng is that he’s already 23, so room for him to develop is more limited than a lot of other players in the draft. The Celtics need a center and Dieng would be a solid option for them, maybe even a starter on the right team, just don’t expect him to blossom into a star.
Young German point guard, Schröder, is being touted by many scouts as ‘the mini-Rondo’ because of his freakishly long arms and ball handling ability. Schröder is also one of the youngest players in the draft and has one of the highest ceilings of any players available. At the Nike Hoop Summit, Schröder turned heads when he led World team over the USA. However, he has been playing against super weak competition in a non-premier German league, and few teams know much about his game. Schröder would be a gamble, but a year or two down the road, he could pay off.
At 7’2″ with a 9’7″ standing reach, Gobert is an incredible physical specimen. Unlike Schröder, Gobert has been playing against elite competition in Europe, and produced decent numbers. Gobert’s weak frame and limited athletic ability have been scaring off teams as of late, but his size and potential are evident just by looking at him.
The speedy son of Baseball Hall of Famer, Barry Larkin, was at the heart of the University of Miami’s historic basketball season. Larkin shoots the three well, and hustles all over the court. Larkin is unlikely more than a firecracker of a backup point guard (think CJ Watson mixed with Nate Robinson), but it’s been a while since the Celtics have had a competent backup to Rondo.
The Celtics are praying that this Pittsburgh center falls to them at 16. Adams has range on his jumper, blocks shots and is only 19. Adams improved immensely as a freshman in the Big East Conference and already possesses the size and frame you want from a center. If he falls to the Celtics, he could develop into the starting big man in the middle for many years to come.
Antetokounmpo is a 6’9″ forward with the ball skills of a point guard and at 18 years old, he’s the youngest player in the draft. Like Schröder, Antetokounmpo has been playing against pretty weak competition abroad in Greece, but his size and skills make him an appealing prospect. If the Celtics are willing to be patient, real patient, Antetokounmpo has the potential to blossom into a star.
Ledo did not play organized ball last season, as he was ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA. Ledo was only allowed to practice with the Providence Friars last season after going to them as one of the top recruits in the country. Ledo has elite shooting and ball handling skills, and has great size for a shooting guard. The Celtics are a bit crowded in the back court at the moment, but Ledo could prove to be better than anyone the Celtics currently have at shooting guard if he fulfills his potential.
Like Ledo, Muhammad was once considered one of the best recruits in the country, but a collegiate season to display his flaws, a birth certificate scandal, and an academic problem or two later, and Muhammad finds himself plummeting down draft boards. Who many thought was the next elite wing player, is starting to look more the part of J.R. Smith than of Kobe Bryant. Still, Muhammad can score the ball in ways few can, and has the size and length to be a decent defender, if he ever learns what defense is. If the Celtics look to draft the most talented player available regardless of position or background, few doubt Muhammad would be it.
The four year senior out of Duke knows how to score and rebound, but his questionable athleticism and defensive abilities make it doubtful he ever blossoms into more than a solid backup big man. When you’re drafting in the middle of the first round, like the Celtics are, sometimes you go with the surest thing, and Plumlee can’t be worse than a backup. He’s the safe pick here, even if he’s the least sexy one.
Other possibilities: Tony Mitchell, Isaiah Cannan, Kelly Olynyk, Glen Rice Jr., Jeff Whithey, Lucas Nogueira, Reggie Bullock, Jamaal Franklin, Tim Hardaway Jr.