Celtics NBA Draft Preview
This will be the first NBA Draft in the “Rebuild Era” for the Celtics, so it is critical that the Celtics Brass do their due diligence and make smart basketball decisions for now and especially the future. No matter who is coaching for the green in 2014, all eyes will be on the young players that Danny Ainge brings in to play on the parquet floor in the TD Garden with the No. 16 selection in the first round. Here are the top five players that Celtics fans should be looking for the Celtics to draft on Thursday night.
5.) Rudy Gobert – C – France
Rudy Gobert standing at 7ft 2” is one of the tallest players in this 2013 NBA Draft and could be a “Roy Hibbert meets DeAndre Jordan” esc player if coached properly. Size is clearly Goberts biggest asset and is why he could translate well in the NBA. His 7ft 9” wingspan gives him an edge offensively and especially on the defensive side of the ball as well. He has great hands that give him the rare ability for a man his size to catch any lob Rajon Rondo or any other PG will toss him.
However, he does need to build muscle to really make his, already reliable, hook shot elite. It’s always a risk drafting international big men because historically the chances of them working out are low, but when you are drafting in the mid to late first round of the Draft and a physical specimen is staring down at you, it kind of forces your hand. Gobert is projected to be drafted number 27 overall to the Denver Nuggets by nbadraft.net.
“The Truth” hurts but Paul Pierces days are numbed and he could be gone as soon as Draft Night, so now is a good time to think about possible replacements for the Future Hall of Famer. Now Jeff Green is still on the Celtics roster and will most likely be the starting Small Forward for the Green, but Muhammad’s talent may be too much for the Celtics to pass up at number 16 overall.
Muhammad can flat out score and could work extremely well running up and down the court with Rajon Rondo. The knock on Shabazz all has to do with what is going on between his ears. When he starts to go down, he goes down hard. Injuries have also plagued Muhammad while at UCLA. Inconsistency and injuries are what is keeping Muhammad out of the lottery, but the Celtics have had success in the past gambling on players that have had a shaky injury background, see Jared Sullinger. Muhammad is projected to be drafted number 14 overall to the Utah Jazz by nbadraft.net
There is growing concern with the Celtics that Rajon Rondo is not a guy you can build a team around and now that this team is in full rebuild mode it may be time to shop the All-Star point guard for draft picks and other assets. But who would replace Rondo? Insert Schroeder.
The 6ft 2” point guard models his game after Rondo, but the one glaring difference between the two is this; Schroeder can shoot. Celtics fans have been dreaming of the day that Rondo develops some sort of a jump shot, but at age 27 it’s safe to say that what we see from Rondo now is probably all we will see for the remainder of his career. So the day may soon come that Boston’s crafty point guard can hit from the perimeter, but his name will not be Rajon Rondo, it could be Dennis Schroder, though. Schroder is projected to be drafted number 21 overall to the Utah Jazz by nbadraft.net.
We did not get to see much of Noel in a Kentucky uniform due to the tearing of his ACL, but if not for the mandatory one year in college before entering the NBA, Noel would already be on an NBA roster somewhere, he is that skilled. Much like Kyrie Irving before he came into the Association, only instead of great offensive talent, Nerlens Noel is off the charts defensively. His shot blocking ability rivals Larry Sanders of the Bucks and Noel could eventually be a defensive anchor for whichever team drafts him for years to come.
But how could he end up with the Celtics? Well Alex Lenn from Maryland is gaining a lot of momentum and current mock drafts are putting him number one overall to the Cavs which would send Noel on a bit of a freefall potentially all the way out of the top 5. If the Celtics could sell a team a package including Sully, Avery and the number 16 overall pick, you may see a local kid from Everett, MA repping Celtic green. Noel is projected at number 4 overall to the Charlotte Bobcats by nbadraft.net
I have been through the roof high on Oladipo even before the start of this past NCAA season when he burst onto the scene with his superior leaping ability and lock down defense. It will cost the Celtics some assets to trade up in the lottery to acquire Oladipo but it would be worth it. Together, he and Rondo could be one of the best backcourts in the entire NBA in just a couple seasons time.
In his final season at Indiana Oladipo averaged 13.6 PTS, 6.3 REB, 2.1 AST and 2.2 STL, all collegiate career bests. Oladipo has an ora when he is on the court and is an instant energy shot when inserted into the game. The team who ends up drafting him will end up with a future star in this league for years to come. Bet on it! Oladipo is projected to be drafted number 2 overall to the Orlando Magic by nbadraft.net.