With the world currently in lockdown it might be hard to remember that Tuesday, May 19th, was supposed to be the NBA Draft Lottery. For us Celtics fans that day will be of little relevance barring a catastrophic collapse in the end of the season for the Memphis Grizzlies. With that being said, the Draft Lottery is important for other reasons that appeal to all the NBA teams, it’s the beginning of draft season. I know that the draft will inevitably be pushed back and the lottery has already been pushed back, but depending on when the NBA finishes up their season, (if they finish up their season), is too long to wait so I officially announce it is draft season.
For the Celtics, as of now it will be a heavy first round for the second year running, with 3 first round picks at, 17, 26, 30. I do believe that the Celtics and Danny Ainge will be working the phones non stop as I’m not sure that the roster can and should handle three more rookies. They probably should be in win now territory looking for a player that can help them, well, win now. But for this experiment the Celtics keep all three picks. And in this hypothetical land I believe I have five players who could be the next Celtics first round hit. From 2015 to now the Celtics have done very well in their first round selections. Thus beginning my Celtics Wishlist for picks 17, 26, and 30, both in order of how much I want them and where they are most likely to land at, (basically the first three could be there at 17 and the last two could be there at 26 or 30).
#1.) Saddiq Bey
My number one prospect for the 17th pick of the NBA Draft is really a toss up between Saddiq Bey and our #2 prospect, but ultimately I believe that Bey’s attributes are more important to an NBA team. Standing at 6’8, 216, Bey is your prototypical NBA 3 and D player. Something our Boston Celtics currently needs, as our bench 3 and D guy is Semi Ojeleye, no disrespect but that’s not good enough. Bey shot 45% from three this season and was Villanova’s best on ball defender. Bey’s frame and quick feet could allow him to guard virtually all 5 positions and could theoretically play him as a 5 in a really small, small ball lineup, but you would’ve liked to see more rebounds on his part in college. But on a team like the Celtics, slotting in with guys like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart, all supreme defenders also capable of covering multiple positions, Bey could be a very good fit off the bench and could be an important part of some of the most intriguing lineups the NBA will see. Although alike defensively, Bey is not Tatum or Brown as those guys can create their own shot at will and also create for others. Yeah… Bey’s not gonna be able to do that right away, but that is absolutely fine for a Celtic’s team who desperately need high quality shooting off the bench right now. And hey who knows, maybe he can eventually learn to create his own shot, who would’ve guessed after the draft that Jaylen would do the things he’s doing now, so you never know. I won’t bet on it and Bey is my #1 guy because of what he can do right now and not what he might be able to do in the future, right now Bey will slot in, hit threes off the bench and give the Celtics a plethora of lineup adaptations, good enough for me.
#2.) Devin Vassell
My number two player much like Bey is Devin Vassell out of Florida State. I can’t hide my affection for this kid this year as I did see a decent amount of him because Florida State were my bracket champions, but whatever, didn’t want to see March Madness anyway. Anyway, like Bey, Vassell projects as a solid NBA 3 and D guy. But I don’t believe Vassell has the potential to be as productive on the defensive floor than Bey’s potential. This is mostly because of Vassell’s skinny and smaller frame at “just” 6’6, 180 pounds. This limits his defensive upside because unless he puts on a lot of muscle he won’t be able to bang on the block, granted the block is dying but you get it. What Vassell gives for defense I do think he makes up for in offense as I think he is a better offensive threat overall than Bey, catch and shoot, off screen shooting and pull ups, dude can shoot. Exemplified by his 42% three point shooting. But also I think he can put the ball on the ground better than Bey can as well. Between the two players it is merely a matter of opinion, whether you want higher offensive upside or higher defensive upside. I’ll always take the defense myself, especially on a team like the Celtics right now and when both players are very similar offensively.
#3.) Kira Lewis Jr.
I could make my third selection as Aaron Nesmith as he’s much like the first two players, but I won’t, cuz, well, that’s boring. Instead my third player is someone that it’s hard not to salivate over if you’re a Celtics fan. And that guy is, Kira Lewis Jr. Few college players get downhill as quickly as Lewis does, hell few NBA players do. Also few players are better in transition than Lewis. My guy plays at one speed and that is fast. Which can be for better or for worse, but we’ll focus on the better. Lewis is a lethal pick and roll player because of his quick first step and ability to beat a guy off the dribble. Lewis perfectly fits the Celtics roster as they desperately need scoring off the bench, apart from Marcus Smart, Brad Wannamaker has stepped up to take some of the scoring duties. Kira Lewis can step in and make that spot his right now. And my God would I love that, first of all it gets Wannamaker off the court, once again, no disrespect, and second of all Lewis is just better and obviously a lot more potential. Dude can score everywhere, at the rim (although sometimes it’s difficult as he’s 6’3), off the dribble in the mid range, from three and can get to the free throw line. Shooting 46 /36/80 splits in college is nothing to scoff at and if anything proves his ability to score should translate to the NBA game. Lewis is an exciting prospect, especially for the Celtics off the bench to come in and get some buckets. I’d also like to point out that he averaged 5.2 APG as well and has the dribble moves and transition skills to become a high quality playmaker as well.
#4.) Paul Reed
Moving away from the 17th pick towards the back end of the draft with picks 26 and 30, this next prospect in my opinion could be the most underrated prospect in the draft. This prospect is Paul Reed out of DePaul. I’ve seen this guy consistently in the second round even towards the latter stages of it. This confuses the living shit out of me and I seriously don’t get it. His shots weird and his dribbling isn’t very good but his numbers and tape tell a story of a lottery pick. Yes his shot is weird, like really weird, but he shot 40% from three in his sophomore year, (yes it dropped) but he did shoot 74% from the free throw line. And as we know free throw shooting is the easiest way to diagnose if the dude can shoot threes, we’ve seen he can shoot in college, he’s solid from the free throw line, with some mechanics I bet you he develops a three point shot in the NBA. Oh did I forget to mention the best part of this guy, yeah he’s 6’9, 220, and probably had the best defensive stats in the NCAA this year. With 1.9 SPG and 2.6 BPG the dude is a menace on the defensive end. He can be the perfect small ball 5 and would seamlessly slot into the Celtics rotation as once again he can cover a variety of positions. And unlike Bey, Reed averaged 10.7 boards per game. The dude can flat out play and I don’t understand why he doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves, but hey I’m more than happy if he falls to the Celtics, should they recognize his abilities. The one thing that GM’s care farrrrr to much about in the draft is age and Reed is a junior in college, that might be a problem to some, but it’s not. Reed will just be 21 on opening tip off (should that be the same time) approximately three months older than lottery projected Precious Achiuwa who is a freshman.
#5.) Leandro Bolmaro
My 5th and final player that belongs on my Celtics Wishlist is Leandro Bolmaro. This ones a bit of a weird one and probably a stretch to put as apart of my wishlist as he’s an overseas player and let’s face it none of us have seen him play apart from YouTube clips. But as far as I can tell he’s kinda a mini LaMelo (who will be in my next top 5) with defense. He’s a 6’7 PG with great playmaking skills and his career is basically going to come down to if his 3 can develop. He certainly has the playmaking ability to fit with this Celtics team, running around with Tatum Brown and Kemba, guys that are dropping 20 a game would be fun to watch. And the best part, of course, is his defense. Dude’s a 6’7 pest for opposing point guards, that’s a problem. I absolutely love his defensive tape and I like how he played in high level European basketball for a bit. I have Bolmaro as my 5th and last prospect because of the possibilities that Brad Stevens could play with if Bolmaro is on the squad, much like Bey.
Draft season is upon us and I couldn’t be more excited for when the draft actually happens but for now it’s just a waiting game. Next on my list is my top 5 prospects. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.