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Bring back the NBA Territorial Draft!

If you thought the Celtics interviewing Cody Zeller was interesting, considering he should be off the draft board by the time the Celtics pick at #16, how about the report that projected #1 pick and Boston native Nerlens Noel has interviewed with the Celtics?

The former Kentucky freshman did measure 6-10 in socks and 6-11 1/2 in shoes with a 9-2 wingspan, all of which are bigger than Davis.

Noel told Andy Katz he interviewed Thursday with six teams — Boston, Orlando, Charlotte, Phoenix, New Orleans and Cleveland.

So is there a chance that Nerlens Noel could be donning Celtics green next season? File under very unlikely. Let's say he drops to the #2 pick based on teams being scared of his thin frame. To trade up to #2, the likely only piece the Celtics have that could get a trade conversation going is Rajon Rondo. A healthy Rajon Rondo that is. Trading a guy recovering from a serious knee injury for good value is almost unheard of.

For the sake of discussion, let's say that trade went down it would signal a rebuilding year for the Celtics with the idea that a poor season next year could help us land the next NBA superstar Andrew Wiggins in 2014, just like we landed Duncan in 1997 and Durant in 2007. Honestly as far fetched as this sounds if you are a Celtics fan that only considers a season successful if the Celtics win the championship, this would give you the best chance at building a championship contender sooner rather than later.

Could the Celtics trade up to a top 2 pick without surrendering Rondo? VERY unlikely, but maybe possible if Ainge does what Rockets GM Daryl Morey attempted last June, which is to accumulate extra 1st rounders and then package them to move up. Houston did move up, but Morey's ultimate target was Andre Drummond, so he was not 100% successful. Hypothetically let's say Ainge trades Pierce for a 1st rounder the week of the draft. Then he trades that pick and #16 to get up to let's say #9. Now you're at least within striking distance of a top 2 pick. Could #9 and Bradley and/or Sully be enough to get a top 2 pick? Probably not, since most teams don't value those two players as much as the Celtics and especially Celtics fans do, but it's possible.

Personally I've very high on Noel. I don't care that he's skinny as a teenager. He'll fill out. He blocks shots like a mad man. He has a great motor and his wingspan is ridiculous. Plus the kid already bleeds green.

Projected No. 1 pick Nerlens Noel, born in Everett, calls Kevin Garnett his favorite basketball player and the Boston Celtics his most beloved team. Once asked who he's most looking forward to meeting in the NBA, Noel answered Garnett.

More likely than trying to trade up the Celtics are trying to think several years ahead. Interviewing a prospect before the draft is essentially your first recruiting pitch for when a player's rookie contract ends and he can be a free agent. Most elite free agents won't leave their teams to come to Boston unfortunately. Noel could be the exception years down the road. Interviewing him now is doing your due diligence. Smart move on Ainge's part.


JR 5/18/2013 03:21:00 AM Edit
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