Believe it or not, the NBA draft is just a couple of weeks away. Yet even as draft day (June 26) approaches, we still have no clue how the picks are going to play out.
The one certainty we believe to have is who the top-three picks will be -- Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. But even so, there is still no definitive order that those three will be taken in. Each of their names have been associated with the top-overall pick. As was Dante Exum's name at one point in time, but he has since settled in the 4-6 range.
Simply put, nobody knows anything, which makes for a wide variety of combinations in mock drafts. When it comes to the Celtics, there is even more uncertainty. But here is a roundup of all the names that are being thrown out in recent mock drafts:
Chad Ford, ESPN insider:
6th pick: Aaron Gordon (Arizona, freshman)
17th pick: Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia)
Ford is certainly a reliable source, but would fans really be happy with this outcome? I like Gordon a lot, he would immediately become the best athlete on the Celtics. Marcus Smart and Julius Randle may be more sure-things than Gordon, but his Blake Griffin-esque skill set is tough to ignore. If Gordon develops, he could be a star.
Then there's Kristaps Porz . . . who?? Honestly I have not really seen any of this guy, but his name is heating up. He is an athletic 7-footer who has the ability to step away from the basket, but this seems like too much of a gamble in a draft where really good players will still be on the board at 17. "Danny Ainge has two picks and can afford to gamble on one of them," Ford says. Well, the last time Ainge did that, Boston ended up with Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo . . . how 'bout we just go for two Sully's this time around.
6th pick: Dante Exum (Australia)
17th pick: Zach LaVine (UCLA, freshman)
In this scenario, Ainge would still have the chance to take Gordon, but with Marcus Smart and Noah Vonleh going fourth and fifth overall, Exum falls right into their laps. Gordon goes tenth overall in this scenario to the 76ers (who also land Wiggins at third) which I believe has no chance of happening. There is a better shot that Gordon is off the board before the sixth pick than sliding to 10.
Draft Express seems to think Rajon Rondo does not have much of a future in Boston, because they have Ainge taking the two most athletic combo guards in the draft. I would be shocked if Boston does not come out of this draft with at least one frontcourt player, but Exum and LaVine are certainly young talents. They would no doubt be exciting players to watch together in green, but aside from both being guards, there is a good shot Exum is off the board by six and LaVine is gone before 17.
6th pick: Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State, sophomore)
17th pick: Elfrid Payton (Louisiana Lafayette, junior)
And here we see yet another scenario in which Ainge ends up with two guards. I like Smart a lot, and think he could play alongside Rondo. I would have no problem with that pick. But then at 17, there is no reason to take another guard with so many useful big men expected to be available. Adreian Payne from Michigan State is going just two picks later in this mock, he would be a much better fit for the Celtics at 17 if the first selection is used on Smart.
Obviously there is far from a consensus as to who the Celtics will end up coming out of this draft with. You can check out my latest mock for WEEI.com here as well, and stay tuned for more mock updates each week here at Celtics Life.
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Sources: Chad Ford - ESPN insider, DraftExpress.com, NBAdraft.net, WEEI.com
Julian Edlow 6/11/2014 10:30:00 AM Tweet Edit