Finally it is here, draft day 2014 for the NBA. While fans of every team are wondering who their team will draft, there is more at stake for the Celtics than most clubs. The team could deal for a star, namely Kevin Love, shipping out both of their first rounders and more for the Timberwolves forward. They could also go in the opposite direction, trading Rajon Rondo for a lottery pick+, and going into total rebuild mode. Or they could trade up, trade down, or simply make their selections at 6 and 17.
It's the NBAs equivalent to a choose your own adventure book. With that in mind, let's choose our own adventure. Here's what some of the CelticsLife writers think is going to happen, and be sure to vote in our polls below.
I badly want the Celtics to choose a clear path tonight, but also understand that it is not that simple. I think that a trade for Love is a long-shot at this point because the Timberwolves demands (established players over picks) just do not fit the Celtics assets. I think that Rondo will be shopped, but it's hard for me to imagine a deal happening by 8 pm. Of all the teams in the lottery, I could really only see Sacramento and LA being willing to give up their pick for Rondo, and the Lakers do not have anything else to offer making a deal there unlikely. If Rondo does get moved I think that a late summer deal could be more realistic, especially if the Kings really do land Josh Smith at some point. A Kings offer of whoever they pick at #8, the rights to Isaiah Thomas and Ben McLemore would still be attractive come late July (unless they draft someone the Celtics do not like obviously).
So with that said, Boston sticks at 6 and 17. At #6 they take Marcus Smart, giving them a possible replacement for Rondo if they do decide to deal him. I think Smart is going to be a Russell Westbrook type player, with insane amounts of energy, great defense, above average rebounding and the ability to get to the hoop. If he can develop even an average three-point shot he will be an All-Star for years to come.
At #17 I'm going with Dario Saric. Saric is a top-ten player in terms of talent, already leading the Adriatic league in scoring at age 20, and he'll be eligible to come over in 2016 at the age of 22. Just about the time a Celtics rebuild is hopefully all coming together.
I also think the Cs will deal for a second round pick, probably from Philly who has about 12 of them.
By the time this runs, I will feel completely different about all of this. The pre-draft swirl is changing landscapes as we speak.
As of this post, I believe that Danny Ainge will be drafting and keeping both the 6th and 17th pick.
All things being equal and no if shake-ups happen before the deadline, at No. 6, Danny Ainge is taking Aaron Gordon. If things go bananas (like the Magic trading 4, 12 and Afflalo for No. 1) the Celtics will take Embiid if he's available. Or Exum if he's available. Or Marcus Smart if he's available. THERE IS TOO MUCH GOING ON RIGHT NOW.
At No. 17, the Celtics are taking Dario Saric with the ol' "stash 'em in Europe" move. While I am as anti-"blow it up" as it gets, blowing it up is the least volatile option facing the Celtics right now or at least it seems that way.
As long as he doesn't get hurt in Turkey, Dario would fit nicely on a young team in 2016 that is starting to find it's groove... or a baller team that is again competing for a championship. THERE IS TOO MUCH GOING ON.
Plus if the draft class is looking like garbage in two years, the Dario pick will look genius. He would make an impact when no young impact players are available.
My prediction: We get Kevin Love or trade Rajon Rondo. So, uh, ya, kind of an eventful day. As much as I'd like to hope for the former, I get the feeling it'll be the latter.
6th pick - Joel Embiid
Philly and Orlando both scare me, but I think Philly goes safe(r) selecting Dante Exum, and I think Orlando's too nervous about the state of their franchise to roll the dice on Embid's health.
Trade Rajon Rondo to the Sacramento Kings for #8 overall and Isaiah Thomas, Thomas moved to a third team for assets
8th pick - Elfrid Payton
Just a gut feeling here. I know Danny's gone on record saying he likes Marcus Smart, but something tells me he'll surprise and go unconventional here.
17th pick - Adreian Payne
ALL ABORD! WOO! WOo!
Never count Danny "the Gambler" Ainge out of a trade. Given his track record and job security, he's a guy who's unafraid to swing for the fences. That being said, trading up from No. 6 looks to be rather difficult and trading back doesn't really make sense. The No. 17 pick could be moved around, but all the players in that range are pretty interchangeable so a move there wouldn't make a ton of sense either. Kevin Love is more than likely heading to the Warriors. Boston might pick up another high pick by trading Rajon Rondo, but that's far from a certainty. So Boston keeps its picks and selects Marcus Smart and T.J. Warren. Smart is the guard version of KG. As a diehard Garnett fan, I don't say that lightly. Smart oozes competitive fire and is a great two-way player. Warren is the definition of instant offense and would be a great replacement for Jeff Green down the road or could easily slip into a Sixth Man role. Yes, both guys need to work on their three-point shooting, but this team isn't trying to win it all next year so they have time to develop that shot.
While I could easily see a draft day trade (and hope for one), the greatest likelihood is that the Cs end up maintaining their own picks. I still think Embiid is gone by 6, and Ainge nabs the fiery Marcus Smart. This could be a nice guard pairing and learning opportunity under Rajon Rondo, or leave the door open for a potential Rondo trade. At 17, I think either TJ Warren or Kyle Anderson will be available to fill the SF spot as the Celts prepare for the future to replace Jeff Green. Considering the Celtics' general scoring woes, I think Warren's natural knack for getting to the hole makes more sense (if available) to Anderson's overall guard-like drive and kick game.
I think the Celtics keep both picks. LeBron as a potential free agent target has thrown a wrench into everybody's plans, and a lot of teams aren't going to want to commit to anything right now. When I asked Brad Stevens (how can I miss a chance to throw that in here, haha) if the Celtics would draft for need or best available player, he said he though'd they'd use both picks on the best available guy regardless of position. Here's my best guess:
#6: Aaron Gordon (Embiid, Exum and Randle are off the table, Boston takes Gordon over Smart and Vonleh)
#17: Dario Saric (other teams pass on Saric unwilling to wait two years to get him, Ainge decides to be patient)
Well, when the team that will pick at #1 is the Cavaliers there's no way to know what will happen, but sure, I will try my best. We have heard a lot of rumors about the offers made to Cleveland to get that first pick, or the Celtics' offers to trade for Kevin Love, but honestly, I think the Celtics will end up having their own picks tomorrow night because Ainge is not as crazy as some GMs out there. I think the Celtics will make some important moves this summer, but I just can't see that happening tomorrow night. They might shift up/down one or two spots, but that's going to be it.
So, who do they pick? Well, Embiid is the biggest mystery in this one, but I think there will be at least one team who will take him despite his injury and hard-to-access medical records before the Celtics can, so I'm going with Marcus Smart at #6. Whether the Celtics pick Embiid or Smart, they will use their other pick for a 2/3 because Ainge also likes to draft based on need and will make use of this cheap wings fest. My pick for #17 is therefore Rodney Hood. I don't think we've heard enough reports that suggest the Celtics will pick him, so that might be the surprise of the night.
Firstly, draft night is going to be wild. We don’t know who the top pick is going to be, we can’t even be sure that the Cavs are going to keep the pick. In the end, I think they do keep it, which means the Celtics do not get the first pick in a three-way trade with the Kings. I believe that Danny Ainge will be active, though. He is going to be looking to add picks, and will do so.
He will probably add a second-rounder like he has said he plans to. But if no veterans (like Kevin Love) seem like they are available, Ainge will bite the bullet and trade Rajon Rondo. A trade with the Kings involving the eighth pick makes the most sense in my mind. So expect to see the Celtics drafting twice in the top-10 tonight, then at 17, and again in the second-round.
Ok that's what we think. What do you think? Vote in the polls:
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