It’s never too early to take a look ahead to next year’s draft if you’re a Boston Celtics fan.
Similar to this past draft, the Celtics are likely to have another top-three pick, courtesy of the Brooklyn Nets. The 2017 pick might be even better than this year’s.
Next year’s draft is certainly going to be better than this year’s, too.
Much was said about the 2016 NBA Draft and how it was a ‘two-man’ draft consisting of Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram and everyone else. The Celtics drafted Jaylen Brown with the third overall pick and as much as I like Brown and feel that the Celtics did the right thing on draft night, it’s hard for me to not wonder what could have been if the ping pong balls went in Boston’s favor.
Next year should be the draft year Celtics have been clamoring for since they missed out on the Tim Duncan sweepstakes. But who should they target?
ESPN’s Chad Ford released his big board of collegiate prospects heading into next season a little while back on ESPN Insider, which can be seen for subscribers here. But let's be real, who actually pays for Insider?
So for everyone who doesn't have a subscription, here’s a list of his top-10:
1) Josh Jackson: 6-foot-8, Kansas, Freshman, Forward
2) Harry Giles: 6-foot-11, Duke, Freshman, Forward
3) Markelle Fultz: 6-foot-5, Washington, Freshman, Guard
4) Dennis Smith: 6-foot-2, NC State, Freshman, Guard
5) Frank Ntillkina, 6-foot-5, France, 18-years old, Guard
6) Lonzo Ball: 6-foot-5, UCLA, Freshman, Guard
7) Jayson Tatum: 6-foot-7, Duke, Freshman, Forward
8) Jonathan Isaac: 6-foot-11, FSU, Freshman, Forward
9) De’Aaron Fox: 6-foot-4, Kentucky, Freshman, Guard
10)Ivan Rabb, 6-foot-11, Cal, Sophomore, Forward
First things first: no more guards.
Boston has too many guards on its roster (Thomas, Smart, Rozier, Bradley, Jackson, Hunter, Young) heading into next season and barring some significant trade from Danny Ainge, the last thing the C’s need is another young guard coming off the bench.
The Al Horford signing was fantastic, but we need more than just Horford. Amir Johnson is a decent defender, but he isn’t a starter on a contending team. Kelly Olynyk, when healthy, is a good stretch-five.
When he's healthy.
In this writer’s opinion—if the Celtics win the lottery and get the No. 1 pick—the choice is clear.
And that choice would be the selection of Harry Giles.
Giles is a freak of a basketball player. Sure, he’s had two ACL surgeries and that is a concern. But seriously. He’s a much better prospect than Ingram was this season and one could argue that he has a higher ceiling than Simmons.
Here’s what Ford had to say about Giles:
“Were it not for two torn ACLs (one during his sophomore year and one to start his senior year), Giles would be the hands-down consensus No. 1 pick right now. He's blessed with the rare combination of both elite physical tools and basketball skills. He ticks every single box an NBA scout would look for in a modern power forward.
If those knees are 100 percent and Giles can still show off the same level of athleticism he did in high school, then he could easily end up as the top pick in 2017. However, until scouts see him prove that on the court, there's a certain level of skepticism factored into this ranking.”
Wow. This is the first time I’ve ever agreed with Chad Ford’s analysis. He’ll have the perfect opportunity at Duke to prove himself, filling in Ingram’s position on the floor next season if he’s ready to play.
There is the chance that he does drop in next year’s draft because of his injury history, so if the Celtics don’t get the No. 1 pick, he may slip to them in a Nerlens Noel type of scenario.
I talk to a lot of people that like Ivan Rabb and Jayson Tatum, but neither of them really make me feel good about drafting if I'm in the Celtics' front office.
Rabb is a solid player out of California and was likely going to be a lottery pick if he came out after his freshman season. But is he an elite talent? I don’t think so.
Rabb is the kind of player who could put up 14 points and 10 rebounds on any given night, but I can’t get the idea out of my head that he’s the next Ed Davis. Not a bad thing, but it’s not a very attractive option.
Tatum would’ve ranked higher for me if we didn’t draft Brown. He’s a great talent who should shine in what should be his only season at Duke with Giles, but there’s just something about Brown’s mentality that I love. He’s that type of player that bleeds green, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything. Tatum wouldn't fit on our roster unless we moved Jae Crowder or Brown, which should never happen.
Who do you think the Celtics should take with the Nets pick next summer? Let us know in the comment section below.
Photo Courtesy: AP Photo/Gregory Payan
Follow David McCracken on Twitter @crackemc David McCracken 8/12/2016 09:00:00 AM Tweet Edit