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While the Boston Celtics may not have the high draft pick they've had over the last few summers courtesy of Billy King and the Brooklyn Nets, that isn't stopping the fanbase from thinking about how to acquire one.

While some of the rumors out there involve shipping off one of the last two lottery picks Boston has selected for a shot at a pick that's even lower than either were selected at (and performing at or above that level to date) are clearly so dumb I won't even waste time on them, the possibility of players who might need to be moved anyhow (depending on what they would want to come back among other issues) and picks from Boston's still-substantial asset war chest is not out of the question.

So, there may actually be a little fire to the smoke of Boston trying to move up in the draft - the question is how far would they want to aim for - and how low such a target might fall. Of course, you need a team to play ball with the Celts within the parameters of what the team would be willing to mortgage for breaking into even the late lottery.

Given what Boston already has in hand with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, it's safe to say they won't be in any deal to advance in the draft. But Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, and to a lesser extent Marcus Morris may find themselves in another uniform if the right combination of trade partner, players and picks could be made to send the right target to play for Danny Ainge and company.

Given the number of bigs in this draft and the likely need to replace Al Horford as he ages out of a starting role, such a move would make sense if a desired frontcourt target fell into the range of an amenable trade partner. Marquee names like DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III are probably out of Boston's reach, but there's always a shot players like Jaren Jackson Jr., Wendell Carter or Mo Bamba could slip to a range Boston might be able to trade up to.



To that end, the folks over at NBC Boston put together some video about the latter prospect, who's already gone to lunch with Danny, too, it seems. I wouldn't get my hopes up here, but stranger deals have happened with Ainge at the helm.

It seems much more likely Boston picks at the twenty-seventh slot it currently controls, and there's plenty of players available in that range who'd fit the Danny Ainge-type of player we've seen him draft in the last half-decade - gritty, aggressive defenders and athletic wings.



Maybe my personal favorite in this range is Villanova's Donte DiVincenzo, who epitomizes that kind of defense and has a decent shot from deep, too.

It's possible someone could snap him up before us, though, and Donte has an interesting teammate on his NCAA Championship Wildcats squad who could also garner interest.



That guy, point guard Jalen Brunson might not be as eye-popping on the defensive end of the court, but he's still quite solid in that regard.

He's got a high basketball IQ, makes few mistakes with solid court vision - in fact his biggest flaws is that he's a four-year guy and a little short (6'2).



Failing him being Danny's guy at #27, another potential option is UCLA's Aaron Holiday, younger brother of Justin and Jrue, and a scorer in his own right.

He's a little slow and unexplosive, but his range and defense suggest he'll be a solid pickup if available at this late spot in the draft.



Boston might choose to keep it local and select Jerome Robinson of Boston College, as well, as the eminently switchable point guard has the size and skills to play both the one and two with ease, and could switch up to guarding the three in spot moments like another player we love.

The young wing needs to get stronger to hold his own against the biggest wings, but as an already-solid finisher, may become an important scoring option off the bench.



Finally, there's Creighton's Khyri Thomas to consider among the videos assembled by NBC Boston. If you can get past his name, there's a lot to suggest he'd be a likely Ainge option if still on the board.

Few players this late in the draft can be said to be better defenders, and none a closer Marcus Smart-substitute in how he's infamously good at deflections, coming up with 50-50 balls, and steals. But his ball-handling stinks, and his offense, while not as bad as Marcus', still needs work to succeed at the next level.

Personally, I'd still be interested in a gamble for a high-upside big given the already mentioned need in a season or three when Father Time takes his undeniable toll on Horford.



Some of the guys I think might be worth a look in that range are Michigan's Moritz Wagner, Villanova's Omari Spellman, USC's Chimezie Metu, Purdue's Vince Edwards, and Mitchell Robinson, who enrolled in Western Kentucky, but has since declared for the draft after being found draft eligible.

All of those bigs have potential as modern defenders and effective scorers, several of whom can shoot from outside. But all are also raw to very raw, and none of an elite skill to point to.



Still, any of the players mentioned in this article could be solid gets in a fairly deep if not top-heavy draft - let us know who else Boston should consider in the comments below.

For more stories by Justin, click here.


Image: Brian Babineau/NBAE
Video: NBC Boston/College Hoops TV/NCAA
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn

Justin Quinn 6/05/2018 02:28:00 PM Edit
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