Uncertainty: Between the Draft and a Hard Place

Weak draft with no sure impact players? No problem, Celtics don’t have any high picks, in fact they don’t even have a lottery pick, if fact they don’t even have a pick in the third quarter of the draft. At this time of year rumors are spreading like the wildfires in the parched southwest and yet you can be pretty certain that any time you see a GM’s mouth moving, he’s lying. Realistically in this season of uncertainty, you don’t know if there will be any free agent signings for a MLE or a LLE or any others for that matter. If there is a hard cap at $45M then the Celtics can’t even afford the six players they have signed, not even their own free agents, much less anyone else’s free agents. Given the circumstances, the draft would seem to be one of the simplest and most straightforward of the issues hanging in the air.

The “strength” of this draft is supposed to be it’s depth beyond the lottery. I think this means that
there may be no stars and there may be as many “keepers” taken between 16 and 45 as those snatched up by the lottery winners. Picking in the 20’s will be the crapshoot it always is. I don’t claim to have any particular insights. I read the draft sites and the blogs and the personal accounts of those who have seen the candidates with as much enthusiasm as any of you. I don’t follow college ball closely and have seen probably two overseas games in the past decade. What I do believe is this. Wyc seems determined to fun a big-time franchise and to spend like the “big market” teams. What this will mean with the new CBA is unknown but there is an opportunity here in this draft. It seems that there are a half dozen intriguing players likely to go between 20 and thirty. I like the odds of Danny hitting on a couple if given multiple shots. I’m all for Wyc buying two, maybe even three, picks late in the first round. Other teams shy away from the guaranteed 2-years salary and therein lies the opportunity. As for the picks, I favor some combination of:
Nikola Vucevic
Jordan Williams
JuJuan Johnson
Jeremy Tyler
Trey Thompkins
Jon Leuer
Nikola Mirotic (to leave overseas)

The first couple are solid picks that could reasonably contribute this year. Tyler, certainly more of a gamble, might also be amenable to staying overseas another year. I’m good with several of the 15-20 slotted players should they drop. I’m not in favor of giving assets (future picks, Bradley) to move up or acquire additional picks. See what’s for sale. Obviously I’m leaning toward big men but, especially if Wyc and pick up additional chances, if Danny sees quality, I believe in him.

A final note, since I am adamant in my belief that Celtics should avoid older retreads and still limit the minutes of the Big Three and O’Neal, I’m bullish on Doc incorporating the second, and even third, units into the mix from the outset.