The Celtics "could be looking to move up" in the draft
Trading up in the first round is not out of the question for the Celtics.
The Celtics hold the 16th pick in the 2013 NBA draft, but they may look to deal that pick and a player or a future pick to get into the top 10.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix seems to think Boston could be looking to improve their drafting position based on who they've interviewed.
An aside on Boston. C's met with Victor Oladipo, who will likely be gone in top-ten. Met with Kelly Olynyk, too. Could be looking to move up
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 17, 2013
There's been some buzz that the Dallas Mavericks could be shopping their 13th overall pick to free up cap space for a run at free agent big man Dwight Howard. If the Celtics could snag that pick for a protected future first rounder and maybe a second rounder, then having picks number 13 and 16 should be more than enough to swap for a top 10 selection.
Potential trade partners would have to be teams that are more than one first-rounder away from starting to compete. The New Orleans Pelicans (6th) and Detroit Pistons (8th) fit that bill. The Washington Wizards (3rd) and Charlotte Bobcats (Hornets?) (4th), and Phoenix Suns (5th) are also in that category, but two picks outside the top 10 or the 16th pick and a player (unless it's Avery Bradley or Jared Sullinger) are not enough to snag a top five pick, even in this mediocre draft.
Fab Melo's name has reportedly come up many times recently from other teams looking at the Celtics roster, so he seems like the most likely to be dealt for a higher pick. From the Boston Herald:
He’s not the best Celtic. He played just 36 NBA minutes this past season, and there’s no guarantee he’ll find any playing time next season either. Yet most of the questions regarding an individual on the C’s roster from other clubs to a reporter at the pre-draft workouts were about Fab Melo.”
It's hard to justify trading away Melo when he was picked last year with the understanding that he's a project and will take time to before he is NBA ready. But if the Celtics are looking to stay competitive now and think a top 10 pick would help that along then the seven-foot Brazilian could be somebody else's project.
If the Celtics were to jump into the top 10, they could look to draft Maryland big man Alex Len, Michigan point guard Trey Burke, Indiana big man Cody Zeller or Las Vegas big man Anthony Bennett. While none project to be superstars, all are very skilled players that would make an impact the second they stepped on the court.
It all depends on how much Danny Ainge covets a guy who could be available in picks 6-10. Or Ainge could go another route and snag up the Mavericks' pick to use it to draft a backup point guard like Miami's Shane Larkin, Dennis Schroeder from Germany, or Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams and keep the 16 pick for a big.