ESPN's Ford has Celtics drafting small forward Shabazz Muhammad in latest mock

In Chad Ford's latest mock draft, the ESPN analyst has Boston taking UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad with the 16th pick.

The 6'6" small forward didn't exactly have a break-out year in Los Angeles last season, as he was suspended by the NCAA for three games for receiving travel benefits in high school and it was later discovered that he is actually 20 years old, instead of 19 as everyone was led to believe. Muhammad's father brings his own set of baggage as its been well documented that Muhammad has been groomed and promoted by his dad to be a first round pick and a superstar in the NBA pretty much since birth.

Before all the drama, Muhammad was projected as a top-five pick and in contention for number one overall. He has talent, averaging 17.9 ppg and 5.2 rpg in his one and only season in college. He can score at will, looks to do so and has no problem carrying a team, as he did with the Bruins last year.

So why would he fall to the mid-first round for the Celtics to snatch up? Call it a case of scouts not liking to get fooled or general managers avoiding off-court issues like the plague, but the focus on Muhammad lately has been on all the things he can't do.

It's true, Muhammad has some weaknesses. He can be slow to get back on defense, doesn't get many steals or assists and if his shot is off, the rest of his game suffers.

All that being said, it seems kinda crazy that those issues would keep Muhammad from at least being a top-10 pick given the rest of the talent in this draft. Even the player most consider to be the number one pick, Nerlens Noel, is not without his issues on the offensive end and he's coming off of a torn ACL no less.

As for his fit with the Celtics, even though Muhammad is listed as a small forward, at 6'6" he would probably be better suited as a shooting guard. The Celtics need scoring badly and Muhammad seems like an O.J. Mayo in the making, a player Boston already tried to bring in.

Sure, the Celtics need size the most, but drafting purely for need in the NBA rarely works out. Most of the big men projected to be available when Boston picks are scouted as role players at best. With players like Muhammad and German point guard Dennis Schroeder, there is at least the possibility of them becoming legit starters, if not team leaders.

All in all, no one knows who will be available and expect more players to be tied to the Celtics sole draft pick before the actual draft at the end of the month.

Here's his Draft Express scouting video:

Follow Eric