Countdown to the NBA draft: Cleveland 2017 second-round edition

The Boston Celtics made it through the NBA Trade Deadline with their roster intact, to the consternation of some, and the relief of others.

Now that that's behind us, focus tends to shift to the last twenty-something games teams have left in the regular season, playoff seeding, and, for those of us with an eye on the future, the draft and college game. For many of us, this is the peak of basketball season, with a veritable smorgasbord of ball games to keep track of, and increasingly not just at the pro and college level. More than ever, the future of NBA rosters are coming not from college but overseas leagues as well, meaning it's harder than ever to have the kind of knowledge you'd like about who you want your team selecting this June. Let's help each other out, then, shall we?

If the lead-up to the trade deadline taught us anything, the abundance of assets Danny Ainge has accumulated in the last four years had the Celtics involved in almost every trade rumor and proposal circulating through NBA media outlets, driving even those of us who are into team-building and cap geekery a little crazy. In response - and partially to stay engaged in the face of so many rumors, we debuted the Countdown to the trade deadline series, where we asked you, the reader, YOUR thoughts on said rumors. It didn't just make things tolerable, you collectively provided solid analysis often absent from some of the chaff circulating on Celtics-oriented trades, comparable to much of the better analysis on the same.

So, it seemed logical to continue checking with the CelticsLife hive-mind on the topic of who Boston should have its eyes on for draft options in a summer which could see the Celts pick from as many as six different potential selections of the 60 available picks, depending on whether the Celts use their pick swap with the Brooklyn Nets (they almost certainly will, but draft night trades could change that). In this iteration of "Countdown", we'll give you four potential draft targets likely to be available in the range of the pick we're writing about, with some minimal information about the player. You, the reader, will then vote in the Twitter poll, with the option to write in a player I've left out by writing their name in the mentions of the poll.

As with the trade deadline-oriented Countdown series, we'll use the results of the poll to take a deeper dive into the background of the player you select. Links to video, gifs, stats, or other evidence you feel helps the case of the player you are voting for or writing in is not only welcome, but encouraged. We'll use the best - and funniest - tweets and comments in our write-up of your selection, so be sure to track down whatever you think best shows why they are the obvious choice for the pick.

Today, we're starting all the way at the back of the draft with the Cleveland Cavaliers' 2017 second-round pick, currently expected to fall in the last three or four slots of the draft based on their record as of this writing. It's not an especially exciting pick most of the time, but as we see every time Isaiah Thomas steps on the court, great value can occasionally come even this deep in the draft. It's usually wise to swing wildly for high-ceiling, high-risk players once you are past the midway point of the draft, so we're going to give you four choices who might just turn some heads this fall - if they ever make it on a basketball court, that is.


Aleksandar Vezenkov - Barcelona
While something of a poor defender and athlete, he possesses deep, accurate range, and has a solid basketball I.Q., forcing his way onto scouts' radar by leading the Greek league in scoring this season.

Amida Brimah - Connecticut
With one of the best defensive ratings of any player in the NCAAs, you would think Brimah would be ranked higher, but his limited offensive game and injury-plagued UConn squad have seen his stock drop in recent months.

Melo Trimble - Maryland
Once viewed as a possible lottery pick, Trimble's stock has slipped after his Maryland team has failed to duplicate the early success it had with him. A competent point guard with great pick-and-roll skills who should become at minimum rotation distributor with starter ceiling.

Alpha Kaba - Mega Leks
Still very raw for a player with pro experience, he is a rim-protecting and rebounding machine with a seven-foot, five-inch wingspan and a good if imperfect shooting form that could translate to the NBA with some work.

So, who should Boston choose with the CLE 2017 second-round pick? One of these four? Someone else? Take the poll, and let us know your thoughts (preferably with evidence of some sort) of who the Celts should take, and we'll get back to you with the results later this week.

For more stories about the NBA Draft, click here. For more by Justin, click here.

Photo via Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Data via, and
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn