Countdown to the NBA Draft: 2017 Boston first-round edition

First things first, a reminder this series is a collaboration with the CelticsLife reader's hive-mind, where we use our collective abilities and interest to take deep dives into the sea of prospective talent available to be selected by the Boston Celtics at any of the six potential spots the club may have the choice at selecting from. We provide you with four options (and the ability to write in suggestions) with a Twitter poll, the winner of which will get extended analysis colored by whatever facts, stats, video or other evidence you help source.

This edition, which covers options for Boston's own 2017 first-round pick, is almost certainly NOT going to be exercised by the Celts (given they would have to surrender the pick swap with the Brooklyn Nets to do so), is being included in our due diligence, as a scenario with Boston retaining its own pick in exchange for Brooklyn's involvement in a draft-night deal COULD happen, as unlikely as that scenario may be. But, there's always a chance a top-twenty player becomes available if and only if moving a bad contract signed in last summer's season of fiscal exuberance is a requirement to seal the deal, and weirder things have certainly happened. More than a few teams have put themselves in a bad spot like this, and may decide to punt it forward given their shackles and relative weakness to true contenders.

That scenario would still see the Celts in a position to pluck a quality player in what is projected to be a very deep draft for starter-level talent, even with the 27th pick of the NBA Draft. In fact, a player many saw as a potential number-one pick before injuries dropped his stock considerably - Harry Giles - might even be on the board, should Boston feel compelled to take a gamble after making a big move. It's quite possible they play it safe in such a scenario, though, so we've included three other options Boston might be interested in. Take a look, and let us know which of the four you think Boston should take with their own pick (should they keep it):


Harry Giles - Duke
At one time, the world was Harry's oyster. Then repeat surgeries to his knees and subsequent underwhelming performances at Duke changed everything, dropping a consensus top-five pick out of the lottery altogether. The explosive athleticism was the key issue that both catapulted him to the front of most mocks, and later knocked him far down the ranks once it looked like that athleticism might have been permanently impacted. Giles is a tantalizing prospect this late in the draft - if he can regain some of the spring in his step, the 19-year-old prospect could be the steal of the draft - or if not, an avoidable bust. His stat line, underwhelming at Duke in his post-recovery state, belies the 23 points, 16 boards, 1.8 steals and 2.1 blocks per-40 minutes body of work we have to judge him by, though the specter of mashed potato knees will threaten to keep him out of the first round entirely.

Anzejs Pasecniks - Gran Canaria
Pasecniks is quite an interesting prospect. At 7'2, he once formed part of a very tall tag-team duo with budding New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis - but was the rawer of the two by a lot. On one hand, he's managed to add significant muscle to a once-wiry frame, yet still has a way to go to play in the NBA. He can shoot surprisingly well from deep - 63.6% - but only averages an attempts every other game or so. He averages .7 blocks per game in just over 16 minutes of playing time per tilt...but rebounds less than many Celtics guards do per game (3.2) at a much lower level of competition. If Pasecniks can improve his fundamentals, add more weight, and be coaxed into shooting away from the basket more, a real special player might be had here.

Hamidou Diallo - NY Rens
Diallo, who might become the first "one-and-none" player after enrolling at Kentucky but may choose to remain in the draft if he feels he will be drafted in the first round. At 6'5 with a near- 7' wingspan, Diallo is very much a player in the mold of Andrew Wiggins - hyper-athletic and able to defend 1-3 easily, Hamidou still has work to do on his inconsistent jumper, mediocre passing, and ball-handling. Still extremely raw, his athleticism and high basketball IQ may provide the base for building up a very high ceiling player with enough development who would normally never be found this deep in the rankings if not for the unusual depth of this years' draft and Diallo's atypical situation.

Caleb Swanigan - Purdue
Swanigan was, as Diallo now is, a player who took advantage of recent NCAA rule changes to test the waters in last year's draft, ultimately returning after deeming his stock too low. Like Giles, many thought early on he might be a lottery pick, but his NBA Combine performance crushed that dream in its tracks. Swanigan returned to Purdue and put in a very solid performance, checking off many of the concerns raised at the Combine last summer. His elite rebounding might be exactly what Boston needs, and his NBA-ready frame and knack for scoring both near the rim and from the perimeter make him a good fit for today's NBA, likely able to provide meaningful rotation minutes out of the gate.

So, who should Boston choose with the Boston 2017 first-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 and more detailed analysis later this week.

For more articles on CelticsLife about the NBA Draft, click here. For more by Justinclick here.

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