The Boston Celtics surprised everyone this season by making it to the Eastern Conference Finals. While they managed to play solid offensively and lockdown defensively, their poor rebounding proved to be their undoing. With power forwards Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett’s statuses up in the air due to free agency, along with the uncertainty of Chris Wilcox returning to the team, the Celtics will need to find some support for their dwindling crew of big men. And given the fact that they own picks 21 and 22 of the first round, the C’s could possibly add two bigs early on. Let’s look at some possibilities they might have to choose from when they step up to the mic.
Jared Sullinger, PF
At Ohio State, Sullinger was a star at the power forward position, averaging 17.2 PPG and 9.2 RPG over his past two seasons. Due to his numbers, he has become one of the most highly-touted amateur prospects, and rightfully so. Recently, however, his draft stock has dropped due to medical tests after the season which revealed a bulging disk in his back which his father attributes to “his hamstrings and quads being so tight.”. Needless to say, ESPN has since declined to extend Sullinger an invitation to the NBA Draft green room, indicating he will most likely be chosen late in the first round. Expect his name to be on the board when the C’s are up at 21.
Andrew Nicholson, PF
This 6′ 10″, 234-pound power forward has a sweet jump shot for a big man, one of the only few in the draft to boast such skill. His ability to shoot the basketball obviously has his value high, but with Terrence Jones and other big-name forwards donning the list Nicholson could still be on the board for the C’s at 21 or 22. Many have put him right below Terrence Jones at the position, and even though he played with St. Bonaventure in the less-than-challenging Atlantic-10 conference, he brings more to the table than meets the eye.
Perry Jones III, F
At 6′ 11″, Jones is an extremely agile and athletic talent, something the Celtics could use if they are to bring back the older legs of Kevin Garnett (along with Paul Pierce already on the roster). While scouts felt he underperformed in college, averaging 14.0 PPG and 8.0 RPG in two seasons at Baylor, many argue it was due to the fact he was playing out of position. Banging with the bigs at the center position, Jones seems to fit more as a winger, and maybe such a move in the NBA could ultimately change his fortunes for the better. Don’t be surprised to see his name on the board late in the first round.
Draymond Green, SF
Many of you Celtics fans may be wondering why I think the team will draft a SF, and with reason. The C’s already have defensive standout Avery Bradley locked in at the position: why draft another? All I can say is, don’t forget about the bench. Boston has a number of bench players who will become free agents this offseason, and Green would be an energetic addition to the thinning group. An athletic forward willing to learn and improve at his position, he could serve as Bradley’s protege. Plus, it’s always nice to have more guys that can keep up with Rajon Rondo on the floor. His work ethic and athleticism would fit perfectly into the Celtics’ system under Doc Rivers.
Well, there you have it. Two of these names could become Boston Celtics in the next 24 hours, or they could simply go sooner or later. The draft is unpredictable when it comes to picks and trades. But whatever the case, you can bet that the C’s will look to go big in the draft due to their lack of size. And who knows, they might just add a gem that will bring them right back to the Eastern Conference Finals.
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