Last night, the order of the 2015 NBA draft was announced, and the top 2 picks belong to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers. While the majority of Green Teamers will always despise the Lakers, it certainly wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened.
This years draft is set to feature a pair of, what many believe to be, premier big men. Jahlil Okafor is a big guy who has an impressive offensive arsenal, and Karl Anthony Towns was the driving force behind Kentucky’s 38 game winning streak.
The consensus seems to be that they are going 1-2 regardless of who was selecting in those slots. The Celtics got lucky because a pair of division foes in the Knicks and 76ers were still alive for the top pick with just 4 teams remaining, but they will be selecting 3rd and 4th. Numerous mock drafts have the 76ers going with DeAngelo Russel, and the Knicks going with Emmanuel Mudiay.
While those two guys have a shot to be very good players in the league, neither are nearly as talented as Okafor or Towns, and guards coming into the division shouldn’t really scare Boston. The Celtics have established one of the best defensive backcourts in the NBA, but do not have an answer for a legit big man that can bang down low.
As for the Celtics draft, this could be one of the more interesting ones in recent memory. They should be looking to get bigger, and there are a pair of guys that could really help. At the top of the Celtics list should be Willie Cauley Stein. He is exactly what the squad needs. He is a big guy that is a phenomenal defender, and is a very aggressive rebounder. However, many experts have him going in the top 10 which means the Celtics would need to pull off a trade to get him. That being said, the Celtics also own the 28th and 33rd picks in this draft, so moving up via a trade isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
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The Celtics top pick is currently slotted at 16th, and there could be a number of solid players that are still on the board. The most interesting guy has to be Bobby Portis. He was magnificent averaging 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for Arkansas last season, but has a slender build for a Power Forward. He seems like the type of guy that will need a few years to grow into his grown man body, but could then become a force.
The other guy to watch for is Trey Lyles. Lyles was apart of a loaded Kentucky team, so his numbers aren’t overwhelming due to a lack of minutes, but he really came on strong at the end of the season. He proved that he has nice range for a big man, and is far from scared to stick his nose in to get a key rebound.
I wouldn’t be shocked if Ainge traded either/both the 28th and 33rd pick to move up in the draft, but some guys that could be in play if they stay put are Jarrell Martin (LSU), Jordan Mickey (LSU), Rakeem Christmas (Syracuse), and Montrezl Harrell (Louisville). All of those guys are rock solid defensively, but they will need some time to develop a consistent offensive game.
Most of the focus this offseason has been placed on free agency, but this years draft is already off to a good start for the Celtics. They will most likely avoid having either Okafor and Towns in the division, and have 3 of the top 33 picks in a draft that features plenty of big time talent.