Celtics 2-Round Mock Draft: Boston Reloads for Banner No. 19

Oct 2, 2023; Boston, Celtics, USA; Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens talks during Boston Celtics Media Day. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2023; Boston, Celtics, USA; Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens talks during Boston Celtics Media Day. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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On Wednesday, the first round of the NBA Draft will usher in the league's next generation of talent. Only a week and a half from capturing their 18th NBA title and less than a week after taking their Duck Boat victory lap of Boston, the Celtics are quickly forced to turn their attention to the future.

Although Boston doesn't select until the end of the first round, the draft presents an opportunity to identify players that could morph into key contributors down the road. The core is assuredly solidified with Finals MVP Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum leading the way, but it will take a full roster effort to chase Banner 19. The Celtics will undoubtedly be looking to parlay their 2024 title into a dynasty run, and the players selected on Wednesday and Thursday night could eventually factor into achieving that dream.

Even in the aftermath of the C's championship on Monday night, Brad Stevens pointed out that they would be hosting draft prospects the very next day. Even after achieving the sports' ultimate prize, Stevens and the top Boston brass had one eye on the Celtics' future.

The 2024 NBA Draft also marks the first time that the first and second rounds will be held on separate nights since the current format was adopted in 1989.

With the quick turnaround from a Game 5 clincher to draft night, here are the prospects that could hear their name called by the Celtics later this week.

1. First Round (30th Overall): Tyler Kolek, PG, Marquette

It might take a little bit of a slide for him to fall to the Celtics, but Brad Stevens brings Rhode Island native Tyler Kolek back to New England with the final pick of the first round in this mock draft.

Kolek transferred to Marquette after one season at George Mason, and helped lead the Golden Eagles to a Big East Tournament title and a Sweet Sixteen berth. Kolek declared for the draft with a laundry list of accolades, including being named 2023 Big East Player of the Year and a second-team All-American in both 2023 and 2024. He also led the entire country in assists in 2024.

In 31 games played, the 23-year-old averaged 15.3 points per game, shooting 49.6% from the field and 38.8% from beyond the arc. He also added 7.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game.

Some of Kolek's scouting report reads like a player custom-made for a championship Celtics team that will be in pursuit of another title. He "embodies a winning player" and an "ultimate competitor" that is a "proven winner that plays his best when it matters most". A personal favorite from one scouting report? Via Sporting News: "It's become cliche to say that a player has that dog in him, but Kolek has a 100-pound doberman where his heart should be". That sounds like a guy you want on your team to chase Banner 19.

There are questions about Kolek's measurables and athleticism, and concerns over the ability of his skillset to translate to the NBA will be the reason he falls in the draft - if he does.

Derrick White's contract extension has been described as "near-certain", but allowing Kolek to develop as a point guard behind White could be an attractive long-term approach for Stevens.

French wing Pacome Dadiet, Kansas guard Kevin McCullar, Jr., and Creighton guard Baylor Scheierman have frequently been linked to the Celtics with the 30th overall pick. Kolek has been mocked as high as 16th overall, but as low as falling into the second round. If he is still on the board for Boston, he would be a hard player to pass up on.