The NBA Draft is set for Wednesday, Nov. 18, and the Celtics are the only team with three first-round picks, at 14, 26, and 30. They also have the 47th selection.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported that the Celtics have offered their first-round picks in trades to try to move up, but “no one is biting” so far. With minimal room on the roster, the Celtics would need to move some players in order to hypothetically make room for three rookies.
The consensus, however, is that this draft is relatively weak at the top but deep in overall talent, so it’s possible the Celtics will keep all four picks and try to nab either players who can contribute right away or can be turned into long-term projects.
Experts believe they’ll likely focus on wings who can shoot and defend, athletic big men, and point guards with upside. With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as the team’s cornerstones going forward, the main area of focus is on finding players who complement them well and can fill specific roles on the court.
Here are some potential avenues the Celtics could take with each of their four picks.
Options at No. 14
The Celtics were sorely missing shooting off the bench all season, and that weakness surfaced most against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
When Tatum and Brown got in foul trouble, the Celtics were often unable to fill the void and match Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro’s prowess from the 3-point line. One option for the Celtics at No. 14 is to take a proven shooter who has a chance to chip in off the bench right away.
A name that consistently surfaces on draft boards is Saddiq Bey, a a 6-foot-8 marksman from Villanova. Bey, a first-team All-Big East selection, is considered a knockdown shooter who has a high motor and can play steady defense.
“From Boston’s perspective, Bey doesn’t ooze upside, but he provides a good shooter and switchable defender at the 3 and 4 to take over some of the backup wing minutes that had Brad Stevens desperately sifting through the (Semi) Ojeleye-(Romeo) Langford-(Grant) Williams pupu platter a season ago,” The Athletic’s John Hollinger wrote.
Other shooters who could be available are Devin Vassell (Florida State), Aaron Nesmith (Vanderbilt), and Isaiah Joe (Arkansas). Stadium’s Jeff Goodman pointed out that Vassell’s stats don’t do him justice, because Florida State plays 10 or 11 guys every game. Goodman also noted that Vanderbilt was 3-15 without Nesmith and 8-6 with him last season.
☘️🗣 NEW CELTICS TALK POD@GoodmanHoops thinks the Celtics should be targeting one thing in this draft and should be able to find it at 14. Plus, the Gordon Hayward trade he’d do in a heartbeat.
— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) October 28, 2020
If they don’t take a three-and-D guy, the expectation is that the Celtics will go after a big man or a guard. One name floating around is Jalen Smith, a 6-foot-10 power forward out of Maryland. Smith averaged 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks last season, and he also shot 53.8 percent from the floor, 36.8 percent from 3-point range, and 75 percent from the line. While it’s clear the Celtics love the upside of Robert Williams, Smith’s versatility could make him a prime candidate. NBAdraft.net has the Celtics taking him at 14 in its latest mock.
Gary Parrish of CBS Sports believes Nesmith, Bey, and Vassell will all be gone at 14, and he expects the Celtics to take a point guard with tremendous upside in Kira Lewis (Alabama).
“The fact that Kemba Walker is 30 years old and coming off of a disappointing postseason might have the Celtics looking at point guard options with this pick,” Parrish wrote. “If so, the best one available is probably Kira Lewis, who will still only be 19 years-old on the night of the draft.”
Options at No. 26
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge is an ideal spot, where the Celtics are just a few pieces away from contending for a championship and he has many opportunities to find players who could help the cause.
While it can be more difficult to pinpoint that kind of value late in the first round, there’s still a chance to find a hidden gem. One player whose name has appeared in this spot is Tyler Bey, a 6-foot-7 forward out of Colorado – which means it’s possible the Celtics could draft two players named Bey in a row to complement the Grant and Robert Williams combo. Tyler Bey averaged 13.8 points, 9 rebounds and 1.5 assists last year. He improved his scoring average every year with the Buffaloes, and his 3-point percentage skyrocketed from 0 percent as a freshman to 22.7 as a sophomore to 41.9 this past season.
Leandro Bolmaro is another name to keep an eye on here. Bolmaro, a 6-foot-7 Argentine-Italian, is 20 years old and is described as a potential point-forward. He’s currently playing for Barcelona and will be there all season at a minimum, according to Hollinger. Both Hollinger and Parrish have the Celtics taking Bolmaro at No. 26, and NBAdraft.net has them nabbing him at pick 30.
The strategy for the Celtics here would be to stash Bolmaro and develop him in the coming years.
“He makes a ton of sense if Boston can’t move the pick, given the Celtics’ roster crunch and the fact they have three first-round picks,” Hollinger said.
— ARG hopes (@arghopes) January 12, 2020
NBC Sports Boston has the Celtics selecting San Diego State 6-foot-1 guard Malachi Flynn 26th overall.
“A really smart guard who could fill the Brad Wanamaker role really well if the C’s do indeed decide to get younger at that spot,” Rob Snyder wrote.
Options at No. 30
The Celtics’ strategy with the 30th overall pick is predicated upon what they do with the 14th and 26th selections.
If they take a shooter early and a guard after that, they could go with a big man here. If they draft a power forward followed by a point guard, they could select a shooter with the final pick of the first round.
NBC Sports Boston chose 6-foot-7 guard Robert Woodard out of Mississippi State as the best option in this slot. He could be a G-League project who would have a chance to develop with the Maine Red Claws and potentially help the Celtics in the future.
“It wouldn’t be a Celtics draft without grabbing the high-energy guy who excels at the little things,” Snyder wrote. “Woodard just feels like a Brad Stevens project.”
Options at No. 47
Most mock drafts include just one round, but NBAdraft.net has the Celtics taking Ashton Hagans (Kentucky) with the 47th overall pick.
He averaged 11.5 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game, shooting 81 percent from the stripe but just 25.8 percent from 3.
Other options include Duke guard Tre Jones, Michigan State guard Cassius Winston, Louisville wing Jordan Nwora, and Georgetown big man Omer Yurtseven, all of whom are projected as second-round picks and fill a need for the Celtics.
Top 3-Point Shooters at NBA Combine Endurance Drill (5 minutes consecutive game-speed spot-3s)
Jordan Nwora (78%)
Immanuel Quickley (76%)
Grant Riller (76%)
Kaleb Wesson (73%)
Markus Howard (73%)
Cassius Winston (71%)
KJ Martin (71%)
Skylar Mays (70)
Nathan Knight “
Isaiah Joe “
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) November 5, 2020
Last year, with four picks in similar spots, the Celtics took Langford at 14, Grant Williams at 22, Carsen Edwards at 34, and Tremont Waters at 51. Langford showed flashes but battled injuries, Williams impressed right away and carved out a role for himself, Edwards was streaky in a limited role, and Waters excelled with the Red Claws and was inconsistent with the Celtics.
The question this year is whether or not the Celtics keep all four picks. Ainge often likes to strike a balance between immediate contributors and long-term projects, and this year’s deep draft class should give him ample opportunity to find both.
Get Boston.com's browser alerts:
Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.