Morning, Boston Celtics fans!
With the 2014 NBA Draft less than a week away, the Celtics are wrapping up their pre-draft workouts and will begin meeting in order to prepare a war plan.
Obviously, the Celtics’ front office will continue to assemble a trade package that might entice the Minnesota Timberwolves to part ways with All-Star forward Kevin Love. And knowing Danny Ainge, the Celtics may also be quietly pursuing other players who could be available for the right price.
But with a major trade before draft day looking less and less likely, the Boston Celtics appear to be preparing to use both of their first-round picks in this draft, and will try to envision every draft-day scenario possible in order to be prepared when the big day comes.
The team whose heads the Celtics should be trying to get inside the most? The Utah Jazz.
It’s pretty obvious that Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins are not going to make it out of the top four of this draft, and only slightly less obvious that Dante Exum will probably be a top-four pick, as well. For that reason, Boston doesn’t really need to worry about what Cleveland, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, or Orlando will do with their picks; instead, they assume those four names will be off the board, and if not, they can pounce on whichever one is left and thank their lucky stars all summer long.
The Utah Jazz, on the other hand, are in the perfect position to really screw the Boston Celtics over. And the way the Celtics’ luck has been going lately, it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s exactly what they do.
If reports are to be believed, Boston has its sights set on using the 6th pick on either Noah Vonleh, Marcus Smart, or Aaron Gordon. And if reports are to be believed, the Utah Jazz have their sights set on . . . Noah Vonleh and Aaron Gordon, with some pundits suggesting Marcus Smart could be on their radar, as well.
Granted, the Jazz can only use the fifth pick on one of these prospects, but more than any team in the draft, Utah will dictate how Boston uses its first pick in the draft. If Boston is really intent on grabbing a threat to score in the paint, Vonleh would be their man – but if Utah snatches him up with the fifth, will the Celtics bypass Gordon and settle for Julius Randle, who already appears to be ready to score, but whose ceiling is significantly lower than those of both Vonleh and Gordon? Or do they shift gears entirely and pick up Smart, who would definitely provide Rajon Rondo with a monster of a backcourt mate?
Here’s a video from SI.com’s Chris Mannix that projects the top five picks – if this holds true, what do you think the Boston Celtics should do with the sixth pick?