Boston Celtics: Draft Harry Giles in Chad Ford’s Mock Draft


Chad Ford released a way too early NBA mock draft this week, and he has the Boston Celtics drafting Harry Giles with the second pick

Following an offseason in which the Boston Celtics finally were able to add a star via free agency in Al Horford, and a sharpshooter in Gerald Green, the future is looking bright for a team coming off a 48-win season and its second consecutive playoff appearance. The Celtics still have plenty of work to do, though, before being considered a real threat in the Eastern Conference.

Adding another dependable wing scorer is on their to-do list, but so is continuing to strengthen their still somewhat mediocre front court. Al Horford adds a ton more stability to a front court who produced very little in 2015-16. Although, it is still far from a finished project.

Los Angeles Clippers‘ power forward Blake Griffin has been someone who Boston has been rumored to be interested in. His athleticism and interior scoring makes him a good fit alongside Horford, especially considering that Horford would be able to help cover up his below-average defense.

While Griffin isn’t a bonafide superstar, he’s still a star and would instantly make the Celtics a better team. A trade for Griffin was seen as possible this summer since the Clippers have been heavy spenders over the past two summers, and Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are both expected to opt out of their contracts at the end of the season.

His availability, whether via trade or free agency next summer, has completely changed, though. According to a report from Steve Kyler, Blake Griffin plans on re-signing with the Clippers once he becomes a free agent. That’s yet another big name off the market for the Boston Celtics – a team desperately searching for a couple more key pieces to an already solid roster.

While the 2017 NBA Draft is a mere afterthought at this point, ESPN’s Chad Ford has already released his first mock draft of the season. Granted that training camp, let alone any games, hasn’t started yet in the NBA, and college football is more relevant than basketball at the moment, it’s very relevant news for a team who may find one of their last missing puzzle pieces through this upcoming draft. The opportunity to trade for a star is dwindling for the Celtics, making the draft all more important.

Ford had the Philadelphia 76ers owning the top pick, again. The 76ers finally got their point guard in Markelle Fultz. Although, with the second pick, Ford has the Boston Celtics drafting one of the most intriguing big men in recent memory – Harry Giles, a center out of Duke.

Of course, the Celtics aren’t projected to finish with the second worst record in the NBA. They have the right to swap first round picks with the Brooklyn Nets this year and own the Nets pick in 2018. While Giles going number two is huge news, it also highlight how bad the Nets may be this season.

Brooklyn traded away one of their best players in Thaddeus Young this offseason, and brought in rookies with raw talent but budding with potential, and veterans who are nothing more than solid role players. The Nets have very little hope this season and own a legitimate shot at landing the top pick in 2017 for Boston, especially if Ben Simmons has an immediate impact with Philadelphia – as well as Joel Embiid and Dario Saric.

Even with the top pick, Harry Giles makes a ton of sense for Boston, and it’s not hard to imagine him on Boston. Josh Jackson and Giles’ Duke teammate Jayson Tatum are also seen as possible options heading into the season, but Giles has the potential to be a franchise changing player that not many young players can even think of being.

Despite tearing his ACL twice in high school, including once that made him miss his senior season, he was still one of the top recruits in his class this year on every ranking site. His athleticism as a seven-footer, paired with his offense and defense, makes him a can’t miss prospect.

Every scouting report raves, and will continue to, about Harry Giles. Scouting reports are all water under the bridge at this point, though. Giles needs to prove he can play at the college level as a freshman and, most importantly, stay healthy. If he can stay healthy then he has a chance at being the top pick in this year’s draft and one of the best centers in the NBA in a couple of seasons.

As we head into training camp and college basketball practices get underway, Giles already seems like a perfect fit in the Celtics’ system. Sure, he needs to work on his outside shot, but, just like Griffin, Horford’s outside game pairs well with Giles’ athleticism and innate ability to finish at the rim. Horford is a rare player whose game is versatile enough to make it work alongside anyone in the front court. Plus, Giles is already seen as a superior shot blocker to Griffin, aiding a weak interior defensive team.

Drafting Giles would seemingly give the Celtics an instant contributor who could be the team’s shot blocker from day one. While that could really mean the end for Jordan Mickey with the Celtics, Giles’ freakish athleticism makes his potential on defense limitless – barring a major setback from his second ACL tear. It may take a couple of seasons but he has a chance to be a player who can lead a team deep into the playoffs, even with the mantra that you can’t build around big men anymore.

The main issue would be with Horford or Giles needing to play heavy minutes at power forward. With Paul Millsap in Atlanta for the past three seasons, Horford has seen fewer than 10 percent of his minutes at the four-spot. In fact, Horford has never seen more than 35 percent of his season minutes coming at the four, and has only played power forward for 14 percent of his minutes over his nine-year career.

With that being said, Harry Giles should see plenty of time at power forward as a freshman at Duke. Even though Giles boasts a 6-11 and 230 pound frame, Marques Bolden should see the majority of minutes at center for Duke. Therefore, it shouldn’t be projected as too big of an issue, especially when considering the special talents that both Horford and Giles are.

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Even though the NBA Draft is still nine-to-ten months away, this possibility should still get Celtics fans excited about the future. Because as promising of a season 2016-17 is looking to be, there is no doubt that the Cleveland Cavaliers are on their own tier in the Eastern Conference. Harry Giles has been in the spotlights for multiple years at this point, and thinking of adding a superstar potential talent to Boston’s roster is intriguing.

Obviously there is still a season to be played and a lot can happen at both levels. We saw Skal Labissiere fail to adjust to the college game last season, nearly dropping out of the first round. At the same time, players like Marquese Chriss exceed expectations and jump up draft boards at the end of the season and during pre-draft workouts. Besides, there’s no way to tell what other moves Danny Ainge has up his sleeves.

In the end, mock drafts at this point are more fun than anything. They should all be taken with a grain of salt. It does show that the notion of the Brooklyn Nets being a terrible basketball team in 2016-17 is universal, and that the Celtics likelihood of significantly adding to their front court this season is unlikely.

Kelly Olynyk and Jordan Mickey could take the next steps in their careers and prove to be starting caliber big men this season – making wing players like Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum more intriguing. Plus, players become available all the time, especially at the trade deadline when underachieving teams are selling to load up for the draft.

Next: Free Jordan Mickey Part 2?

Although, with the consistency of Danny Ainge unwilling to move any of the Brooklyn picks, and the Celtics current need to help their front court, envisioning Harry Giles in a Celtics jersey at this point next season isn’t crazy. It’s all an afterthought at the moment, but the top college players’ performances and stocks are more important than last season as the Nets are expected to be a train wreck this time around.