With the 27th pick, the Boston Celtics have the opportunity to select a role player that could contribute to future championship runs
While the Boston Celtics may not be able to select a prospect with star-caliber upside this draft like they might have hoped with the Lakers pick, the 27th pick is still valuable as they have the opportunity to select a role player that could contribute to future championship runs. Here are some players I believe the team should target with their first round pick.
Thomas, a back-to-back Big East Defensive Player of the Year, seems to have been built in a lab by Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens. While the 6’2” guard will make a living in the NBA playing suffocating on-ball defense and sporting a reliable three-point stroke, he will need to improve his ball-handling and finishing to reach his full potential.
If either Marcus Smart or Terry Rozier aren’t wearing green next season, I believe that Thomas could be used in a meaningful reserve role on day one. This makes him a perfect fit for the Celtics if he falls into their hands. I’m more than comfortable comparing Thomas to starting caliber guards in Avery Bradley and Patrick Beverley, who thrive in complimentary 3&D roles.
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The beefy 6’9” Spellman brings a versatile and unique game to the table for a player his size. He averaged 10.9 points and 8 rebounds per game and shot 43% from deep (on 3.8 attempts). Although his athleticism isn’t great for NBA standards, the National Champion projects to be an above average defender, rebounder and shot blocker.
Spellman would be a perfect system-fit for the Celtics as they really prioritize competitive, team orientated players. He could become what fans hoped Jared Sullinger would be…
Although Huerter may be lesser-known than the other players here, his profile as a prospect is just as substantial. The Terrapin may be one of the most talented off-ball scorers in the entire draft, equipped with a deadly 3-point jump shot both from a set position and off-screens. His form and movements are very reminiscent of Klay Thompson.
The 6’7” Huerter could also be used as a secondary playmaker as he showed flashes of brilliance and averaged a solid 3.4 assists per contest. If his shooting translates to the NBA level, which many believe it will, then his absolute floor will be a solid offensive spark off the bench. Whether his merely average defense and athleticism translate is the real question, as it will end up determining his true potential.
Wagner caught everyone’s attention in March, when he earned NCAA All-Tournament honors. The German forward owns a very skilled offensive game – he’s a great 3-point shooter off the catch (shot over 39%), has a strong pick-and-pop game and is pretty solid in the post. Although he puts good energy into his defense, his average athleticism and measurements put a cap on how good he can become in the NBA on that end. If drafted by the Celtics, Wagner will look to earn a Kelly Olynyk-esque role as a scoring big-man off the bench.
During his time at Duke, Allen gained the reputation of being an entitled and dirty player. Be that as it may, he is a first-round talent. Allen’s 3-point shot was very reliable throughout all four of his years in Durham, while his playmaking ability and passing vision undoubtedly improved. His draft stock also took a surge after a great showing at the recent NBA Draft Combine, were he showed off his elite athleticism, ranking first in the agility lane test and fifth in vertical leap among all prospects.
In my opinion, Allen is one of the biggest hit-or-miss prospects in the entire draft. At worst, he’ll be out of the league in a few years. At best, he’ll be a spark plug off the bench in the mold of Eric Gordon – a good risk for the Celtics to take with their late first rounder.