By Aaron Jackson
With your brackets likely busted, your interest may be waning in the NCAA tournament and the Sweet 16. That said, it’s always fun to watch some of these players and think about what they would look like in a Celtics’ uniform. Some of the projected top picks are no longer playing, but the Celtics have a ton of second round options they could use to move back into the 1st, or use in the second. Here are five guys I could see wearing Celtic green or Red Claws red next season.
Moritz Wagner – The Michigan forward was projected as a mid-second rounder until his breakout game against Louisville. The 6-11 German forward was the model of efficiency against the Cardinals, scoring a career high 26 points on 11-14 shooting. He’s a forward that can really stretch the floor, which is a very in demand position right now in the NBA. That said, he’s a big guy that doesn’t really rebound. Most analysts say he may have gotten himself into the first round with his performance over the weekend, but the sophomore could fall back into the second round pretty easily. I could see the Celtics taking a flyer on him with the 39th overall pick.
Devin Robinson – At 6-8, Devin Robinson isn’t really a banger in the post, but he can hold his own. The Florida Gator averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds during the regular season, and is projected to go around the Celtics 39th pick. Known as a very good defender and a freak of an athlete, the junior scored 24 points with 7 rebounds in Florida’s first round game Florida Gulf Coast, with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the Gators drubbing of Virginia in the second round. He could be a valuable bench guy right away in the NBA.
Nigel Hayes – Hayes has been the focal point of the Wisconsin Badgers in his senior season, which is a good and a bad thing. He struggled with consistency throughout the regular season, leading to his team getting an 8 seed in the tournament. But he and the Badgers have figured things out lately, and are in the Sweet 16 after knocking out top seeded Villanova. Hayes is slightly shorter than Robinson, but has about 45 pounds on him, making him a force to reckon with down low. 6’7 used to be undersized for a player of his style in the NBA, but times have obviously changed, so he could be a good fit for the Celtics sometime in the second round. Robinson and Hayes will likely see a lot of each other this coming weekend as the two teams are set to face off.
De’Aaron Fox – The Kentucky freshman is a consensus top 5 pick, but most have him towards the bottom of that list. That could quickly change with a couple more good games in the tournament though. He averaged almost 17 points during the regular season, while also contributing almost 5 rebounds and 5 assists per. He’s not much of an outside shooter, but is very athletic and quick to get to the rim. He also is possibly the fastest player in this year’s class and is considered a very good defender. He reminds me a lot of former Wildcat Rajon Rondo actually, which at one time would’ve been a major compliment.
Lonzo Ball – Markelle Fultz from Washington is the player that has everyone talking as we get closer to the draft. He’s the #1 overall pick in just about every draft board, but his team didn’t even make the tournament. Lonzo Ball’s team did, and despite some family issues (his dad is a major attention seeker), the UCLA freshman guard seems to be the complete package. He can shoot, pass with either hand, and has good size at 6’6”. His points per game average of 14.7 is a little underwhelming, but he also adds 7.6 assists and 6 rebounds a game and his efficiency is also through the roof. In his first two tournament games he is 13-17 from the floor. To me that screams an NBA ready game. If someone were to knock off Fultz from that number one spot Ball is the most likely candidate to do it.
Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.