By Aaron Jackson,
Last week I broke down five different scenarios or paths the Boston Celtics could take given where they now find themselves. To recap, those scenarios were:
1. Trade for Anthony Davis (very unlikely since they’ve agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, albeit not officially yet).
2. Trade up for Ja Morant and embrace the youth movement (also unlikely as Memphis dealt Mike Conley to the Jazz yesterday, so they’re in need of a point guard).
3. Celtics retain Irving and deal their picks for some veteran talent (still possible technically though all reports suggest it’s not possible in reality)
4. Celtics sign and trade Irving to Brooklyn in exchange for DeAngelo Russell (of the ones I mentioned I still maintain this is the most likely scenario, and just requires you to convince Kyrie the extra money is worth it).
5. Celtics keep all their picks (I considered this the most unlikely scenario, but with Al Horford now likely gone this might happen).
So let’s delve into that 5th option, as it appears the Celtics best choice may be to build for the future and abandon the win now mentality. Assuming that’s the path they go here are some of the players they may take a look at.
Nassir Little: The North Carolina forward was a very highly touted player heading into college, but a lack of playing time and opportunity for the veteran Tar Heel led to inconsistent results. Still, the talent is there, and Little appeared to be playing his best basketball late in the season and in the tournament. Watching him made me think of Harrison Barnes, another former Tar Heel that has been very good in the pros. He’d have to fall a little bit to get to Boston, but this is a possibility.
Brandon Clarke: Gonzaga’s do everything forward is arguably one of the most NBA ready players in the draft. Analytics also suggest he would be a steal where he’s typically going in mock drafts (outside the top 10). In college he was ultra efficient, averaging almost 17 points per game on almost 69 percent shooting, along with almost 9-rebounds. He’s a little on the small side for his style of play, but so is Pascal Siakam and it works for him.
Bol Bol: Oregon’s big man was incredible to watch when healthy, but his fractured foot and size give teams serious concerns. When healthy he averaged 21 and 10 for the Ducks, so it’s not like he’s completely unproven. For their part Bol has made his full medical report available for anyone that wants to see it, and has been working out for teams. He’s incredibly versatile at 7’2”, and is your classic boom or bust pick in the mid to late first round.
Ty Jerome: One of Virginia’s talented guards, Jerome is said to wow teams not so much with his play but with his intangibles. Quick decision making is his calling card, and while he may not be the most athletic player in the draft Jerome could add some backup depth and make a long career out of being a valuable 6th or 7th man. This is a late first round pick.
Luka Samanic: Assuming they keep all three picks it’s very likely at least one is going to be a draft and stash situation. If that’s the case Luka Samanic might be the guy late in the first round. The 19 year old small forward worked out with other top prospects in the draft and performed really well in limited action. He’s not like Luka Doncic in that he can step in and play right away, but a year or two from now if he bulks up and works on his consistency he could be a very valuable player on a Celtics team ready to take the next step.
Aaron Jackson 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.