NBA Rumors: 5 Prospects Boston Celtics Could Move Up for on Draft Night
According to a piece from Fox Sports Ohio writer Sam Amico, the Celtics may move up several spots on draft day as a result of "packaging their picks." If the team is to trade up for more enticing prospects, Danny Ainge will undoubtedly be attempting to benefit the team in the more immediate future.
The reality is that Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo still under contract and the possibility of re-signing Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen exists, as Ainge may well be looking to amp up the Celtics rotation with talent sooner than later.
Based on the rumor Amico presents, these are five top-notch prospects that the Celtics should potentially climb up the draft board to acquire.
Meyers Leonard, Illinois, C
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Meyers Leonard is as underrated and skilled as any post threat in the draft, and the Celtics will need to give this talent a strong look if they are to move up the board.
Leonard had his Fighting Illini at 17-15 and was a major contributor throughout his sophomore season. He averaged an impressive 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting a whopping 58.4 percent from the field.
Yet what makes Leonard all the more enticing is his efficiency on the defensive end. He averaged 1.9 blocks per game last season and was a major threat in the paint each time he took the floor.
The Celtics are a defensive-minded ballclub, and Leonard is the type of big who fits this system as well as any in the 2012 NBA draft.
Tyler Zeller, North Carolina, C
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The big man on campus at UNC is precisely the sort of talent that Rivers and the Celtics could use as soon as next season.
This past season the Celtics' front line suffered immensely as a result of injury. The Celtics will need to strengthen their rotation this summer. Zeller is a premier rebounder who can score as well as any big man in the 2012 draft class.
Zeller averaged 16.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season with the team, both of which were career-best numbers with the Tar Heels.
If the Celtics can up down to grab a top-12 pick, Zeller is an especially realistic selection for this team.
Austin Rivers, Duke, SG
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An Austin and Doc duo in Boston would be as interesting a situation as any for this team.
Outside of being a father-son tandem in the league, Austin Rivers performs with such prowess offensively and would make a great replacement for a player like Ray Allen. Most remembered for his remarkable game-winner against North Carolina, this is a sure-fire talent the Celtics should consider.
In his one year with the Duke Blue Devils, Rivers averaged 15.4 points per game on just over 43 percent shooting from the field. He would also make a solid defensive addition at the SG spot, as he can rebound fairly well and plays aggressive perimeter defense.
Don't be surprised if the Celtics make the move for Rivers in this year's draft, as he fills voids this team is desperate to fill.
Jeremy Lamb, UConn, SG
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Time for the Kemba Walker hype to ease up. It's Jeremy Lamb time.
Lamb's play has been overlooked as he played behind a talented player like Walker for part of his college career, but he is as lethal a scoring threat as any in the draft class.
This top-notch prospect posted 17.7 points per game on 47.8 percent shooting from the field and 81 percent shooting from the line. In spite of playing just 4.2 minutes more per game, Lamb was able to up his points by 6.6 per game.
Lamb would give both Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo some support in the backcourt in the scoring department, and at just 20 years of age will be a threat for years to come in the league.
Jared Sullinger, Ohio State, C
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It would take a significant leap on the draft board to acquire this talent, yet it would also be a tremendous acquisition.
Sullinger, along with Meyers Leonard, is one of the more solid big men this draft has to offer on both ends of the floor. His 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest are significant indicators of just how talented the forward/center is.
As a projected top-10 selection, it would take an impressive trade to get Sullinger in green and white, yet it would be well worth the transaction. Sullinger would give the Celtics the boost they need in the frontcourt.
Potentially boasting Brandon Bass, Sullinger and Kevin Garnett in the same rotation has to be something Danny Ainge would enjoy making a reality in Beantown.