Boston Celtics: 5 Players the Celts Should Have Selected in the Draft
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Boston stood pat with the No. 21 and No. 22 picks in the first round and selected Ohio State power forward Jared Sullinger and Syracuse center Fab Melo, as well as another member of the Orange, 2-guard Kris Joseph, in the second round.
By several accounts, the reviews were solid. Sam Amick of SI.com graded them out at a healthy A-, Yahoo! Sports! Ball Don't Lie blog went one better, giving the Celts an A and ESPN.com's Chad Ford handed out a solid B.
At this point, it's worth noting that this space will happily give out a nice, tidy B+ to the Celts for their performance last Thursday night in Newark. But could they have done more? Is it possible they could have positioned themselves better?
Perhaps. There were a few players floating around in the Celts' neighborhood who may have been attainable, either through trades or other maneuvers.
Here's a look at a handful of those guys.
1. Arnett Moultrie
Moultrie is the kind of big man the NBA seems to be enamored with these days.
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After the C's drafted Sullinger, getting a guy like Moultrie looked like it would be a great pick. Moultrie is 6'11", can face up and score and rebounds by the truckload, while also possessing a better than average jumper for a big man.
More importantly, Moultrie is an incredible athlete. He's long, can jump out of the gym and runs the floor extremely well for someone his size.
The way the NBA is shaped right now, athletic bigs are what's in, while slower, wider guys like Melo are on the decline. To put it more simply, if you're looking for a big these days, a guy like Serge Ibaka (who Moultrie seems to resemble in some ways) might be a better pro than, say, a guy like Kendrick Perkins (who Melo looks somewhat like).
Moreover, Moultrie, at age 21, appears to be the kind of player who could come in and contribute right away. Melo looks like a project.
We'll see what Moultrie looks like as a pro when the Celts meet the Sixers, who acquired him from Miami after he was selected 27th overall.
2. Perry Jones III
Given Jones's skills, he could have been a huge steal for the Celts.
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The big free faller of this year's draft, Jones, who was generating buzz as a lottery pick at one point, slid all the way to No. 28 and Oklahoma City. His questionable work ethic, lack of a position in the pros and a recent report of a bad knee were seen as the main culprits of his tumble to the bottom of the first round.
Maybe the Celts thought that since they were going with a potential injury risk in Sullinger, doing it again with a guy like Jones wasn't such a smart move, especially considering his other possible issues.
But it's hard to imagine a guy with a purported problem working hard would come into the C's organization, encounter guys like Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and not subsequently bust his butt every minute, if for no other reason than that one or all of those names might not let him leave the team training facility in one piece if he didn't.
And Jones fits into a similar mold as Moultrie in that he's what the league's big man prototype seems to be moving toward. Tall, lean, wiry, super athletic.
That's Jones. That's definitely not Melo.
3. Quincy Miller
Knee concerns dropped Miller all the way out of the first round.
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Jones's teammate at Baylor, Miller is another freakishly talented athlete who dropped precipitously due to potential injury concerns.
Like Jones, Miller's position in the NBA is unclear. But at 6'10" and owning very good inside/outside ability in addition to solid rebounding and shot blocking skills, he fits the profile of what the Celts need most.
Miller also has a bad knee, having suffered a torn ACL in the spring of 2011. This, as well as his tweener status and need to seriously bulk up, had to have been the biggest reasons why he dropped out of the first round all together.
He went 38th overall to Denver, and the Nuggets got a great value pick whose potential reward outweighs his potential risks.
The Celts easily could have had him. They passed.
4. Terrence Jones
Jones would have made a perfect Celtic.
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This one seemed like a real long shot given Jones's strengths (6'10", 252 lbs, 7'2" wingspan, big rebounder and shot-blocker, great ball handler for his size and versatile enough to score from the 3 or the 4).
But there was Jones, still available at No. 18, just three spots before the C's were set to pick.
Then the Houston Rockets scooped him up. But could Boston have potentially traded up to grab him?
If the C's had done that, they could have had someone who could have been groomed to potentially take over for KG, a dynamic player at both ends with the size and skill to play three positions.
Who knows what the Rockets or anyone may have been looking for from the C's in a possible deal? We'll never know.
But Jones could have been a force with the Celtics.
5. Royce White
White and Jones would have been the best fits for the C's.
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It's no secret that the C's were in on White headed into the draft. He has a rugged inside game, is tough, strong and an excellent rebounder. He also passes the ball out of the post or on the perimeter as well as any big man in the draft.
For a while, White was sitting in one of the Celts' spots on several mock draft boards. But his stock went up during draft week, he started to rise on some of those same boards and blam!
He was gone at No. 16. Again, to the Rockets.
Like the Jones situation, there's no way to know if the Celts could have gotten up higher in the draft order to snag White. Or if they were expecting him to be around at No. 21. Or with whom would they have possibly made a deal?
Still, it would have been nice to see White being introduced in greater Boston on Monday afternoon. Along with Terrence Jones, his game would have fit in with the Celtics as well as any of the prospects thought to be available around their picks.