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A go-to guy. An assassin. A cold-blooded killer. Someone with ice water flowing through his veins. Someone with the cojones to take the game-tying or winning shot. Boston needs one.
For 15 years that person was Pierce. But if Pierce only plays one more year, who is the man in the future?
Rajon Rondo is fearless, but he should be one of the last options until he develops a consistent jumper. Ditto for Avery Bradley. Jeff Green made strides in 2012-13, but he still doesn’t exhibit the aggressiveness to demand the ball and tell everyone to get out of his way.
Boston currently holds the 16th selection in June’s NBA draft with a dire need for a center. Based on projections, there should be several serviceable centers available when Boston’s turn comes around. But if there’s a better player at shooting guard, small forward or power forward available, Ainge shouldn’t hesitate to take him.
There’s a strong possibility an offensive talent won’t be NBA-ready from day one and may need some seasoning before he’s ready. Fine. If it takes a year or two of development before he blossoms into a top-10 scorer/player, he will be worth it in the long run.
Keep in mind that drafting big men hasn’t worked well for Boston the last two years with JaJuan Johnson already out of the league and Fab Melo looking like he’s years away from being NBA-ready, if ever.
Boston could have its choice between Kansas’ Jeff Withey, Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng or Duke’s Mason Plumlee. But if international prospects Dario Saric and Giannis Adetokunbo or North Texas’ Tony Mitchell project to become stars in the long run, it would be a mistake for the Celtics to pass on one of them and draft for need.
If the Celtics want to draft a center, acquire a second selection. Maybe it takes a trade or Boston can outright buy the selection from another team. Either way, it’s a bonus pick that affords the Celtics to gamble on a center. Without it, Boston absolutely has to hit with only one selection in this year’s draft.