Potential 2013 NBA Draft Targets Boston Celtics Must Consider
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It's that time of year again.
Yes, the NBA draft is right around the corner, and the Boston Celtics find themselves just outside of the lottery for a change. We are used to the Celtics picking somewhere in the 20s, but with the No. 16 overall selection in 2013, Boston can undoubtedly come away with a significant contributor.
There are a lot of ways the C's can go with this pick, and what they do with it may hinge on whether or not Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are returning for another season.
All things considered, there are certainly a couple of holes on the roster that need some patching up, and general manager Danny Ainge will have to choose which gaps he wants to fill first.
While this draft class may not be all that great at the top, there are a handful of players who may be available around the Celtics' first-round selection who can make an impact on the next level.
One name that is being floated around as a potential Celtics draftee is Pittsburgh big man Steven Adams.
At only 19 years of age, Adams has outstanding physical tools, standing seven-feet tall and possessing the ability to run the floor like a gazelle. However, as you would expect from a 19-year-old center, he is extremely raw.
Adams shot only 44 percent from the free-throw line during his one and only season at Pitt, and he displayed little to no variety in his offensive game, which mainly consisted of dunks off of entry passes and scoring off of putbacks. The New Zealander also did not display much of a semblance of a post game. Although he still has ample time to grow and develop, you have to wonder if he'll ever be a legitimate offensive threat.
Defensively is where Adams shines. Thanks to his combination of size and athleticism, Adams is a very good rim protector, averaging two blocks in just 23.4 minutes per game in 2012-13. He is also a good pick-and-roll defender, utilizing his impressive foot speed to actually stay with guards out on the perimeter.
All of that said, the biggest area of concern for Adams is his defensive rebounding ability. According to DraftExpress.com, Adams ranked second-to-last among the top 100 collegiate centers in that category.
For a Boston team that is in dire need of rebounding, Adams' lack of a presence on the glass could deter the C's from making him their selection at No. 16.
My personal opinion? The Celtics should pass on Adams. They already drafted a raw center with a similar skill set to Adams in Fab Melo. There is no need to pick up another one. That being said, you have to only assume that Boston will take a long, hard look at him if he is on the board.
According to NBADraft.net, the Celtics have promised German point guard Dennis Schroeder they will take him with the No. 16 pick if he is available.
Whether or not that is true is anybody's guess, and it's kind of hard to see what Boston really gains from this leaked information. Regardless of all of the chatter, Schroeder is a possibility for the C's.
You might be wondering why in the world the Celtics would go this route when they have Rajon Rondo manning the show, but taking into account the recent talk that Garnett wants to return for another season, according to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston (via CSNNE.com), it makes sense.
After all, we all saw how badly Boston needed a backup floor general this past year, so if the C's are going to attempt to make another run, patching up that hole is one of the things they must do.
The 19-year-old Schroeder is blindingly quick, probably representing the fastest player in the draft. On top of that, he possesses a pretty solid jump shot, shooting 40 percent from three-point range this past season in Germany. So, not only can he blow by defenders out on the perimeter, but he can also make them pay if they give him any kind of space.
As one would anticipate given his foot speed, Schroeder is also a very good on-ball defender, making him a tantalizing prospect for the defense-oriented Celtics. Mixing and matching the trio of Rondo, Avery Bradley and Schroeder could result in a havoc-wreaking backcourt.
Finally, similar to Rondo, although Schroeder is not exactly tall at 6'2", he has a 6'7.25" wingspan.
There is a very good chance that Schroeder is the best player available at No. 16, and that may be too tempting for Boston to pass up—especially considering Schroeder seems an awful lot like Rondo with a three-point jumper.
If the Celtics want to go with a big man at this pick, then Gorgui Dieng will probably be the best fit.
Standing 6'11", Dieng is a true center and obviously played a vital role in Louisville's championship run.
The 23-year-old from Senegal averaged 9.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.3 steals in 31.1 minutes per game during his junior year. He also demonstrated some solid passing ability, posting two assists a night, as well.
Dieng is a very good athlete, and that manifests on the glass and in rim protection, two areas Boston must shore up. His offensive game is a work in progress, and it's unlikely that he'll ever be a serious threat on that end of the floor, but he is efficient.
Dieng shot 53.4 percent from the floor in 2012-13, converting on 66 percent of his attempts around the rim. He has also done a nice job developing a decent mid-range game, hitting on 50 percent of the jump shots he took, according to DraftExpress.com. Plus, while he's never going to be Zach Randolph down low, he does have a general idea of what to do in the post.
Of course, where Dieng will be asked to make most of his impact is on the defensive end of the floor, and if Garnett is around next year, Dieng could be of significant help to the veteran in the frontcourt.
You want to talk about a potential freak of nature? Giannis Adetokunbo is it.
An 18-year-old from Greece, Adetokunbo stands 6'9", has a 7'3" wingspan, is gifted with absolutely enormous hands and is so adept at handling the basketball that he even has the ability to play point guard.
Adetokunbo is very athletic, and due to his combination of size and athletic ability, he can defend multiple positions on the floor. He currently only weighs 196 pounds, but he is still very young and will likely add considerable weight to his frame. Because of that, Giannis has the potential to develop into a Swiss army knife type of player who can dominate a game in numerous phases.
Want to hear the most amazing thing about this kid? He grew three inches over the past year, so he might not even be done growing.
If there is one thing to criticize about Adetokunbo, it's his lack of a consistent jump shot. He shot 34 percent from long range last year, and while that is not terrible, it can stand to improve. Again, though, he is only 18 years old.
There is a very good chance that Adetokunbo will be around at No. 16, and you'd have to think that he is fairly high on the Celtics' draft board. In fact, Danny Ainge went over to Greece to scout him this season.
Considered by many to be the best defensive player in college basketball last season, Jeff Withey is certainly an option for the Celtics at No. 16, even though he may be a bit of a reach.
While the slender 7-footer offers next to nothing in terms of an offensive skill set, Withey averaged an incredible 3.9 blocks per game during his senior season, something Boston desperately needs. He also proved to be solid on the glass, averaging 8.5 rebounds in 30.9 minutes a contest.
The good thing about Withey is that he knows his limitations. He does not try to do too much on the offensive end of the floor, and his field-goal percentage of 58.2 percent is a direct reflection of that. Due to his efficiency, Withey was able to average 13.7 points per game in 2012-13. Of course, it's hard to imagine him putting up those points on the NBA level, but it's still fairly encouraging and is proof that he is not dead weight on offense.
Perhaps Withey can play sort of a Greg Stiemsma role on the C's with more of an affinity for the boards. He also struggles in pick-and-roll defense much like Stiemsma does, but he has him beat in quickness and athleticism.
If guys like Schroeder and Adetokunbo are off the board at No. 16, a Withey selection by the Celtics wouldn't be too shocking.