Boston Celtics Alternative NBA Draft Prospects Team
"The Boston Celtics need a center and should take a sure thing like Gorgui Deing. Or maybe they should gamble on the physical potential of Steve Adams."
"No, it’s obvious Boston needs scoring. Hopefully Shabazz Muhammed slips all the way down to pick 16. He could be the second coming of Paul Pierce, who also slipped to Boston 15 years ago."
"Are you crazy or did you not watch the playoffs? It’s obvious Boston needs a backup point guard. Maybe the Celtics made the promise to Dennis Schroeder, the Rajon Rondo clone."
It’s the same half dozen or so names associated with Boston in the various mock drafts or discussed in forums, which is fine. Everyone does their research and draws their own conclusions.
As do I. This is a team of draft prospects whom aren’t discussed as potential Celtics as frequently as some other prospects, if at all.
It’s a small-ball unit that lacks a true center. Doc Rivers would probably love coaching this team.
PG Myck Kabongo: Texas
His last name could be the sound of his jumper clanging off the rim. Myck Kabongo isn’t a great shooter right now, but it’s coming along, which is good for the former Longhorn.
Kabongo is a pass-first point guard with a deft feel for the game. He has the offensive timing to know when to make the pass to an open teammate. And though Kabongo isn’t a scorer, he shows enough promise to become a consistent threat in time. He only spent one year at Texas, so there’s plenty of room to grow before reaching his ceiling.
The hang-up with Kabongo is he’s projected to go in the second round. Boston traded two second-round picks to Portland as part of the sign-and-trade that brought Courtney Lee to the Celtics. Those selections belong to Portland at 39 and 45.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge would have to acquire a second-round selection, unless Ainge believes enough in Kabongo to reach for him in the first round.
SG Ricky Ledo: Providence
Danny Ainge loves to swing for the fences, and Ricky Ledo could be the grand slam of the NBA draft. Ledo leaves Providence without ever playing a game for the Friars, but his talent is evident and the potential is hard to resist. Ledo could be the biggest steal of the draft if he develops properly.
Ledo almost sounds too good to be true. With great size at 6’6” (in shoes), he is comfortable handling the ball and showed the ability to get his own shot as well as create for others. One caveat: This was done mostly against high school competition. At the NBA combine, his play was inconsistent.
The hard part about drafting Ledo would be waiting for him to develop. A year away from competition after never playing college basketball likely stunted his growth. Ledo might need extensive time with the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s NBA Developmental League affiliate. But if he becomes a star player two to three years down the road, it would be well worth it.
Ledo is projected to go between late first to early second round.
SF Tony Snell: New Mexico
History shouldn’t deter the Celtics from taking a good look at the University of New Mexico product. The last Lobo Boston drafted was J.R. Giddens, who played in just six of his 38 career NBA games with the Celtics. Immaturity was Giddens’ problem. No such red flag is associated with Snell.
Tony Snell is a solid player who scores by moving without the ball. He would be an ideal threat as a shooter off of screens with range that extends to three-point distance (39 percent last year). He would fit well with Rajon Rondo feeding him the ball.
Snell has ideal length, standing 6’7” in shoes with an almost 7’ wingspan. He needs to add strength, as Snell only weighs 198 pounds. If he grows physically and as a player, he has the potential to become a respectable defender.
Also, Snell is a team player. He had a 3.7 assists-per-40 minutes average. For a player not asked to create for his teammates, it’s a sign he won’t force his shot.
Snell is projected to go between the late first to early second round.
PF Tony Mitchell: North Texas
Ath-a-lete. Or in Tony Mitchell’s case, ath-elite.
Mitchell is one of the best athletes in this year’s draft. This 6’9” (in shoes), 236-pound big man posted a 38” max vertical at the NBA Draft Combine, one of the best measurements for centers and power forwards.
In addition, Mitchell measures out very well. He has a wingspan of 7’2.25” and a standing reach of 8’10.5”. This length and athleticism enables Mitchell to play bigger than his height. He has the tools to become a great defender.
But it will take time. Mitchell was viewed as a lottery pick before the college basketball season started after averaging 14.7 points and 10.3 rebounds his freshman year. Mitchell’s numbers dipped to 13 points and 8.5 rebounds, causing his stock to drop.
Mitchell is also in need of a little maturing as he didn’t always play with full effort. He’s raw offensively, but he’d certainly look good catching lobs off of pick-and-rolls or stuffing offensive rebounds bouncing off the rim.
With Jared Sullinger expected to make a full recovery for 2013-14, why do the Celtics need another power forward? Well, if the Celtics can free themselves of Brandon Bass, Mitchell would step into Bass’ role with better rebounding and the potential to be a better defender.
Mitchell is projected for the bottom third of the first round.
PF Trevor Mbakwe: Minnesota
If there was a Leon Powe Award, Trevor Mbakwe would be a nominee. Mbakwe was limited to just seven games his junior season after he tore his ACL. He came back last season and posted respectable 10 points and 8.7 rebounds averages, both well short of his highs as a Golden Gopher.
After playing on his surgically repaired knee for a season, Mbakwe should be almost back to full health. The rugged Mbakwe, at 24 years old, may lack the potential of other prospects, but he should be mature and able to step right in and contribute immediately.
He projects as a power forward after playing PF/C for Minnesota. Mbakwe may had been out of position at center, but he was well equipped for taking on bigger players. What’s surprising is Mbakwe has a longer wingspan (7’4”) and the same standing reach (8’10.5”) as the previously mentioned Mitchell, while standing an inch shorter.
And blessed with a pair of mitts (9.5” hand length, 11.5” hand width), Mbakwe won’t fumble many passes and will corral plenty of rebounds within arm’s reach.
Like Mitchell, Mbakwe would make Bass obsolete. Mbakwe is projected to go in the second round.
PF Jackie Carmichael: Illinois State
Every good team needs a sixth man. And Jackie Carmichael is truly an ideal energy player.
Carmichael is long (6’9” in shoes), lean (5.8 percent body fat), athletic and intense. He’s like a KG Jr. on the court. It’s not hard to imagine Kevin Garnett taking Carmichael under his wing for a year.
The 23-year-old Carmichael may not get dramatically better as a pro, but you know he will give it everything he’s got any time he’s on the floor. He will compete fiercely on defense (averaged two blocks and a steal per game last season) and for rebounds (9.3 per game) as he throws his body around.
He probably won’t be a go-to guy on offense like he was at Illinois State (17.4 points per game), though he has a respectable post game, solid hands and good athleticism.
As if the physical attributes weren’t enough, Carmichael is said to have a high basketball IQ. If true, he should be able to earn minutes quickly. The intangibles Carmichael brings to the table should help him become a productive role player.
Carmichael is projected to go in the second round.
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