Latest 2013 NBA Draft Expert Predictions on Whom Boston Celtics Will Select

Grant Rindner@grantrindnerContributor IIIJune 26, 2013

Jan 30, 2013; Winston Salem, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Mason Plumlee (5) boxes out Wake Forest Demon Deacons forward Tyler Cavanaugh (34) during the first half at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

With the eyes and ears of the Boston Celtics faithful tuned to the latest news in the Doc Rivers-Clippers saga, the fact that the NBA draft happens on June 27 has been understandably forgotten.

The 16th pick is not exactly known to produce stars (John Stockton and Metta World Peace notwithstanding), and in a draft featuring little—if any—superstar talent, Boston may not seem to have much to get excited about.

That being said, the importance of this draft pick should not be underrated.

If the Celtics manage to find a player who could blossom alongside their young core, it could expedite a rebuilding process and make the future of the C's much clearer.

As is always the case around draft time, opinions on whom the Celtics should or will take are split, with experts predicting a number of players to call Boston their first NBA home. To help make sense of it all, here is a compilation of predictions by NBA draft experts on who will leave the Barclays Center in a Celtics snapback.


Dennis Schroeder

A 6'2" point guard from Germany, Dennis Schroeder has been mentioned by HoopsHype as possibly having been promised a selection by the Celtics. Though Schroeder and his agent have denied any promise to the Racine Journal Times' Gery Woelfel, Schroeder would still be an intriguing pick by Boston at 16th.

Playing for German team Braunschweig, Schroeder averaged 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while demonstrating tremendous quickness off the dribble and a solid grasp of how to run an offense.

Though his outside jump shot is a little less shaky than Rajon Rondo's, it is still a work in progress. He did shoot 40.2 percent from beyond the arc in 2012-13, but that number likely won't translate into the league. However, Schroeder has the ability to consistently blow by defenders and get to the rim, an essential skill in the modern NBA.

His 6'7" wingspan and ability to move laterally mean that he could grow into a tough perimeter defender, although he'll need to add some bulk to his slight frame before doing so. He could even be groomed to play some 2-guard and defend against both guard positions as needed.

Schroeder needs to turn the ball over less and value each possession more, a typical problem for young guards.

The Celtics' struggles in the backcourt without Rondo proved that they don't have another true point guard on the roster. While the 19-year-old Schroeder is a work in progress, picking him would be a risk well worth taking if Boston is willing to enter a full rebuilding mode and deal players like Jason Terry and Courtney Lee.

While the notion of a promise to Schroeder is unlikely, he is a very realistic option for the Celtics, provided he is not taken in the late lottery.


Shane Larkin

According to the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn, the Celtics were taking a "long look" at Miami standout Shane Larkin back in early June. Larkin has been linked to Boston in DraftExpress' June 25th mock draft and could slide into the rotation quickly despite his diminutive size.

The 5'11" Larkin was a revelation for the Hurricanes, averaging 14.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and two steals on 47.9 percent shooting overall and 40.6 percent shooting from three-point range.

Larkin's lack of height is an obvious drawback, but he makes up for it with his aggression defensively and his ability to control the tempo and run the pick-and-roll on the offensive end.

With his explosiveness off the bounce, tremendous court vision and ability to hit perimeter shots, Larkin has all the tools of the traditional point guard and is a superb athlete to boot.

Like Schroeder, Larkin would begin his career backing up Rondo and providing a change of pace off the pine with his scoring ability.

The presence of Jay Larranaga, Miami head coach Jim Larranaga's son, on the Celtics bench lends this rumor some credence, but do not expect Boston to pass up someone like Schroeder for Larkin.


Mason Plumlee

Should the Celtics choose to address their hole in the paint through the draft, they will have plenty of options in the mid-first round. One intriguing choice is Duke graduate Mason Plumlee, the player Slam Online's Franklyn Calle believes the C's will draft with the 16th pick.

Adi Joseph of USA Today has Plumlee going 18th overall to Atlanta, meaning he should be available when the Celts are on the clock.

Plumlee made a tremendous leap from his junior to his senior season, averaging 17.1 points, 10 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game on 59.9 percent shooting from the floor. His offensive game grew tremendously, as he upped his free-throw percentage from 52.8 percent to 68.1 percent.

Calle reported that Plumlee has already worked out for Boston. Adding a mature, experienced big man to complement Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger and possibly Kevin Garnett would make sense for the Celtics.

Plumlee may not have the upside of a player like Nerlens Noel or Alex Len, but he has a solid low post game and is a good rim protector and rebounder thanks to his length, athleticism and timing.

He needs to develop a more consistent jump shot since he will have a harder time finishing over NBA-level big men, but there is no denying Plumlee's motor and his drive to improve. With some work, he could potentially be a decent starting-caliber big man. He is a very viable option for Boston at the 16th pick.


Steven Adams

There's no guarantee that Pittsburgh's Steven Adams will even be around when Boston is selecting. But the center reportedly impressed in his workout with the Celtics, according to ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg.

Adams did not dominate in his lone season as a Panther, but he averaged a solid 7.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and two blocks per game while shooting 57.1 percent from the floor overall.

Adams needs to develop the finesse aspects of his game, chiefly his foul shooting (44.3 percent in 2012-13), but he is a tremendous prospect who could be Boston's center of the future if he pans out. The 7-footer Adams is a tremendously gifted athlete who runs the floor hard and finishes at the rim with force.

Since declaring for the draft Adams' stock has steadily risen. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix has him going 11th to Philadelphia, but given that there is so much uncertainty with this draft, it is still somewhat plausible that he is available when the Celtics are on the clock.

Though Adams is raw, his 7'5" wingspan and ability to protect the rim and help defensively will allow him to come in and play a few minutes off the bat. He is a better rebounder than current Celtic Fab Melo. If he continues to develop, he could be Boston's starting center for years to come.


Shabazz Muhammad

UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad did not wow many people in his only season in Westwood, and he is entering the league with as much baggage as any player in recent history. But there is no denying his pure scoring ability. With rumors swirling about Paul Pierce's future now that Rivers is gone, it is possible that Boston targets a scoring wing in the draft.

ESPN's Chad Ford had Muhammad headed to the C's in his June 18th mock draft, and if he can stay away from controversy, he could blossom into a quality starter. Despite all the criticism, Muhammad did average 17.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game while shooting 37.7 percent from beyond the arc.

The 6'6" Muhammad is not a great defensive player and can be somewhat of a black hole offensively. But for a team that was 18th in the league in scoring at 96.5 points per game in the 2012-13 regular season, having a scorer who can come off screens and create his own shots off the dribble is invaluable.

Plugging Muhammad in on the wing would give Boston some added roster versatility because of his ability to play both shooting guard and small forward. Having the strong, athletic Muhammad at the 2-guard spot could create some nice matchup problems for defenses and give Rondo the smooth-shooting backcourt partner he lacked last season.

The chances of Muhammad lasting through to Boston are slim. Some team out there should take a chance on him as a top-flight scorer. If Muhammad is still available, though, expect Danny Ainge to snap him up in a heartbeat.


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