Celtics' Ideal 2021 NBA Mock Draft
He sacrificed the club's first-round pick to jettison Kemba Walker's burdensome contract (and bring Al Horford back to Boston), so unless Stevens brokers another deal, it will be one-and-done on draft night.
The Celtics own the 45th pick. At that point of the draft, they will be hoping to add someone capable of holding down a rotation spot. Any return greater than that is found money.
It might make sense for Stevens to lock in on a specialist, so we will identify the ideal prospects for three different skill sets who could be on the board at No. 45.
The Shooter: Joe Wieskamp, SF, Iowa
Despite being the No. 2 scorer on a top-10 team, Joe Wieskamp spent most of this season flying under the radar.
He wasn't just the second option—he was the second option to consensus Player of the Year Luka Garza. That's like singing backup vocals for Beyonce. It's an accomplishment and an important role, but the spotlight doesn't stretch past the superstar.
But Wieskamp boosted his stock at the combine, impressing in the measurements (near 7'0" wingspan), athletic testing (42" vertical) and scrimmage play (26 points, 10 rebounds in his final outing). Teams are taking note to the point he may not even be on the board once Boston comes on the clock.
"After the combine, Wieskamp made scouts go back and rewatch film of his spectacular shooting season that many overlooked," B/R's Jonathan Wasserman wrote. "Some believe he's now an early second-round option and value pick given his 6'7" size in shoes, 6'11" wingspan, 42-inch max vertical and 46.2 percent three-ball."
The Center: Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky
Al Horford is back, Robert Williams III is coming off a mini-breakout and Tristan Thompson is a walking double-double when he gets enough floor time.
So why does it seem like Stevens could be thinking about the center spot on draft night? It's pretty simple actually. Horford is 35, Williams has battled injuries and Thompson just turned in a below-average player efficiency rating (14.2). All three could be free agents by this time next year.
Should Stevens opt to target prospect bigs, Charles Bassey could stand above the rest.
He has good size (6'11", 235 pounds), a great motor and enough flashes of shot-making to tantalize the mind about what he might become. He could top out as a rim-runner, which is fine value in the middle of the second round. But if he turns those shooting snapshots into legitimate spacing, he might work his way into a starting gig over time.
The Stopper: Aaron Henry, SG/SF, Michigan State
A 13th-placed finish in defensive efficiency wouldn't be a cause for concern with most clubs, but it was one of the many reasons the 2020-21 Celtics ranked among the league's most confusing teams.
Boston had finished each of the past three seasons ranked comfortably inside of the top 10. It was sixth or better in four of the past five campaigns.
The Celtics need to give some attention to the game's less glamorous end, and that's where Aaron Henry could help. A Big Ten All-Defensive honoree, he's an agile swingman with the quickness to keep up with speedy guards and the strength to battle big wings. Add on the hoops savvy that comes from spending three seasons with Spartans skipper Tom Izzo, and Henry can make plenty of things happen away from the ball, too.
His offensive outlook is murkier, his off-the-dribble game is a work in progress and his three-point shot is streaky at best. But he brings enough defensively that serviceable contributions in a few offensive areas would make him more than ready for a rotational role.