The pingpong balls didn’t bounce the Boston Celtics’ way Tuesday night at the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery, meaning they won’t have the No. 2 or No. 3 overall pick next month.
(Click here for how Boston could have landed a top-3 pick.)
The C’s still are slated to pick 27th, though, and several mock drafts published since the lottery offer a glimpse of who Boston could target with its own first-round pick.
Let’s take a look at who the internet has the Celtics taking at No. 27.
The pick: De’Anthony Melton (PG/SG, USC)
The reason: “The Celtics have a tough decision in front of them with Marcus Smart entering restricted free agency and Terry Rozier eligible for an extension, and they might need to find a less expensive backcourt option to avoid luxury-tax issues.
Melton looked to be on the verge of a breakout season for USC before the FBI’s investigation into recruiting shut him down indefinitely. His defensive versatility, toughness and intangibles make him a prospect worth investing in.”
The pick: Jalen Brunson (PG, Villanova)
The reason: “The Celtics can go any number of directions here thanks to their roster depth. They may be priced out of keeping Marcus Smart this summer and Terry Rozier the next, and adding a guy like Brunson would be a prudent move for long-term backcourt depth. Brunson’s otherworldly feel for the game and shooting ability makes him one of the safest bets in the draft to have a long career. Boston has its stars in place and can focus on filling in the blanks.”
The pick: Jacob Evans III (SF, Cincinnati)
The reason: “Evans is a do-everything wing who guards multiple positions, plays tough and consistently makes outside jumpers — evidence being how he shot 39.4 percent from 3-point range in his final two years at Cincinnati while helping the Bearcats earn a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He didn’t take over games often, it’s fair to note. But it’s not hard to imagine him flourishing under Brad Stevens, if only because most young players do.”
The pick: Josh Okogie (SG, Georgia Tech)
The reason: “Okogie hasn’t actually made his final decision on whether he’ll stay in the draft this year, but if he does, he could be a riser during the pre-draft process.
The 6-4 guard stands out as a potential defensive stopper due to his length, strength and athleticism. He’s also a career 38.2 percent shooter from behind the arc. Okogie isn’t a first-round projected prospect yet, but he could end up here by the time the draft rolls around.”
The pick: Bruce Brown (G, Miami)
The reason: “Snagging Brown in Round 1 would surely indicate the Celtics are ready to move on from Marcus Smart, who might become a tad too expensive for Boston. Brown’s midseason foot injury will raise a few eyebrows, but he’s an ideal fit in Brad Stevens’ next-man-up system. The versatile, 6-5 guard averaged 7.1 boards and four assists in 19 games.”
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