It’s NBA Draft time once again, and the Boston Celtics have options with their first pick at No. 14 overall.
The C’s have been successful in acquiring first-round talent in recent years — Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, specifically. And while Boston’s selection is outside of the top-10 this time, the Celtics will look to replicate that success Wednesday.
Will the Celtics get the help they need this year? And if so, where will it come from?
Here are, in no particular order, are five candidates the Celtics could target:
Cole Anthony — North Carolina, G
This 20-year-old has admitted to modeling his game after Russell Westbrook, and it shows. He averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists with UNC during the NCAA’s pandemic-shortened season, though his efficiency (38% shooting) could use a bit of improvement.
Despite slipping out of top five contention, there’s a good chance he still could be available for Boston at No. 14.
Jalen Smith — Maryland, F
The C’s are in need of a boost at center, and Smith could be just the man for the job. The 20-year-old has shown tremendous growth averaging 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks as a sophomore with the Terps (a significant improvement over his 2018-29 stats). And at 6-foot-10, he could be just what the doctor ordered.
Aaron Nesmith — Vanderbilt, F
This outgoing sophomore has plenty to offer Boston, but one particular quality stands out: His versatility.
Nesmith has a solid presence on both sides of the floor. He averaged 23.0 points during the 2019-20 campaign, a drastic improvement over his 11 points per game average the previous year, and hit 52.2% of his shots from beyond the arc. He also was good for 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.
Saddiq Bey — Villanova, F
Like Nesmith, Bey is a solid 3-and-D option the C’s could pick up. Bey was the leading scorer for the Wildcats last season, averaging 16.1 points on 47.7% shooting. The 21-year-old found plenty of success from beyond the arc, too, reflected in a 45.1% success rate.
Tyrese Maxey — Kentucky, G
Maxey could give Boston the backcourt assistance they need to compete with the NBA’s top teams. The outgoing freshman has impressive defensive instincts, as evidenced by his average 3.9 defensive rebounds and 0.9 steals per game in 2019-20. He’s a decent weapon in the paint and plays the pick-and-roll well, but his shooting still could use a bit of improvement.