With the 2020 NBA Draft one week away, foresight about the Boston Celtics’ fate is crystal-clear, right?
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz predicted Wednesday in their latest, and perhaps final, “perfect” NBA mock draft the three players the Celtics will select in the first round. Boston owns the Nos. 14, 26 and 30 overall picks, and the ESPN NBA Draft experts have cast their collective lot on one player whom recent mock drafts have linked with Boston and two others who are unfamiliar.
Givony and Schmitz name Memphis Tigers power forward Precious Achiuwa as Boston’s perfect pick at No. 14. Here’s why:
“Achiuwa’s physical tools and defensive versatility might be attractive to a Celtics team that could add depth to its frontcourt,” Givony wrote. “Achiuwa has the frame and length to contain big men and the lateral quickness to switch pick-and-rolls. Although his offense is a work in progress, the Celtics have ample scoring on the perimeter.”
“Achiuwa is arguably the draft’s most versatile defender at 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and great feet. That is on full display here, as he checks three positions comfortably and ends with an outstanding slide and contest.”
Givony and Schmitz join a late-September consensus of mock drafts in linking Achiuwa to Boston.
Polish big man Aleksej Pokusevski, 18, plays in Greece for Olympiacos B, but Givony believes his high upside makes him a risk worth taking for Boston.
“A 7-footer who can dribble, pass and shoot, Pokusevski has lottery-level upside but is highly unproven,” Givony wrote. “I’d be surprised if he made it past Oklahoma City’s pick, but if so, he makes perfect sense for Boston. The youngest player in this draft, Pokusevski is likely several years away from being able to hold his own on an NBA floor physically. With very few roster spots available, the Celtics can afford to be patient, especially if they are able to stash him in the G League or in Europe for a year or two.”
Finally, here’s another name that wasn’t on our Celtics draft radar until Wednesday: Kansas center Udoka Azubuike. Here’s Schmitz’s assessment of Azubuike.
“Consider this a best-available selection,” Schmitz wrote. “Azubuike isn’t the most modern big man, but his frame, length and explosiveness could make him an interesting antidote to the small-ball movement. He was the best player on the best team in college basketball, and he could make a significant impact on both ends in the right role.”
It’s worth mentioning again how inexact mock drafts can be, but ESPN’s “perfect” effort offers insight into the type of players experts believes the Celtics will, or at least should, target on draft night.