With the NBA Draft set for Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, the Boston Celtics find themselves in a peculiar yet envious position.
With ample future draft picks and young, cheap and already established talent already on the roster, Danny Ainge and Co. have the means to be aggressive if they see fit. Although the Celtics could have as many as 4 first-round selections in next year’s draft, Boston only has one selection for Thursday.
If Boston decides to stand pat at No. 27, here are five players who could be wearing green and white next season:
Bruce Brown: Brown apparently impressed the Celtics enough that we was invited back for a second workout.
Source: Miami guard Bruce Brown will have a second workout with the Boston Celtics leading up to this week's NBA Draft.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 18, 2018
Brown is a physical wing with defensive chops and with 74 steals in 52 career games at the University of Miami, has a nose for the ball. A native of Boston, Brown boasts the strength to hold up against bigger players and the speed to chase down quicker guards. At 6’5 with a 6’9 wingspan, Brown didn’t wow with his ball-handling abilities at the U, but did offer enough playmaking ability to secure 4 assists per game last season (first on the team).
Brown’s shooting mechanics are inconsistent, and with 3-point shooting (27% last season) and free-throw shooting (63% last season) that was clearly subpar, the Celtics would hope that Brown could develop as a shooter like Terry Rozier and Avery Bradley were able to. Brown also underwent surgery on his left foot that prematurely ended his season.
Jerome Robinson: Similar to Terry Rozier rising up the pre-draft charts in 2015, Robinson is making waves with his workouts, enough to give the Boston College standout a green room invitation for Thursday.
No one's elevated their stock as much as Boston College's Jerome Robinson through the pre-draft process, going from merely testing the waters to earning a Green Room invite on Thursday. Here's a look into his Pro Day showing, including a 1 on 1 interview: https://t.co/G9lFCqgS30
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 18, 2018
Robinson quietly slid under the radar last season as one of college basketball’s standout scorers, as he was second in the ACC in scoring (behind likely top pick Marvin Bagley III). Robinson isn’t an elite jump-out-of-the-gym athlete, but is instead fluid in changing directions on a dime. Despite being targeted by opposing defenses, Robinson was able to score in a bevy of ways for the Eagles last season. With a 61 percent true shooting percentage on less than 15 shots per game, it’s not hard to imagine Robinson carving out a scoring role for some team. Robinson isn’t a game-changing isolation player and needs to add bulk to his 188-pound frame, yet if he’s there at No. 27 for the Celtics, expect Ainge to think long and hard about bringing Robinson from Chestnut Hill to Causeway St.
Omari Spellman: NCAA hoop-heads and tourney-time watchers alike remember Omari Spellman as the physical force down low for a championship Villanova squad. While the 6’9, 254-pound Spellman is certainly a lot to handle down low, his ability to stretch the floor fits with Brad Stevens’ model big man. Spellman will be the rare 21-year old rookie with just one year of collegiate experience under his belt, as he redshirted his initial freshman season.
During that time, Spellman lost considerable weight and got himself into much better shape. Spellman has a high motor, great footwork off the initial catch and a keen eye for grabbing rebounds. And, oh did I mention that he shot 43 percent from distance and blocked 1.5 shots per game? Versatile big men like that don’t usually last until the second round.
Grayson Allen: As I mentioned previously, Ainge loves players who simply have a nose for loose balls (as does Stevens, who teaches his son about the perils of loose balls: “When there’s a ball on the floor, you’re on the floor.”) From overtly dirty plays to singular instances that may be considered a step over the line on his resume, it’s easy to overlook the fact that underneath it all is a good prospect. Allen has knockdown-shooter type of potential with the ability to create off the dribble. He’s an underrated athlete who can finish on the break and is just two seasons removed from averaging 21 points per game. Allen is a bit heavy-footed on defense against smaller guards, and for whatever reason, decided not to attack the rim as much during his junior and senior seasons (286 combined free throw attempts vs. 252 attempts during his sophomore season alone). If Allen follows in the footsteps of current Celtics who played at Duke (Tatum and Irving), the Celtics will be just fine.
Hamidou Diallo: Instead of following in the steps of failed preps-to-pros wings a la Jonathan Bender and DerMarr Johnson, Diallo was forced to play one year in college for John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats. Despite his lack of feel for the game and a shaky jumper, the 19-year old Diallo boasts unteachable athletic ability. A nearly 7-foot wingspan gives him the ability to defend a variety of positions and use his dimensions to his benefit. Diallo hustles on defense and showed flashes of a nice in-between offensive touch last season. The line between Diallo channeling his athletic ability like Eric Bledsoe and never realizing his potential like James Young is razor thin. The Celtics would be taking a flyer on someone who could pay dividends down the road.