|The fact that Doc's quest for perfection from his guards probably means he'd kill his own son in the lockerroom doesn't deter me at all from salivating over this picture.|
ED NOTE: This is part one of Seany-Mo's two part Celtics draft preview (part two later today). These opinions in no way represent CW's vast basketball knowledge. I'll have a retort to these cockamamie breakdowns later this week.
Despite having our hearts ripped from our chests in yet another Game 7 meltdown, this past season just served to reinforce how much I love the Celtics. They could have packed it in about 50 times during the year for a number of valid reasons, but they kept on battling to the very last second. Kevin Garnett somehow found the Fountain of Youth and was putting up 20+ and 10+ with regularity while playing almost 40 minutes a night during the post season. Most encouraging, the team had started to come together at the right time despite a number of key players going down at some point this season with injury, which would make you think chemistry on the court would suffer (I don’t consider Jermaine O’ Neal one of these people. He is a malignant degenerative disease feasting upon the Celtics cap space.) I focus on the road to recovery because as gutsy and resilient as the Celtics stretch run was this past season, this team needs to focus on rebuilding for the future sooner rather than later. With the free agent pool drying up due to in season extensions (Kevin Love) and Dwight Howard keeping everyone hostage at the trade deadline, it seems apparent to me that the most immediate way to make this team better is to nail the draft this coming June. Usually being in this draft position (21, 22) it would be difficult to find an impact NBA player, but due to the lockout, this draft is extremely loaded and full of talent that can help this squad immediately. Additionally, these prospects are selected on what I perceive as a NEED for the Celtics, as well as how well they complement Rajon Rondo, as he is the cornerstone we should be building around. Here’s who I’d like in green next year at both picks ranked from “unless every other GM is whacked out on black tar heroin, it won’t happen even though I’d love it” to “Danny, If you have any affection for us at all as fans, STAY AWAY!”
At # 21…
Austin Rivers, SG, Duke- Yes, this is partly because I think the dynamic of having Austin Rivers being coached by his dad would be really friggin’ cool. But on a more practical level, the Celtics, pure and simple, need people who can put the ball in the basket without being completely dependent on someone else. Rivers is a TREMENDOUS athlete at age 19 and has a nose for the basket. The dual threat of slashing to the bucket and having the ability to knock down threes makes me salivate at the prospect of seeing Rivers and Rondo run the break for years to come. Sadly, I believe Austin will be gone long before the Celtics pick comes along. Additionally, the emergence of Avery Bradley would make the acquisition of Rivers somewhat redundant. Still, it’s fun to think about.
HEY, IT COULD HAPPEN…RIGHT?
John Henson, PF/C, UNC- Yes, I understand he looks like Jujuan Johnson 2.0 with his impressive length yet wiry build, but let it be known Henson is a much more complete defensive player than Johnson at this point. Not to mention he comes from an absolute NBA player mill in North Carolina, where he has greatly benefitted under Roy Williams tutelage. Look no further than the progress he made in just one year from his freshman to sophomore season; More than doubled his points per game average and rebounds per game, as well as raising a good 1.6 blocks per game to a sterling 3.2 blocks per game. He may not possess the best offensive game quite yet, as he strictly relies on a left handed hook shot and his mid range shooting is still a major work in progress, but his nose for the ball both on the glass and in altering opponents shots makes him a tantalizing prospect for addressing the Celtics length, rebounding, and shot blocking issues. I’d look for Henson to initially step in as an interior defender who could contribute offensively by cutting off of back screens and looking for alley oops from Rondo while continuing to round out the rest of his game. Sadly, even with his less than impressive combine workout (in the bottom 5 in bench bress reps and vertical leap,) he will still likely be snatched up before we can picture him swatting shots into the first row at TD Garden.
BLEND OF LIKELY AND SENSIBLE
Arnett Moultrie PF/C, Mississippi State- A big man who excels at creating his offense off of cuts and back screens would be a perfect complement to Rajon Rondo on the fast break or even in the half court, which is exactly what Moultrie brings to the table. Not to mention the guy rebounds like an absolute boss on both the offensive, (5.3 offensive rebounds per game, pace adjusted for 40 minutes) and defensive glass (8.2 defensive rebounds per game, pace adjusted for 40 minutes.) which is impressive given some of the big men he was competing against in the SEC, like Anthony Davis, Festus Azeli, and Bradley Beal. While the lack of shot blocking ability is concerning for a guy who is listed as 6’11, consensus seems to be this is more so due more to lack of effort rather than talent. The defense malaise is a questions mark, but with given his rebound prowess, the Celtics should jump at this guy should he be available.
THIS IS MY NIGHTMARE
-Royce White, F, Iowa State- Given Danny’s propensity to select extremely athletic players that have significant questions marks (Gerald Green and J.R Giddens come to mind) this is a high risk/high reward pick that makes me extremely nervous. Don’t get me wrong, White has proven that he can score with the best of them, putting up impressive numbers against both Kansas and Baylor when they played this year (I believe he had an 18 point 10 rebound game when matched up with Thomas Robinson, but I could be making that up and am too lazy to check/my boss is prowling the hallways.) Despite this, the guy has been labeled as having significant character issues in addition to having a phobia of flying/ anxiety disorder. Given the amount of travel involved in an NBA season and the intensity of Rajon Rondo, I just don’t see White fitting in well with the Celtics. Kevin Garnett’s fiery passion alone may cause White to check himself into an asylum day one of training camp. Not to mention he’s a “tweener” forward who can’t naturally play either small or power forward, which we already have in Jeff Green, as well as a criminal accused of theft in the past. Pass on this guy.