The Boston Celtics have a lot of question marks hanging over them this offseason and the first of the answers will come on draft day where the Celtics have the 16th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Without knowing whether the Celtics will continue with their veteran squad or move on to a rebuilding effort it is hard to know exactly what direction they will take on draft day. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has a great track record drafting in the middle of the first round and has the opportunity to add a good young player in what is a deep draft, albeit light on star talent. So who are the most likely draft prospects to end up in Boston next season? Let’s take a look at five.
5. Kelly Olynyk, C
The Celtics have had their struggles offensively and have really lacked a true low-post scorer for years. Kelly Olynyk is the most offensively gifted big man in the 2013 draft and is a polished, experienced player who is likely to contribute immediately. Olynyk has the ability to operate in the post with the ball but also the range on his jump shot to operate in a pick and pop offense. With his ability to score both inside and out, he would find himself getting great looks with point guard Rajon Rondo feeding him the ball. There are some concerns over Olynyk’s length, which has caused his stock to drop somewhat, but his skill set will ensure he finds a way to contribute in the NBA.
4. Giannis Adetokunbo, SF
There are few players in the 2013 draft with the raw potential of Greek forward Giannis Adetokunbo. Adetokunbo is a long small forward with great playmaking abilities for a man his size and the potential to be an elite defender at any level. With his length and unique skill set, Adetokunbo has rare natural talents but is a very raw prospect. At just 18 years old he may take some time to really find his feet in the NBA, but if he reaches his immense potential he could be one of the best players in the entire draft. If the Celtics decide that it is time to rebuild, taking a chance on a player with Adetokunbo’s potential may be the direction that the team takes.
3. Shabazz Muhammad, SF
In high school, Shabazz Muhammad was hyped as potentially the top prospect in this draft. After an up-and-down freshman season at UCLA and the revelation that Muhammad is a year older than initially thought, his draft stock has continued to drop through workouts. A player with Muhammad’s natural scoring talent and NBA-ready body should not drop to No. 16 in a weak draft like this, but it appears there are going to be few teams willing to take a chance on him. If he is on the board the Celtics are likely to snap up the scoring wingman and hope that playing in Boston can bring out the best in him. One of very few players in this draft with the potential to be a go to scorer at the next level, Muhammad could be a steal for the Celtics if they get the opportunity to land him.
2. Dennis Schroeder, PG
The Celtics’ need for a backup point guard was painfully obvious when All-Star Rajon Rondo was sidelined for the season due to injury and the draft may provide a cheap way for the Celtics to fill the role. Dennis Schroeder is a physically gifted, playmaking point guard who has long been compared to Rondo by scouts. Like Rondo, Schroeder has great length for the position, which gives him high defensive potential and has the ability to make some exceptional passes. Schroeder would be an ideal young backup for Rondo as he returns from injury or if the Celtics decided to move away from their current core, Schoeder has immense potential and could potentially become their point guard of the future.
1. Steven Adams, C
The Celtics have really missed any kind of presence in the paint other than Kevin Garnett and need to find a young big man to develop on the interior. Steven Adams is among the most physically gifted players in the draft with great height, length and strength for an NBA center as well as a willingness to mix it up inside. While he had an inconsistent freshman season at Pittsburgh, Adams has huge potential as a rebounder and defender, but also has the hands to become an offensive threat. If the Celtics stick with their veteran core, Adams could provide them with some great depth behind Garnett and he would have an ideal mentor in his development. However, even if the team decides to rebuild, Adams has the potential to become one of the best players in the entire draft and would be well worth the risk at No. 16. Unless there is a player who shockingly drops down the board on draft day, if Adams is available, he seems to be the most likely pick for the Celtics.