Boston Celtics Draft Options at 35

With the NBA Draft kicking off on Thursday night, it is now, officially draft week. 

The Boston Celtics season concluded in an embarrassing game seven loss just three weeks ago, which now leaves the off-season as the only thing to focus on.

With plenty of questions needing to be answered on that front, it all gets started with Thursday night’s draft. 

The Celtics, who may have a hard time retaining their important restricted free agent in Grant Williams, could potentially be looking to fill his role through the draft.

Boston also has some holes to fill with big man and wing depth that can also be addressed within the draft. Picking 35 in this year’s NBA draft will give the Celtics an option to bring in either an older, more polished college prospect or a young high potential guy who slipped from first round contention.

With that being said, the Celtics have also recently been said to be one of the more active teams in trade discussions in the last few days, whether that includes the draft pick or not is unclear, but in the event they do hang on to this years 35th pick, here are five guys who they can potentially bring in.

Jordan Walsh

Picture by Walt Beazley

Height 6’6 Weight 204 Age 19. Stats 7ppg 4rbg 1apg

Jordan Walsh is one of the younger prospects in the class at just 19 years old, after playing only one season at Arkansas.

As a five star recruit, he didn’t quite live up to expectations, but he did show enough to prove he has the talent for the big league. Particularly by excelling on the defensive end.

As a 6’6 guard/wing who possesses an otherworldly 7’2 wingspan Walsh was one of the best defenders in the country last year, giving everything he had on every possession.

His athletic ability combined with his length and quickness made him extremely tough for opposing players to deal with.

While his effort and defense are both top of the class, he really struggled on the offensive side shooting 43% from the field and only 28% from three. 

He showed some upside in the playmaking department but can sometimes be sporadic leading to careless turnovers.

Even with his offensive struggles he projects to have instant impact as he can be one of the better defenders and athletes in the league as soon as he’s drafted, and if he ever does expand his range and become a consistent catch and shoot shooter, he will have a long career, as the league still loves the three and D role guy.

Jaime Jaquez

Height 6’6 Weight 226 Age 22. Stats 18ppg 8rbg 2apg

As an older prospect at 22 years old, Jaime Jaquez comes in as a polished and poised player who’s used to the spotlight, as he won plenty of big games in his four year career at UCLA.

A polished scorer who has some secondary playmaking upside due to his high IQ, and strong feel for the game, Jaime projects as a player who can have instant impact. 

At 6’6 his versatility can play him around the lineup both offensively and defensively, though he isn’t the best defender, he does compete hard on that side of the ball.

He has some limitations athletically and his three point shot was only 33% for his career, but his form is smooth and his free throw percentage suggests that there is room to improve from three.

If he does unlock the three, he’s got a good shot to carve out a role for himself for a long time in this league.

Andre Jackson

Height 6’6 Weight 200 Age 21. Stats 7ppg 6rbg 5apg

Playing for the defending National Champions, Uconn, I’m sure the Celtics know all about Andre Jackson Jr.

A 6’6 wing with immense athleticism who was a key piece to last year’s National Championship team. 

Jackson is a stout defender with a high IQ that helps his offensive game. His feel for the game allows him to succeed offensively without having big time talent on that side of the ball.

A struggling shooter, especially in the catch and shoot could scream trouble for Jackson’s NBA chances, but everything else he brings to the game gives hope that he can carve out a successful role.

His constant off ball movement and elite athleticism helps him score easy points, and keeps the defense on their toes. He reminds me of the current Denver Nuggets version of Aaron Gordon.

A struggling shooter, who is a stout defender and is always on the right spot offensively to help his team, his NBA success will rely on his shot improving, and the fit of the team he’s drafted to, but I believe the Celtics could be a good landing spot.

Although the Celtics offense is predicated on drive and kick opportunities, being alongside two stars who attract major attention from the opposing defense would allow Jackson to roam offensively for easy backdoor cuts and alley oop opportunities.

James Nnaji

Height 7’0 Weight 251 Age 18. Stats 3ppg 2rbg

James Nnaji, is both a high potential project and also a good fit for this current Celtics roster that desperately needs big man depth due to Robert Williams health issues, and Al Horford’s age. 

At seven feet, 251 pounds, with a 7’7 wingspan, there are not many people in the world built like him, let alone at 18 years old. While he didn’t play much with Barcelona, his measurables alone have NBA teams excited.

A freak athlete who can detour every rim attack, he has the potential to be special on that side of the ball.

It’s tough to gauge exactly how talented he is as he didn’t play much and is still just 18 years old, but he has the raw size and athleticism to become a big time player in this league.

His offensive game is still very raw, but again, the measurables are there. He won’t be an immediate impact guy but for a team like the Celtics who just need a big to buy minutes here and there, he’s worth the risk with the upside of developing him as well.

Noah Clowney

Height 6’10 Weight 210 Age 18. Stats 10ppg 8rbg 1apg

Noah Clowney would be a dream for the Celtics at 35 as most projections have the talented freshman landing in the first round.

At just 18 years old, Clowney flashed major potential in his lone season at Alabama as both a high-level defensive and offensive player.

A long 6’10 frame with a 7’3 wingspan helps Clowney excel on the defensive side where he recorded one block and one steal per game. 

But the potential, especially for this Celtics team is his shooting flashes. He only shot 28% from three in his one college season, but he shot three attempts per game confidently, and with a smooth stroke.

At 6’10 flashing shooting promise and rim protection, he can be the perfect successor to the now 37 year old Al Horford, who is still, even at his age, immensely important to this Celtics team.

Next Up

The NBA Draft, Thursday Night at 8pm.

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