BOSTON (CBS) — Take it or trade it? That’s the questions for the Celtics regarding the sixth overall pick in next month’s NBA draft.
The Celtics didn’t vault into the top three at Tuesday night’s draft lottery, but there is still plenty of intrigue surrounding their selection. To help break down all of Boston’s options, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated joined The Adam Jones Show on Wednesday night.
If they don’t want to use that pick, Mannix says the Celtics have the most assets to obtain all-star power forward Kevin Love from Minnesota.
“Boston has that surplus of draft picks, some decent talent, and the centerpiece sixth overall pick,” said Mannix. “I don’t know what Kevin’s thoughts will be on signing an extension with the Celtics, but if Boston wants to make a serious play they would have to be the top contender to get him.
“They’re a playoff team [with Love and Rajon Rondo], which doesn’t say a lot about the Eastern Conference. They’d still be significantly behind Miami, Indiana, Chicago and maybe even Brooklyn in the next couple of years,” said Mannix. “Love is a very good player, but in six years in Minnesota he hasn’t led them to anything. Rondo, at his best, is a complimentary player. He’s a terrific point guard, but I don’t look at him as a go-to option.
“They would still be one trade or one acquisition away from being a contender, but I think Boston knows that,” added Mannix. “They realize that if they do get Love, that can’t be the end of it. For all of Love’s marvelous offensive talents, there are some defensive deficiencies there. It wouldn’t be like bringing Kevin Garnett in, who revitalized that defense.
“They’re probably a good two-guard or swing man away from being a contender, but if you can get Love without giving up the store I would think long and hard about doing it because he’s the all-star player you can build around.”
Mannix did say the Cleveland Cavaliers could emerge as Boston’s strongest competition for Love if they want to include the first overall pick in a package for the all-star.
Jones and Mannix also discussed the Celtics staying on the board and using the sixth overall pick. If the Celtics go with a youth movement, which owner Wyc Grousbeck has said is an option, it would put Rondo’s future with the team in question.
“It depends who they draft sixth,” Mannix said of Rondo’s future. “In my mock draft I have them taking Marcus Smart, and if you draft him it’s presumably to be a point guard. That would be an indication they’d be willing to trade Rondo either at the deadline or in the offseason. If they draft a swing man or a power forward like Aaron Gordon, that means they want to build around Rondo.
“I don’t think there’s any definitive decision yet on what they want to do with Rondo,” said Mannix. “I think they want to see what he looks like playing in Stevens’ system, healthy, and what he looks like next to these two picks.”
While a lot of focus is being place on Boston’s first pick in the draft, Mannix says who they select at 17th overall is just as important.
“We talk a lot about that sixth pick but a lot of what will happen with Boston in the future, if they keep these picks, is what they do at 17. This is one of those drafts where I believe there are going to be all-star caliber player in the teens and 20’s because of the depth,” he said. “If they hit a home run, and land a P.J. Hairston, Zach LaVine, Kyle Anderson range, they can be back in the mix in the Eastern Conference very quickly.
“If they’re going to keep these picks, 17 is just as important as six.”