BOSTON (CBS) — Last week we took a look at six possible players the Boston Celtics could draft with the sixth overall pick in June’s NBA Draft.
But that isn’t the only first-rounder that Danny Ainge will get to select on June 26, as Boston owns Brooklyn’s first-round pick — 17th overall — from last summer’s blockbuster trade of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Ainge could always package these picks in a deal for a veteran player, as he has been known to do when the Celtics have had early selections in the draft, but here’s a look at a few potential players the Celtics could select with the 17th overall pick:
Rodney Hood — 6-8, 215-lbs SF from Duke
The Celtics need a scoring wing player, and Duke’s Rodney Hood had no trouble putting the ball into the basket in his one season at Cameron Stadium.
Hood averaged 16.1 points per game as the Blue Devils’ number-two guy behind Jabari Parker, shooting 46 percent from the field and 42 percent behind the arc. His strong shooting from both outside and from midrange helped spread the floor for Duke, and he’s noted as being an unselfish player with some play-making abilities.
The biggest knock on Hood is his frame and the need for him to add some upper-body strength. He’d prefer the jumper to driving to the basket, and some added size would also help him improve his rebounding numbers.
Adreian Payne — 6-10, 240-lbs PF from Michigan State
Though the Celtics (currently) have no shortage of power forwards, Adreian Payne is an energetic big-man that fits the mold of players drafted by Ainge in the past.
Even with his seven-foot wing span and large frame, Payne can stretch the floor with his three-point shooting. He shot an impressive 42 percent from beyond the arc during his senior season, and his ability to work his way through screens makes him a dangerous “pick and pop” option on offense. Payne is known to be a decent rebounder, though his numbers went down in his senior year (from 7.6 per game to 7.3 per game) despite an increase in playing time.
Though he’s a monster when it comes to dunking the basketball, Payne is not known for his athleticism and could struggle with a high-tempo team. Despite his size, he struggles to block shots, but overall Payne will bring the intangibles one would expect from a Tom Izzo-coached team.
P.J. Hairston — 6-5, 228-lbs SG from UNC/NBADL
Hairston led the Tar Heels in scoring in 2012-13 at 14.6 points per game, but was suspended and decided to leave school last season after an investigation found that he received numerous benefits during his time at Chapel Hill, including the use of various luxury cars. So to fill his time in basketball purgatory, Hairston signed on with the Texas Legends of the D-League and averaged 21.8 points per game.
Hairston can light up the scoreboard from downtown or by attacking the basket, and became known for his big-point nights in Texas. He scored 30+ points six times in 26 D-League games, shooting 45-percent from the floor. Hairston is said to be NBA-ready, which is very important for the rebuilding Celtics, and could be a steal if available at 17.
Cleanthony Early — 6-7, 210 lbs SF from Wichita State
If you’re worried about players from a mid-major school like Wichita State performing on the biggest stage, Cleanthony Early would like to have a word with you.
Anthony, a two-time Division III NJCAA (Junior College) Player of the Year at Sullivan County Community College, saved some of his best collegiate games for the NCAA tournament. In the Shocker’s 2013 run to the Final Four, Early averaged 16.2 points over their five-games, which included a 21-point showing against Pittsburgh and a 24 points, 10 rebound performance in their Final Four loss to eventual champions Louisville. Wichita State’s tournament run was a little shorter in 2014 following their 34-0 regular season, but Early was the best player in the floor in their second-round loss to Kentucky, scoring 31 points on 12-for-17 shooting, raising his draft stock in the process.
Early is praised for playing well without the ball, but he is not the best decision-maker when the rock is in his hands. He’s very athletic and should be a good perimeter defender in the NBA, but some worry that he’s a “tweener,” and too small to guard power forwards.
T.J. Warren — 6-8, 220-lbs SF from NC State
Needs points? NC State’s T.J. Warren could be the answer after an impressive offensive campaign as a sophomore.
Warren heads into the draft after averaging nearly 25 points per game for the Wolfpack, up from the 12 points per game he averaged as a freshman. His shooting percentages declined drastically last season (he shot 52 percent from the floor and 27 percent from 3-point range, down from 62 percent and 52 percent in 2012), but his number of shots increased as he moved back to his natural wing position. He attempted nearly twice as many shots from the floor, and four times as many three’s, as a sophomore.
Celtics @ 7: Breaking Down T.J. Warren
Warren’s numbers are a bit deceiving because he played out of position at power forward as a freshman and was more of a role player in NC State’s offense. But his offensive game returned after he moved back to the wing full-time last year, and though he probably won’t have a defined position in the NBA due to his size, Warren could provide a scoring spark for teams in need on the offensive end.
Early, Hairston and Warren all worked out for the Celtics on June 3.
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