By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The profile pieces are done. The hours of analyzing stats and YouTube clips of teenagers is complete. All that’s left is picks to start flying off the board.
The NBA Draft has finally arrived. But that doesn’t mean the hype train and rumor mill won’t stop churning. They’ll both be at full steam leading up to 7pm, when Adam Silver takes the stage in Brooklyn to welcome his stars of the future.
This is a big night for Celtics fans, even if Boston no longer possesses the first overall pick courtesy of Danny Ainge’s blockbuster with the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics’ Picks
First Round, No. 3 (from Philadelphia 76ers via Sacramento Kings)
Second Round, No. 37 (from Minnesota Timberwolves via Phoenix Suns)
Second Round, No. 53 (from Cleveland Cavaliers)
Second Round, No. 56 (from L.A. Clippers)
It was all Washington point guard Markelle Fultz all the time when the Celtics had the No. 1 pick. Now that they’ll be picking third, it’s a little more open.
Fultz will go first to the 76ers and the Lakers are expected to draft UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, leaving Boston with their pick of talented forwards in this guard-centric draft. Here’s a trio of potential picks for the Celtics at No. 3:
Josh Jackson, Kansas
The Kansas forward fits the Ainge mold perfectly with his high motor and athleticism, but he refused to work out for Boston ahead of the draft and has a few worrisome off-court issues. But if Ainge thinks Jackson is the best player in the draft, then he should take him regardless of a workout or not.
Jayson Tatum, Duke
Tatum has a great offensive game that should translate right away in the NBA after averaging 16.8 points per game for the Blue Devils. He is drawing offensive comparisons to Paul Pierce, which should excite Celtics fans everywhere.
Jonathan Isaac, Florida State
One of the most versatile players in the draft, Isaac is being touted as having the most potential upside of all the picks. He’d be a solid defensive role player off the bench as a rookie with lots of room to grow on both ends of the floor (though he possesses a pretty decent shot for such a raw offensive player).
Oh, the rumors! They’re going to be plentiful in the hours leading up to the draft, during the draft and will likely continue to swirl after the 60 picks are made. The NBA offseason is made off rumors, and they make the offseason more entertaining than the regular season.
A pair of big trades have already been completed — The Celtics-76ers pick swap and the Lakers dealing D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Nets for Brook Lopez and the No. 27 pick — but those could be appetizers to what we could see on Thursday.
Paul George? Jimmy Butler? Kristaps Porzingis? Those are the names we heard tossed around the rumor mill leading up to the draft, and we’ll likely hear them again (and again, and again) on Thursday.