BOSTON (CBS) – On Wednesday morning, Toucher & Rich received a Celtics NBA Draft preview from Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
After stellar showings in the NCAA Tournament, Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are two household names that are surefire top five picks in Thursday night’s draft. Towns is more athletic and versatile, but the two players are your classic big men.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
However, as the Golden State Warriors just proved, you don’t need that prototypical big man down low to back people down and post up anymore. The NBA is changing, and the center position is transitioning into more of a rim protecting role.
“[Protecting the rim] is all that’s necessary [for a center] in today’s NBA. You’re not going to get a Shaq. Those players aren’t coming through the draft anymore,” Washburn said to T&R.
Enter Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein, the most unique player in the upcoming draft.
Aside from dunks and alley-oops, Cauley-Stein has no offensive game. However, the seven-footer possesses an elite defensive game that will immediately translate to the NBA.
Much to Fred’s surprise, Washburn said if he were the Celtics he would trade up very high to acquire the big man.
“If I’m the Celtics I would trade up to No. 6 [to get Cauley-Stein]. I think he’s a difference maker,” Washburn said. The C’s currently own the 16th and 28th picks in Round 1, as well as two second round picks.
However, Washburn notes that the Kentucky center has some red flags that are concerning to some teams.
“There’s some questions about his desire to play basketball. How much does he love the game? The tattoos; he’s different,” Washburn said. He added that, like all prospects, but especially with Cauley-Stein, you have to be concerned about how he’ll respond to getting all this money at once.
There’s also this foot problem giving teams pause.
Unlike the off-court stuff, Washburn adds that Cauley-Stein’s lack of offensive skill should not be a concern for teams.READ MORE: I-Team: Baby Stabbed In Revere, Suspect In Custody
“DeAndre Jordan is horrible offensively, but he’s a game-changing player. What you want Cauley-Stein to do is be able to finish at the rim and play defense. What you don’t want him to do is ‘find himself’, become the next Larry Sanders and [quit basketball],” Washburn said.
Adding, “Cauley-Stein would be fine offensively. How many big men do you have hitting 18-footers? You just don’t. Teams don’t need that. You need a guy to protect the rim, be able to guard guards on pick-and-rolls and be a difference maker defensively. The Celtics will be fine scoring the basketball, and you can teach Cauley-Stein the jump hook.”
Sticking with the theme of potential problem players, the idea of the Celtics trading for DeMarcus Cousins was brought up.
Cousins is reportedly on the trading block in Sacramento, despite denials from the organization. Head coach George Karl, who was just hired in February, is reportedly pushing the team to trade Cousins.
“They’re like the nightmare for teams like the Celtics, the Lakers and the Knicks trying to rebuild — the Kings have been trying to rebuild through the draft since Chris Webber and Mike Bibby left,” Washburn said. “They’ve brought in all these lottery picks and no playoffs.”
Cousins, while supremely talented, is a potentially volatile proposition for the rest of the NBA, according to Washburn.
“Cousins is an extremely skilled player, but he pouts, he bitches at the referees too much and he completely lets the game control him. Can Brad Stevens manage that? I don’t know. That would be very interesting to see him in a different environment,” Washburn said.
Adding, “I think if Cousins was surrounded by a bunch of veterans, yes [it could work]. But if you give him the keys to the car and make him the face of the franchise like he would be in Boston, without grizzled veterans, I don’t know that it would work out.”
In addition, while Boston has plenty of assets, it doesn’t sound like the Kings would want what the Celtics would be selling.
“It would take a lot to get DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings want to jumpstart something. They want to make the playoffs next year. I don’t know that the Celtics have enough assets to help them do that,” Washburn concluded.
Listen below for the full discussion, including Washburn’s take on the C’s potentially picking Sam Dekker, as well as his thoughts on Frank Kaminsky:MORE NEWS: Arizona Mother Worried Son's Surgery In Boston Will Be Rescheduled Again Due To COVID