BOSTON (CBS) — We finally know which lottery pick the Celtics own in the 2016 NBA Draft. Now the question is, do they use it come June 23rd or does Danny Ainge play “Let’s Make A Deal”?
The Celtics received the third overall pick in the upcoming draft at Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery, one of the three first rounders they received from the Brooklyn Nets in the 2013 Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade. A top two selection would have given Boston a chance at either Duke’s Brandon Ingram or LSU’s Ben Simmons, the best players coming out of the college game this year, but now Ainge and the C’s brass will have five weeks to determine the best available player remaining when it’s their turn to pick.READ MORE: 5-Month Old 'Fenway Baby' Becomes Crowd Favorite At Red Sox Game
Or Ainge could try to package the pick (along with a few of Boston’s seven other selections next month and/or some of that young talent on the roster) in hopes of landing a proven NBA player, a move that would hopefully speed up Boston’s rebuild. This seems like the most likely route for a team looking to take another step forward in 2016-17 following another first-round playoff exit this season.
But should the Celtics end up using their pick, here are a few players you might be watching next season:
Dragan Bender, PF, Israel
Bender is a super athletic 18-year-old who is still filling into his 7-foot-1, 225 pound frame. The Croatian played both forward positions and some occasional center for Maccabi Tel Aviv, but figures to be a power forward in the NBA. He runs well and has solid ball-handling skills for a big guy, with a high basketball IQ to boot, allowing him to run the fast break extremely well. He’s also a gifted pick-and-roll player, something that could be dangerous in Brad Stevens’ system, but Bender will have to bulk up if he wants to succeed in the NBA.
Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma
A four-year college guy, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard had himself a heck of an NCAA Tournament for the Sooners. Hield averaged 25.2 points per game en route to the Final Four, shooting 53 percent from the floor and 46 percent from three-point range. He’s the best shooter available in the draft, but will be an under-sized shooting guard in the NBA.READ MORE: Man Charged With Child Porn After Allegedly Dressing Like A Woman, Taking Pictures In Wrentham Outlets Bathroom
Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky
Another freshman, Murray has the skills to be a good combo guard in the NBA. But he didn’t play much point guard during his one year at Kentucky, so if that’s the role the Celtics want him in it will take some time. Murray is a skilled three-point shooter who can get to the basket, averaging 20 points per game on 45 percent shooting (and 41 percent from downtown). He’s turnover prone, averaging 2.7 per game, and while he has the skill set to be a solid defender, he often lacks effort and focus on that end of the floor.
Jaylen Brown, G/F, California
A 6-foot-6 freshman who showed off some impressive skills on the wing, he has the strength and speed to succeed at the NBA. He can get to the basket and often does so emphatically, and he’s also a very solid defender who can use his size against bigger players. While he could turn into a special all-around player at the next level, he needs to improve his jumper if he wants to become a great NBA player.
Kris Dunn, PG, Providence
MORE NEWS: Suspect Arrested After 7-Hour Standoff In Boston
A junior guard who has ridiculous offensive upside and is a more skilled point guard the Murray. Dunn has great passing ability and can create shots for teammates, but can also light up the scoreboard with an explosive first step. Consistency and durability are his big issues, as he struggled to stay on the floor his first two years at Providence. Dunn has all the skills to be a solid NBA player for years to come, but the third overall pick is a little high for him with better options on the table, especially given Boston’s depth at guard.