BOSTON (CBS) — With the NBA Draft less than a week away, we’re starting to get a better picture of whom the Celtics are targeting with their late first-round selection.
At the moment, Danny Ainge is heading into Thursday night’s draft with only the No. 27 overall pick. But as we’ve come to learn in the last decade, there’s a good chance “Trader Danny” will kick down the door and find a way to secure another pick — likely somewhere in the second round.
According to Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated, Ainge is high on a pair of players that he can snag at the end of the first round or early in the second: Villanova’s Jalen Brunson and TCU’s Kenrich Williams.
“The Celtics will enter restricted free agency with Marcus Smart this summer and Terry Rozier next year, but Boston’s workouts with first-round caliber players have focused mostly on backcourt players, with Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Okogie and Grayson Allen all potentially in consideration at No. 27. The Celtics are also said to be high on Jalen Brunson as well as projected second-round forward Kenrich Williams,” Woo wrote Friday. “Finding a guard that can step into minutes when the Celtics are eventually forced to move on from one of their guards makes sense at that spot.”
All five of those players mentioned would make sense for Boston, and both Brunson and Williams fit the mold for Ainge picks. Brunson would give the C’s a solid backup point guard with a championship pedigree, as he helped Villanova capture a pair of NCAA titles during his three years with the Wildcats. The 6-foot-7 Williams is a great rebounding (9.3 rebounds per game last year) and defensive wing who turned himself into a solid three-point shooter last season, hitting 40 percent of his shots from downtown.
This year’s draft doesn’t carry the excitement of the previous two years when the Celtics had the No. 3 overall pick, but with Ainge at the wheel there’s a good chance he does more than just make a pick at No. 27 next Thursday night.