NBA Mock Draft — In case you forgot, Danny Ainge isn’t the biggest fan of this draft, even after compromising the season in order to receive a top pick in this particular draft. “I think it’s maybe a little bit better by comparison, but it’s not even close to one of the best draft classes in the last 10 years,” were his exact words and while the comments are fair it’s interesting to see how he’d feel if the Celtics had landed a top-3 pick as hoped.
Alas, here they are picking sixth and with holes throughout the starting lineup outside of the point guard position, the Celtics, like every other team in the lottery, have options. The first option that comes to mind is trade. There are many front offices around the league that think highly of the talent that could be available at six. Vonleh. Gordon. Smart. Randle. Franchise-changing? No, but they’ll be pivotal in the growth of a franchise. And if a package doesn’t come across Ainge’s lap that he feels is adequate enough to move the pick for, he’ll have a decent pot to pick from. According to Chad Ford, the Celtics are BIG fans of Gordon. If he’s left on the board, it’d be an adequate pick. Julius Randle (if the foot checks out) makes sense here also. Marcus Smart is Rajon Rondo insurance. This leaves Vonleh as the odd-man out, but we’ve seen too many surprises in NBA drafts to guarantee he’s not going to Boston.
Here is the collection of the latest mock drafts from around the NBA pertaining to the Boston Celtics and the number six overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
NBA Draft Net – G Marcus Smart (OK State)
My NBA Draft – F Aaron Gordon (Arizona)
Basketball Insiders (Steven Kyler) – F Aaron Gordon (Arizona)
Draft Express (Jonathan Givony) – F Dante Exum (Australia)
Exum has refused to schedule a workout for Boston, which could certainly be an issue here, as the team doesn’t feel nearly comfortable enough as they’d like in order to make this pick. Many NBA teams don’t have a great comfort level with Exum’s overall body of work, but it’s difficult to see the Australian native falling much farther than here due to his extremely high talent level. Still, there are no guarantees at this stage. Julius Randle will likely be in the mix here as well.
Bright Side of the Sun – F Noah Vonleh (Indiana)
This all depends on if you think the Celtics are keeping Rondo. If they aren’t, the pick is Exum. For now, it’s been quiet, so I go Vonleh here. Handing Brad Stevens a developmental player like Vonleh is great, and the Chris Bosh comparisons are very real. I’m not sure where the Celtics roster can go, but a player like Vonleh is a start.
Yahoo! Sports (Marc J. Spears) – G Marcus Smart (OK State)
The Celtics view Smart as a combo guard who could be similar defensively to former Celtics guard Tony Allen.
Bleacher Report (Donald Wood) – F Aaron Gordon (Arizona)
The Boston Celtics need serious help. Adding a versatile forward like Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, who can do many things well, is a great start, but Boston must add much more talent if the team wants to contend sooner rather than later.
CBS Sports (Matt Moore) – G Marcus Smart (OK State)
If they don’t trade Rondo, Smart handles the scoring load and balances the offense. If they do trade Rondo, he plays point. It’s a win-win.
CBS Sports (Gary Parrish) – F Julius Randle (Kentucky)
Think of all of the great freshmen who have played at Kentucky, then understand Randle recorded more double-doubles (24) this past season than any of them. His upside isn’t that of Wiggins or Embiid. But Randle still projects as a possible future All-Star.
CBS Sports (Zach Harper) – F Aaron Gordon (Arizona)
The Celtics need a young player the fan base and organization can get excited about. This high-flying forward from Arizona is that guy to get geeked about. Gordon is the most exciting one of the bunch because of his athleticism and ability to play defense. If they can turn him into an offensive skill player, he may even be a steal this early.
ESPN Insiders (Jeff Goodman) – G Marcus Smart (OK State)
General manager Danny Ainge likes Randle, Vonleh and Smart — but taking a point guard at this spot also would allow him to dangle Rajon Rondo and have a backup plan. Smart is physically ready to play in the league, and his floor game has improved in the past year.
ESPN Insiders (Chad Ford) – F Aaron Gordon (Arizona)
The Celtics continue to explore all options and after panning the draft most of the year, Celtics boss Danny Ainge now likes several players. I think Gordon and Marcus Smart are the top two contenders for this pick of the remaining players on the board, with the edge right now toward Gordon. Both Gary Harris and Doug McDermott will get looks here as well.
Trades always remain an option for Boston. If they can move this pick for a young impact player, they won’t hesitate.