Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Celtics Poised for an Eventful Draft Night

Will Celtics GM Danny Ainge (left) make Brad Stevens' job easier on draft night? The former Celtics guard will certainly have plenty of assets to work with, as the C's boast eight picks in the 2016 NBA Draft.
By Adam Lowenstein (@StatsAdam)

Thursday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, sixty players will enter the National Basketball Association in the 70th NBA draft.

There are three teams with three picks in the first round – the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns. In the first NBA draft, the NBA was known as the Basketball Athletic Association (BAA), and the Celtics also had the third pick in that draft.

The only team other than Boston to keep its city and name from the inaugural draft in 1947, the New York Knicks, do not have a first-round pick in the 2016 draft. For the second time in three years, and the third time in the last five years, Carmelo Anthony’s squad is unable to bolster the team’s talent with a selection in the first round.

Neither New York team owns a first-round selection, as the other Atlantic Division teams took advantage of them. The Toronto Raptors’ ninth selection is from the Knicks, and the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade is still paying dividends for the Celtics, who have improved their record by 23 wins over the last two seasons.

The only Atlantic Division team yet to be mentioned owns the first overall pick. Reportedly and expectedly, the Philadelphia 76ers will take Ben Simmons out of LSU first, and according to general manger Bryan Colangelo, the 76ers are also looking to leapfrog the Raptors and move into the top eight.

After having their worst season in franchise history, the Los Angeles Lakers fortunately kept their pick when Adam Silver announced that they would have the second overall selection. For the second consecutive year, the Lakers have the second overall pick. Lakers brass would not mind if they can somehow replicate the 1960 draft when the organization selected Hall of Famer Jerry West.

For the Lakers, Duke freshman Brandon Ingram seems to be a decent consolation prize. However, after those first two picks, the draft gets interesting.

The Celtics, who always seem to want to wheel and deal with trader Danny Ainge at the helm, may draft Jaylen Brown, Jamal Murray, Kris Dunn, Dragan Bender or even someone else, should they keep the pick.

Shooting is important for the Celtics to improve, as they seem to have reached their ceiling with the mishmash roster that they have put together over the last few years.

Boston is looking bolster its roster in any way possible, but the draft may be too slow and risky of a process for the franchise.

In addition, the Celtics have eight – count ’em eight – draft picks in the 2016 draft, so they will have to either (a) couple some of them together and make a trade or (b) draft and stash some international talent.

We will have to see if Ainge offers a deal similar to last year’s six-pick blockbuster for Justise Winslow, but we all know it will be an unpredictable night in which there will be a lot of talk about upside, length, athleticism and explosion. Enjoy this night, because we get to see these players on display at the beginning of July in the NBA Summer League.

For more sports coverage, follow Adam Lowenstein on Twitter at @StatsAdam. Statistics used from

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