Celtics Thoughts: What to do at 14
If you had told Celtics fans a year ago that their beloved Kings pick would fall to number 14, you would have been laughed out of every bar in Beantown. In the here and now, the Celtics will have the 14th overall pick to go along with the 20th, 22nd, and 51st picks.
The big what-ifs start with the Celtics only having six players under contract for next season. Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and Aron Baynes all have player options, and Terry Rozier, Daniel Theis, and Brad Wanamaker are becoming restricted free agents.
If the Celtics resign Kyrie Irving, then this pick will be included in every offer the Celtics make for Anthony Davis However, if Irving does not re-sign or Davis cannot be acquired, then the Celtics may have to get more creative here.
One option would be to see if they can trade out of this year’s draft. The Celtics already did not have enough minutes to go around for their talent this season, and adding another lottery player wanting to cut their teeth likely won’t be the solution, even with Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier becoming a free agent and restricted free agent, respectively.
As far as another trade option, Boston could package this pick with pieces that don’t play to consolidate some talent into a single player. The only feasible target (using the term loosely) would be a trade for Michael Conley which would involve packaging 14, probably another first, and Gordon Hayward to make the money work. However, Hayward likely makes it a deal-breaker for Memphis.
Another option would be to draft international. With the exception of Guerschon Yabusele in 2016, the Celtics have yet to spend almost any draft capital on foreign players. With the logjam of players that may again be on the roster next year, it may be worthwhile to keep someone oversees for a season or two. Sekou Doumbouya of France and Goga Bitadze of the Republic of Georgia appear to be the best non-collegiate international players in the draft this season, so those may be options to keep an eye on.
Finally, the Celtics can draft the best available and make it fit. That’s what they did with the Timelord, Robert Williams last season, and he was exciting to watch in his sparse minutes. With the question marks regarding Rozier’s and Irving’s status next season, a point guard would be ideal. However, after Ja Morant, Coby White, and Darius Garland, who will certainly be gone before 14, the best options available at the position would be Ty Jerome and Carson Edwards, both of whom should not be picked in the lottery. The fit with this strategy may be Nassir Little. With his limited experience, he can sit for a season and potentially bloom into a 3-and-D guy to play in Boston’s switch-heavy defensive schemes, especially with Jayson Tatum’s and Jaylen Brown’s perennial involvement in trade talks. Little’s draft stock tends to have him in the 10-15 range, so there’s a real possibility he won’t even be there.